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The Automotive Industry and the Push for Better Fuel Economy

November 17, 2014

It’s no secret that the automotive industry has made a spectacular recovery in recent years. In September many automakers saw sales of new vehicles, especially compact cars and pickup trucks, increase yet again thanks to an improving economy and rising consumer confidence. The average price of vehicles is also on the rise, climbing to $32,500. This is great news for automakers (and component manufacturers), but we’ve approached a very important time of year for the automotive industry. Automakers have begun building their new models for 2015.

Whether it’s a radically changed and redesigned model, like the new Ford F-150, or a vehicle that merely adds some more power or features to last year’s model, automakers need to keep track of important trends.

Currently, one of the biggest focuses for the industry is fuel economy. The US and some other countries have set new fuel economy standards that automakers will have to abide by. Whether through lightweight techniques (like the use of more aluminum in vehicles like the F-150) or the development of more efficient engines and hybrid cars, the US expects automakers’ vehicle lineups to have an average fuel economy of 36.6 miles per gallon by 2017. By 2025, that increases to 54.5.

At Exacto Spring, we’re currently working on a number of projects that concern fuel management systems, and we’re even involved in the design and testing phases of projects that may not see the light of day until the end of the decade. And we know that, regardless of current trends and the relentless forward march of technological advancement, high-quality components will be needed in the vehicles of 2015 and beyond. Some may not realize just how important springs and wireform products can be, but as we’ve seen with recent recalls even a small component can cause a huge problem if they’re not properly manufactured or compatible with a redesigned vehicle. We’ll continue to offer automakers the best springs we can manufacture, and we can’t wait to see where the industry goes from here.

We Have Won “Supplier of the Year” Award

October 20, 2014

Here at Exacto Spring, we pride ourselves on being a top-tier supplier, and it’s always a great honor to be recognized for our top-quality work. On September 24th, American automaker General Motors gave us a Supplier of the Year award. This award is given to a small number of suppliers that have exceeded all expectations and delivered high performance this year.

General Motors has over 18,000 suppliers in locations all over the world, but only 83 were given the Supplier of the Year award last year.[1] This means that less than one percent of their suppliers are recognized with this award each year. What GM looks for is great cost solutions, solid crisis management skills, and the ability to develop innovative technology. These suppliers need to provide great support to the entire GM organization and exceed the automaker’s strict quality performance criteria.

General Motors has a wide selection of vehicle brands, so these top-tier suppliers need to be able to manufacture parts for vehicles as varied as the GMC Sierra pickup truck, the Cadillac CTS luxury sedan, the powerful Chevy Camaro, and everything in-between. We have been a supplier for GM for decades, so we know all about their high quality regulations for suppliers. We’re excited to be recognized for our work, and we look forward to providing General Motors and other automakers with top-notch work for years to come.

[1] http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2013/03/gm_announces_new_top_award_sup.html

National Manufacturing Day and the Importance of American Manufacturing

September 30, 2014

The American manufacturing sector continues to grow, but many people have no idea just how important manufacturing is to our economy. Every year National Manufacturing Day tries to change that. On October 3rd manufacturers all over the country will open their doors to the public to show them just how integral their businesses are to our lives.

Our manufacturing sector has seen some good news in recent months. In August, manufacturing expanded in its fastest rate in over three years. The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of production hit a four-year high. The measure of new orders climbed to its highest level in a decade.[1] But this recent growth means nothing if manufacturers can’t continue the momentum in the coming decades.

That is why National Manufacturing Day exists. When manufacturers invite students, parents, public officials, educators, and the media to their facilities for tours and events, they can show them why they are needed. They can rattle off statistics like how many American jobs the sector supports (over 17 million) or how manufacturing makes up 12.5% of our GDP.[2] They can give people an insight into how the products and components they rely on every day are produced. They can show people the vast array of job opportunities the sector offers for skilled, educated workers.

This is perhaps the most important part of National Manufacturing Day. If people like educators and students realize that the importance of the manufacturing sector and see the well-paying jobs it offers, more people may be encouraged to seek out the skills needed to perform these jobs. A “skills gap,” a difference between what skills employers need and what skills the labor pool has, would be crippling for manufacturers. Events that shed light on the significance of manufacturing and the need for skilled workers can help us make sure that these companies can continue expanding.

So remember to check out National Manufacturing Day’s website and try to find an event near you!

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-manufacturing-grows-fastest-pace-years-25217351

[2] http://www.mfgday.com/resources/manufacturing-day-infographic

Our Unique Customization Process for Springs and Wire Forms

July 30, 2014

At Exacto Spring, we are well-known for the springs and wire forms we manufacture every year. We are so different from our competitors because we work closely with each individual customer to create custom springs and wire forms for their unique needs.

Each and every time we manufacture products, we focus heavily on the customer’s specifications and needs. Typically, we work with engineers, program managers, buyers, R&D people, and anyone that is working on the actual product in order to custom make the exact spring or wire form needed.

When a product is being made, each component must be made properly and with high quality materials. One of the needed components may be a spring or wireform. A client comes to us to find out how to design and produce springs and wire forms for their unique product.

