Author: Rich Novicky

Midwest Rubber Company to Acquire Xccent Medical and Industrial

DECKERVILLE, Mich. —Midwest Rubber Co., a manufacturer of rubber and plastic products, recently announced that it will acquire Xccent Medical and Industrial Division, a manufacturer of rubber and flexible products for the medical and industrial industry. Xccent, based in Wyoming, Minnesota, will transfer its operation to Midwest Rubber’s headquarters in Sanilac County, Michigan. The acquisition will allow Xccent to continue to focus on its core business of fitness and playground equipment. This move complements Midwest Rubber’s portfolio of business by expanding its reach in the medical and industrial sector. “This planned acquisition will further establish Midwest Rubber Company as a premier leader in the rubber and flexible products industry, and one of America’s few remaining latex dip molders,” said Kenneth Jehle, president of Midwest Rubber Co., in a press release. “It will also bring ten new jobs to Michigan.” Kenneth Jehle, president of Midwest Rubber Co., called the move “great news” for its customers. “Midwest Rubber offers additional process capabilities outside of vinyl and latex dip molding, such as rotational molding and urethane foam molding, and unique engineering and problem-solving expertise. We have carefully selected the best suitor, Midwest Rubber, to carry on the legacy and reputation we have built over 40 years.” Established in Detroit in 1946, Midwest Rubber Co. (mwrco.com) designs, engineers, and manufactures form-dipped, slush-cast, and rotationally-molded rubber and plastic parts for the automotive, medical, heavy...

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Boston Centerless Expands Services with New Material Validation Testing Center

WOBURN, Mass.—Boston Centerless, a precision bar materials supplier, has expanded its services by adding a Material Validation Testing Center to its operation. The new center gives the company the ability to verify the identity and integrity of the precision bar products manufactured by Boston Centerless, mitigating material risk. These services can also be performed on customer-supplied material. Specifically, the equipment can test for internal and surface defects, as well as alloy verification. This is especially important for industries where metal identification is critical to the application, such as aerospace and medical. “This testing capability brings a higher level of service to our customers, allowing us to reduce lead time and logistics requirements, and supply a superior level of quality for the customer,” said Dave Mersereau, senior vice president and general manager at Boston Centerless, in a company release. “By having the ability to test real time with manufacturing, we eliminate the need for the customer to manage additional suppliers while shaving valuable time off their process.” Testing services offered include ultrasonic testing, Eddy current testing, and XRF alloy verification. Laser marking with customer-specific identifiers is also available. Boston Centerless (bostoncenterless.com) supplies customers worldwide with precision bar materials for close tolerance CNC Swiss machining applications. In addition to providing grinding services for customer-supplied materials and components, the company offers CNC Swiss consulting services and manufactures a line of ultra-precise...

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Prince Precision Earns ISO 9001:2015 Certification

MACON, Ga.—Prince Precision Products recently announced that it has completed its ISO 9001:2015 certification, broadening its eligibility to work with suppliers and OEMs in the air handling, food processing, material handling, and power generation industries. The company reported that it is one of just five manufacturers in the Macon, Georgia, area with an ISO 9001 certification, and the first with an ISO 9001:2015 certification. Prince Precision Products, founded in 2008, is a contract manufacturer that specializes in the rapid production of precision metal products that require cutting, forming, machining, assembly, and finishing. ISO 9001:2015 is the latest revision to the ISO 9001 standard, the most widely adopted standard for quality management systems. It follows the same overall structure as other ISO management system standards with a special focus on risk-based thinking, supply chain management, and leadership engagement. “We’ve always placed a special emphasis on quality at Prince Precision Products,” said Art Prince, company president, in a statement. “It shows in our record and in our mandate that all of our employees undergo quality training before they start work. We’ve been producing precision metal products to ISO 9001 standards for years, and saw an opportunity to make it official when the updated standards were released last year.” Prince Precision Products (princeprecision.com) is an outgrowth of parent company Prince Service and Manufacturing, a heavy metal fabricating company in business since...

