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Looking Back at 2014 and a Look Ahead to our 55th Year

January 19, 2015

With our company heading into our 55th year of operation, we like to think that we’re not showing our age one bit. Nothing shows this better than our evolution in 2014. As a company, we grew greatly in skill and capacity, growth spurred on by our customers’ continued business and trust in us.

Increased Manufacturing Capabilities

Within the last year, we increased our workforce by 10%, bringing in more talent and capability. We updated our infrastructure, including major investments in new equipment – in fact; it was our biggest years ever for new equipment procurement, bringing in the latest spring-making machinery.

Using Technology to Succeed

Through the investment of capital in a new computer system, we have updated how we manage information and distribute it to customers. This provides for better record keeping and better customer service, as well as increased awareness of the big picture on our side.

Organic Growth

Through customer involvement and increasing our capabilities, we continue to grow. We have roughly 5,000 active part numbers, signifying competency in a variety of industries and applications. We have nearly 1,000 customers located in 20 countries, and we value each of them equally. We continue to see organic growth that we feel reflects our ability to produce quality springs for a variety of applications.

With our anniversary coming up in 2015, we plan on continued growth, and for another 55 years after that. We will continue to seek out new opportunities, in new industries, and prepare for the future. At Exacto Spring, we will always have improvement and innovation on our minds, and we look forward to working with you now and in the future.

The Medical Device Industry

December 17, 2014

In 2014, Exacto has hired dozens of production personnel to keep up with our growing programs in the medical side of our business. In addition, our custom built equipment for these special programs is mostly made in-house to meet our stringent customer requirements. The machines we use need to be custom built as no job is the same and this type of equipment is not available to purchase. Bending wire to a certain shape does not come easy in medical, especially when you’re adding components to the product and holding the toughest requirements that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires.

The FDA is revising the current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements for medical devices and incorporating them into a quality system regulation. The quality system regulation includes requirements related to the methods used in, and the facilities and controls used for, designing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, storing, installing, and servicing of medical devices intended for human use. This action is necessary to add preproduction design controls and to achieve consistency with quality system requirements worldwide. This regulation sets forth a framework for device manufacturers to follow and gives them greater flexibility in achieving quality requirements.

The FDA requires detailed studies, protocols, and documentation. Customers also require performance qualifications and operational qualifications for projects, requires a lot of studies, protocols, and documentation of processes, all of which is done by Exacto. Checking dimensions of the devices, checking the worst case scenarios and stacked tolerances require a lot more work, written and documented procedures on equipment. These required documents and studies are produced to the FDA along with the projects. Exacto has all the measuring equipment, using which precise measurements can be taken (can be measured to the microns). All these help Exacto to meet and exceed the requirements set by the FDA. We are also investing in new quality and associated equipment to check the products so that they meet the new and changing required specifications.

Whenever a sponsor intends to conduct a study that is not covered by a protocol already contained in the IND, the sponsor can submit to the FDA a protocol amendment containing the protocol for the study. Such study begins if the following conditions are met:

  • The sponsor has submitted the protocol to FDA for review
  • The protocol has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) with responsibility for review and approval of the study in accordance with the requirements of part 56. The sponsor may comply with these two conditions in either order.

Learn more about our capabilities on our website.

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.

 

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