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      Local gun manufacturer gets upgrade

      A new cutting-edge machine is allowing Marble Arms, a gun sight maker, to pursue new business contracts by speeding up parts production.

      Engineering students at Lake Superior State University partnered with the Gladstone manufacturer to create a machine that automates the time-tested method of hand-making gun sights.

      "It has allowed us to take a very tedious operation of putting all these tiny little parts together," said Marble Arms President, Craig Laureman. "Automating it has given us the opportunity to make sights for a new customer."

      The company decided to have the rear gun sight process made by machine because it was the most complicated part to produce.

      Marble Arms was able to save on costs by utilizing engineering students on the design. And the students got some real-life experience from start to finish on the product.

      The process is now very simple and efficient.

      "You just have to load all the racks, and it gets loaded," said John Thomas, Marble Arms Plant Manager. "You just hit the button and keep it going. So our customers are getting a higher quality part with on-time delivery, and it's kept our price where we can be competitive in the world market."

      Most important for Marble Arms...the partnership has created more opportunities.

      Lauerman added, "And also, it has allowed us to assemble ten times the amount of parts in a day then what we could before, so we were able to take on more business and grow our business in this tough economy."