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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!

Our Niche in the Spring Market

February 20, 2014

Every company and every business has its own niche—their capabilities or services that comprise their business and make them known in the industry. For us here at Exacto Spring, we have created a niche with our springs and wire forms for the past fifty-four years.

Specifically, we are skilled in producing compression springs (push to get force), torsion springs (twist to get force), and extension springs (extend to get force). Wire diameters of these custom springs for our customers range from 0.002” to 0.006”. We are proficient in tight tolerances and springs of all sizes—we have manufactured them in sizes ranging from 0.005” long to 1,000’ long. Over the years, we have perfected our springs to be applicable for all industries, and we can supply them in all volumes. Our customers are located in 22 countries, and we make thousands of part numbers each year.

SpringsHere at Exacto, we are proud of our high quality, engineering design and assistance, and our services that go the extra step—including working on parts that need extra attention, packaging, and automation. We are consistently examining ways to make our products more innovative and our processes to better meet our customers’ needs. We will continue to strive to become better in our niche—and we hope to become your niche supplier!

2013: A Year of Expansion for Exacto Spring

December 30, 2013

2013 has been an exciting year for the entire Exacto Spring family! As the nation’s economy has rebounded from a few tough years, Exacto Spring has flourished. Positive movement in the medical, auto, and aerospace industries brought a wave of new business and customers to Exacto Spring in 2013.Thanks to a spike in orders, we were able to make some big changes in 2013. Here are some of the highlights:

Expansion

We purchased another building for use as a storage and receiving center. This new 25,000 sq. ft. facility, which we are calling Exacto West, allows us to house all of our raw materials, which increases our manufacturing space at our main facility for future growth. The new building brings our total square footage to 150,000. Additionally, we have been hiring in all areas of our company this year due to our company’s growth.Exacto West

New Equipment and Capabilities

By adding new coiling equipment, we are reaching new markets for the spring side of our business. The new fleet of machinery also expands our capabilities, including the addition of small run productions up to .250 wire diameter and our niche of .156 and below. We have now over 150 pieces of production equipment. We have also increased automation and we’re constantly innovating new products in order to reduce costs, exacto-ize our equipment, and better serve our customers.

So what does 2014 hold for Exacto Spring? We firmly believe that the global economy has turned a corner, and that 2014 will be just as strong as 2013.The best part is that thanks to our expansion this year, we are prepared for whatever 2014 has in store.

The Disclosure of Conflict Minerals Use in Automotive Supply Chains

November 27, 2013

As manufacturing continues to experience growth, so has the automotive industry. In recent months, the auto industry has seen stronger sales and more sustained recovery, according to this article by the Detroit Free Press. With increased sales comes an increased demand for conflict minerals disclosure.

The use of “conflict minerals” has affected all manufacturing industries, and will be in full effect by the end of 2013. Specifically, the conflict minerals’ requirements are outlined in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, created by the U.S. SEC. They refer to the prohibition of use of minerals and materials from “conflict” areas, more precisely the Democratic Republic of Congo. The minerals in question—tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold—are restricted from use in American supply chains. According to this article, manufacturers in areas such as the electronics or automotive fields will need to accurately report whether or not these conflict minerals appear in their supply chain.

When it comes to the auto industry, auto manufacturers and other manufacturers in the automotive supply chain, such as us here at Exacto Spring, now need to confirm where the materials are being sourced from. Since auto sales have increased, there has been more of a demand of these reports. According to this article from Automotive News, the conflict minerals’ ruling has forced those in the auto industry to review their supply chain in a whole new view. Why? As stated in that article, those materials are used in a variety of automotive products, “causing a need for the supply chain to get into the data and reach out to suppliers.”

Here at Exacto Spring, we have been busy providing customers letters stating where we have received our materials. This is something that is happening up and down the supply chain, and with a higher production of cars, is something affecting all those in the auto industry. Whether or not you’re involved in the auto industry, it’s still pertinent in today’s manufacturing world to ensure your materials are conflict-free.

American Manufacturing: Where Are We Today?

September 30, 2013

As American manufacturing is seeing a welcomed comeback, and national MFG Day is right around the corner (October 4, 2013), it’s as important as ever to celebrate this day of industry recognition and help keep the momentum going. According to the sponsors of the event, this day “provides manufacturers with an opportunity to tell their company’s story, dispel outdated myths about manufacturing, inspire a new generation of manufacturers, and connect with their communities.”

Today’s state of American manufacturing is luckily a different story than it was in recent times. In fact, August’s factory production rates were at their highest in over two years. According to this article, major companies throughout the country are “re-shoring and American entrepreneurship is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to more affordable tools, like laser cutting, 3-D printing and even robotics. It’s a great time to be a maker or entrepreneur.”

Thanks to a general mindset of bringing manufacturing back, coupled with the overall attractiveness of manufacturing in the U.S., reshoring is bringing business back home, and the pace seems to be steady. Many don’t want to go overseas to do business anymore, and the hope is that as this trend continues, the pace will go from steady to heavy.

Accordingly, many American companies are getting involved in their communities and local schools and universities, providing information about the value of careers in manufacturing. As there is a worry over the current skilled labor shortage, companies—and events such as MFG Day—are working to combat the problem by attracting younger generations and getting them excited about the industry.

Addressing the skills gapAt Exacto Spring, not only are we proud to be an American manufacturer, but we’re actively involved in the focus on manufacturing’s return. Specifically, we are involved in many local programs, such as our partnership with GPS Education Partners, that work with students. The goal is to get students involved and interested in manufacturing at a young age in the hope they will consider future careers and opportunities in the industry. As American manufacturers, we understand the importance of manufacturing in our economy, as well as bridging the skills gap. Additionally, we offer two-year apprenticeships that provide students with an overview of manufacturing skills, though specifically in spring making techniques. We are proud to be American manufacturers and we certainly hope to continue the trend for future generations.

Manufacturing might not be exactly what it used to be, but with ingenuity, innovation, and education, we can all help make it better than ever.

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