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Rotary Stage Collet Closer Handles Cylindrical Goods

GOLETA, Calif.—A compact, air-driven collet closer developed by Bell-Everman Inc. is reported to precisely secure cylindrical goods in the company’s rotary stages. The collet closer, able to squeeze into through-hole openings as small as 15mm and extending just 42mm from the face of the stage, solves a common work-holding problem in inspection, metrology, and laser engraving applications, the company says.  The initial offering, ER-16, can handle cylinders with diameters from 1 to 10mm. The collet closer has the ability to close without changing the workpiece’s axial position. It also offers the ability to customize the opening and clamping behavior: The same air cylinder that closes the collet can be set to open it, making it easy to set it up as a spring-close, air-open device. Optionally, the collet closer can be integrated with a single-axis controller to handle indexing tasks and process fourth-axis motion commands for contouring. Bell-Everman has designed larger sizes that can accommodate cylindrical parts up to 30mm in diameter and withstand higher side loads—opening up the possibility of some light CNC machining applications, the company says. Bell-Everman (bell-everman.com) designs and manufactures precision motion control components and systems at its facility in Southern California. The company’s product line includes precision linear bearings, linear motion positioning devices, rotary stages, and multi-axis robotic...

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Plasma Treatment Reported to Promote Adhesion of Protective Overmolding to PCBs

RICHMOND, Va., and CORONA, Calif.—Exposure to water, dust, oil, chemicals, movement, and extreme temperature changes can damage circuitry. This problem is exacerbated for multi-component printed circuit boards (PCBs) found in outdoor devices that must withstand a wide range of weather conditions for decades with little or no degradation in performance. Vulnerable devices include environmental sensors, broadcast equipment, power supplies, billboards/signs, automotive components, solar panels, and outdoor lighting. This has led manufacturers to look for ways to protect electronic components to ensure reliability and stability in the field. One technique is to apply encapsulating coatings—such as epoxies, polyurethanes, acrylics, and thermoplastics, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate, as well as deposited hydrocarbons, like parylene—to PCBs. However, for outdoor weather conditions, a silicone over-mold is often the preferred method due to its low water absorption, wide temperature range of use (typically -50°C to 204°C), thermal stability, electrical resistance, and stability to ultraviolet light exposure. Unfortunately, the topography of a PCB means the silicone must bond to many types of materials, including polymers, metals, alloys, ceramics, and the FR-4 board itself, all of which have unique surface energies and chemistries. Without proper adhesion, silicone can begin to delaminate, not only at the edges of the electronic board, but also in the form of small air pockets on, or around, components. This can lead to moisture ingress and subsequent corrosion or electrical shorts. “From a...

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Bal Seal Expands Line to Meet Demands for Large Tolerance Sealing

FOOTHILL RANCH, CALIF. — Bal Seal Engineering (www.balseal.com) has expanded its line of sealing products to include the spring-energized PTFE “C-ring” seal. The seal, which can be retrofit into grooves originally designed for elastomeric O-rings, is reported to offer improved performance and service life in hardware with large tolerance variations. Bal Seal Engineering, a global provider of custom-engineered sealing, connecting, conducting, and EMI shielding solutions, says the C-ring seal combines the low friction properties of PTFE and simple, streamlined jacket geometry to achieve better sealing for more cycles in equipment where clearances, surface finishes, and other design characteristics vary widely. Typical applications for the new seal include medical imaging units, insulin pumps, ventilators, and drug-delivery devices. The C-ring seal is energized with a Bal Spring® canted coil spring, which promotes even wear and prolongs service life. Its design allows for tool-less installation. The C-ring seal is available in a range of materials, including virgin PTFE and filled PTFE. It is reported to be well-suited for use in low-pressure (<500 psi), low-speed (<100 ft/min) applications that require frictional control, and its polymer jacket expands under thermal cycling conditions to maintain contact pressure. Cross sections range from 1/16 to ½ inch, with radial tolerances of 0.010 to 0.075 inch. Tolerance ranges are dependent on ambient pressure, media type, and surface finish conditions. The company says its new C-ring seal can help...

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Job Shop Helps Improve Welding of Rupture Disks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. (EBE) has helped BS&B Safety Systems make significant improvements in the welding of its rupture disks, EBE reported recently. Electron Beam Engineering is a southern California-based provider of electron beam and laser beam welding services that specializes in working with complex components. Rupture disks, also known as pressure safety disks, are sensitive relief devices designed to instantaneously rupture at a predetermined pressure and temperature as a means of providing protection for personnel, electronics, and equipment. Rupture disks are commonly used in automotive, petrochemical, aerospace, medical, pharmaceutical, food processing, and oil field applications. “Before we got involved, BS&B was conventionally welding, clamping, or gluing its rupture disks,” said Richard Trillwood, CEO of Electron Beam Engineering, in a company release. “Because of our precision electron beam welding and the low amount of heat generated, our process produces less distortion and minimal effect on the burst disk material, resulting in a much better product, and is ideal for special materials and designs. The outcome is a manufacturing procedure that is more predictable, resulting in a higher yield of disks all having the same burst pressure.” One frequent use of burst disks is for fire suppression products, such as sprinklers. A fire suppression gas, which has been specifically developed as a clean agent to not be harmful to people or the atmosphere, is instantly released through...