The customization process varies for each customer. Usually, the customer will come to us with a design and other parameters that we can work with. Our team then works with the customer supplied specifications and assists in the final design. Approximately 80 percent of the time, prints need to be adjusted once we see them, so it is important that our engineers work with our customers in order to finalize the design.

One of the more consistent specifications is ensuring the spring is safely stressed. Therefore, it is essential that the design of the component is accurate and that the part will actually work in the conditions of the end product. It is our job to make sure the parts meet the necessary amount of work cycles.

How do we go about this? It is necessary for us to take a good look at the final application and review the conditions and environment in which the spring will be placed. Proper heating of the part is important for maintaining its memory and ensuring it can withstand and exceed certain conditions. This allows our customers to be confident the parts will succeed in their function.

Our customers consistently call and rely on us to provide them with materials necessary to complete their products and to guide them along the way. We have built trust with our customer base and continue to be their go-to spring and wire form manufacturer.

The Importance of Being a High-Quality Supplier

May 29, 2014

It’s no surprise that recalls, especially large-scale ones, can be quite costly for big auto manufacturers. The recent string of GM recalls really hammers that point home. Recalls can also show us the dire importance of each component, big and small, in a machine with so many moving parts. It stresses to manufacturers the importance of working with high-quality suppliers who can minimize the risk by delivering well-made parts that are far less likely to cause these kinds of problems.

As many of us know by now, the massive General Motors recall was triggered by faulty ignition switches in millions of vehicles. GM changed the design as a part of cost-saving meaures, and it ended up costing the automaker millions of dollars when its vehicles didn’t work as intended. If it wasn’t for the ignition switch problems, GM could have seen profits comparable to the ones it pulled in the first quarter of last year, around $865 million. Instead GM saw its first quarter profits decline by 86% this year, according to this report. While weakness in some overseas markets played a part in this huge decline, most of that loss can be attributed to the costs associated with this, and more recent, recalls.Springs and wireforms for auto applications

One of the components that was in the switch was a spring. This is why, no matter what component they are producing, a manufacturer needs to set its sights on being a high-quality supplier. Here at Exacto Spring, we may manufacture precision springs and wireforms. Our products are found in anything from cars to appliances, and we take great care to ensure that they’ll keep these complicated devices running smoothly and follow everything that is stated on the control plan, PPAP, prints, etc., No exceptions! Everything we do on the floor has been approved by the customer, and we never stop trying to create better components. Our mission is to be a high-quality supplier because we know how integral each component is to the finished product.

 

Auto Industry Lightweighting: The Next Big Thing

April 28, 2014

It’s auto show season around the country and the world, and that means a lot of excitement for industry professionals and car enthusiasts alike. This is where auto makers reveal their latest models, and also where trends in the industry are seen and examined.

Of all of the top trends, one of the biggest seems to be lightweighting—everyone is talking about it. At the Detroit Auto Show, Ford unveiled their 2015 F-150 pickup, which weighs about 700 pounds less than the previous model. The reduction is thanks to a high-strength aluminum alloy that is also said to help prevent dents and dings.

At last month’s Geneva Motor Show, attendees got a look at the 2015 Mercedes Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coup, boasting a lightweight body and lightweight alloy wheels. The car made its U.S. debut at the New York International Auto Show, April 18-27. Also unveiled there is the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, featuring a lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum body.

Whatever the material—aluminum, magnesium, steel—there’s no denying that auto makers and suppliers are looking to lighten the load. Benefits include greater efficiency and better handling, and according to makers of lightweight automotive steel, safety is uncompromised. While manufacturers are still working out ways to integrate lightweight materials while keeping it cost-effective, it’s clear that they are all eager to introduce these materials and vehicles to the market.

This month will even see the Global Automotive Lightweight Materials conference in London, a supply and manufacturing summit that proves the interest in and focus on the subject is significant.

As most of us know by now, the auto industry has made a major comeback, and the innovation, technology, and quality is unprecedented. This is and will continue to be true for vehicle lightweighting, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds. Here at Exacto Spring, we serve all automotive tier levels with our precision springs and wire forms. The automotive industry wants the best and with us, they will get the best. We are excited to partner with the auto industry and we’ll certainly be there to provide the highest quality products.

Our Trip to the MDMW Show!

March 27, 2014

It is that time of year again—the time for the MDM (Medical Device Manufacturer) West trade show! As we have been doing for years, we attended and exhibited at the show, which took place February 11-13th.

The trade show, which is the nation’s largest medical device conference that brings together suppliers and customers and offers in-person events and educational events, is an opportunity for us to showcase Exacto Medical. Exacto Medical is the piece of our company that markets the medical industry, as wire forming is more commonly used for medical applications. We have found that people sometimes may think springs aren’t applicable for the medical industry, so they don’t first think of us when searching for a supplier. Due to this, we have learned to market this part of our company differently, so that we can reach the right people in the medical industry and show what we have to offer.

This is why attending the MDM West show every year is an important part of our business. Here, we can meet with other professionals in the medical industry and showcase how our capabilities can fit their needs. We brought samples with us to show off, so that we can highlight some products we are able to manufacture. Since we are a custom shop, the show also gives us the ability to brainstorm with potential clients—typically engineers and buyers from medical companies—about how we can best meet their needs.

This year was no different; we were excited to showcase Exacto Medical and meet new people in the industry. We can’t wait until next year!

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