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Pressure Switch Reported to Thrive in Tough Environments

RIVERDALE, N.J.—Sigma-Netics Inc. has added a 2-pin Deutsch connector option to its 784 Series of ruggedized pressure switches. The 2-pin option allows the 784 Series to serve a wider range of applications, including those with limited installation space, the company reported in a recent release. Originally available with just a 3-pin Deutsch, the 784 pressure switch is compliant with IP67 standards for maximum environmental protection. The model, a piston-based design with an 8-to-6,000 psig range, is reported to thrive in tough environments, where it may be exposed to oil, fuel, water, dust, vibration, or shock. The pressure switch features a snap-action electrical switch tested to one million cycles, gold contact switches for dry circuit applications, high overpressure capabilities, and custom configurations. Capable of functioning in a temperature range of -40ºF to 250ºF, it includes a 303 stainless steel, hydraulic module housing. Sigma-Netics (sigmanetics.com), based in Riverdale, New Jersey, designs and manufactures sensing elements for demanding industrial, military, and aerospace applications. In addition to pressure switches, the company manufactures metal bellows and metal bellows...

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VOC-free Fiberglass Material Reported to Boost Production at Lower Cost

KANSAS CITY, Kans., and HAYDEN, Idaho—Manufacturers have long used fiberglass when a strong, lightweight, formable material with some flexibility is required. For these reasons, it is a key building material among manufacturers of boats, trailers, automobiles, RVs, furniture, Jacuzzis and bathtubs, and water park slides. Yet fiberglass emits hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during manufacturing due to its resins. Resins serve as a binding agent to fiberglass strands and typically contain styrene, a toxic air pollutant. As such, fiberglass is increasingly regulated by federal, state, and local agencies, particularly in California. “We have manufactured composite fiberglass trailers with traditional polyester resins, vacuum infusion, even epoxies, but after California’s AQMD levied a $26,000 fine for VOC emissions, we moved out of state,” said Vince Austin, owner of NestEgg Trailers, a manufacturer of lightweight tow-behind trailers now based in Hayden, Idaho. Because of the limitations of traditional fiberglass, manufacturers are being forced to look beyond the usual manufacturing techniques. That’s where a breakthrough in the manufacturing process of fiberglass has led many proactive manufacturers to find a new, VOC-free fiberglass alternative using a specially designed polyurea that increases production at a lower cost. Such a resin substitute not only dries within 30 seconds, but also can be used with a chopper-mounted spray gun to make parts and even molds or rapid prototypes in minutes. Because choppers cut the fiberglass strand to...

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Process Reported to Yield Metallic Finishes, Unlimited Tint Options for Vehicles

TROY, Mich. — SRG Global™ has introduced its G-Coat™ tint-over-chrome process to help automakers better facilitate pushing the boundaries of design, styling, and functionality. SRG Global (srgglobal.com) is a prominent global manufacturer of chrome-plated and painted plastic parts for the automotive, commercial truck, and household appliance industries. The company manufactures in North America, Western and Central Europe, and Asia. “One of our company’s core innovation pillars is the importance of design. We see automobiles as an extension of consumer preferences, personality, and lifestyle, and our products are often considered to be the ‘jewelry’ of the car,” said Dave Prater, president and CEO of SRG Global, in a company release. “This proprietary process allows our automaker customers more flexibility and options when adding differentiation to their vehicles.” The G-Coat process is reported to deliver distinct metallic surface finishes for exterior and interior applications and to regularly improve paint adhesion to any chrome-plated plastic part. It is said to offer nearly unlimited custom color options, including a high optical density, deep black finish not achievable by other technologies, SRG Global reported in its press release. The process is also said to provide enhanced corrosion protection and fingerprint resistance compared to other processes and to meet multiple automotive OEM performance standards for basecoat and clear coat paint systems. “The G-Coat process was refined over many months with a significant amount of learning...

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Stratasys Reveals Large-Part 3D Printing Demonstrator

MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel—The 3D printing and additive manufacturing company Stratasys is working with Ford and Boeing on new technology to 3D print large aerospace and automotive parts. Demonstrations of the technology, including the Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator, were to be previewed at IMTS 2016 as part of the company’s Shaping What’s Next™ vision for manufacturing. In a company release, Stratasys said that its Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator builds on the company’s industrial FDM® 3D printing expertise to respond to the needs of customers’ most challenging applications. The 3D demonstrator is said to address manufacturers’ needs to rapidly produce strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel. The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive, and other industries for large lightweight, thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties. The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator offers what the company calls a revolutionary approach to FDM extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability. The system is said to turn the traditional 3D printer concept on its side to realize an “infinite-build” approach that prints on a vertical plane for practically unlimited part size in the build direction. Aerospace giant Boeing played an influential role in defining the requirements and specifications for the demonstrator. Boeing is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low volume, lightweight parts. Ford Motor Company...

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What’s Your Strategy for Meeting IMDS Requirements?

IMDS, a universal data reporting requirement for suppliers in the automotive supply chain, isn’t going away anytime soon. To stay on the right side of compliance, companies need to plan ahead. By Derrik Snider “They won’t let us ship auto parts without IMDS!” exclaimed Steve, production manager at FabFitCo. “Why not?” asked Brian, the company’s general manager. “It’s due on Friday.” “To ship, we need an IMDS number on the PPAP, and to get one, we have to provide detailed data on every piece of material in the part, including our supplier’s materials,” explained Steve. “We’ve done capability studies, CpKs, GRRs before. What’s different about this?” Brian asked. “It’s unique to the auto business,” Steve replied. “For every part that goes into a car, we have to break down the part assembly, specify every material substance at every level, and enter the data in the online IMDS system. Until we do that, they won’t let us ship it. ” “Can’t we just tell our customer what’s in it—send them the material certs?” Brian asked. “I tried that, but they have to have the information in the online system. I can’t just send them a paper copy,” Steve replied. “We have material safety data sheets in that binder. Can we use those?” Brian asked. “No,” Steve replied. “The MSD sheets only list hazardous chemicals; they don’t add up to 100...

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A Powerful 1-2-3 Punch for American Manufacturing

Reshoring is real, but it’s only one part of a robust expansion currently taking place in U.S. manufacturing. By Mark Shortt Paul Elio wants to keep the American Dream alive. The 52-year-old mechanical engineer started his own car company, Elio Motors, in 2009, after 13 years as head of an engineering consultancy, ESG Engineering, and a four-year stint as a design engineer at Johnson Controls. If things go according to plan, the first Elio automobile—an 84-mpg three-wheeler with a base price of $7300—will roll off the assembly line at GM’s former Hummer H3 plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, next year, carrying with it Paul Elio’s commitment to creating American jobs and his faith in American automotive ingenuity. “From day one, I wanted to build a 100 percent American car,” Elio told D2P in a phone interview. “I can show, with data, that we can build a low price, high quality vehicle in this country with about 90 percent North American content. We have to make things in this country and we have to export from this country. I think it’s critically important to our long term survival as a nation.” Elio estimates that manufacturing the car—known as the Elio—in the United States will create more than 1500 jobs at its Shreveport facility and approximately 1500 jobs throughout the supply base, most of which is located within easy reach of Elio’s...

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Technology Merges with Automotive in New Era of Efficient, User-Centric Mobility

Automakers are increasingly adopting mixed-materials strategies to reduce vehicle weight. Meanwhile, the car of the future is emerging as a smart, connected, electrified vehicle that redefines how vehicles are created—by employing a user-driven, multi-disciplinary approach to product design and manufacturing. By Mark Shortt It’s not unusual today to hear an automotive executive refer to their company as a technology company or mobility company. Pressures to meet unyielding fuel efficiency requirements and to deliver uncompromising customer experiences are driving the development of a host of advanced technologies for automakers. And as they embrace them with open arms, companies from the likes of Ford and General Motors to Tesla and Faraday Future are redefining what it means to be an automotive manufacturer today. A New Model for Product Design and Development Tesla CEO Elon Musk wasn’t kidding last year when, as reported by Jerry Hirsch in a March 19, 2015 piece in the Los Angeles Times, he referred to the Model S electric sedan as “a sophisticated computer on wheels” for its ability to receive software updates for safety features like automatic braking and a partial autopilot system. “Tesla is a software company as much it is a hardware company,” Musk was quoted as saying. “A huge part of what Tesla is, is a Silicon Valley software company. We view this the same as updating your phone or your laptop.” Faraday...

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