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Delivering Value to our Customers

Michael Reader

Doing business today, is no longer a static proposition. Driven by dynamic forces, it is an undertaking that is both exciting and challenging and requires constant reevaluation.

“Value” in manufacturing is often defined as the ratio of “function” to “cost.” “Function” brings the product to life. “Cost” is the amalgamation of elements such as raw materials, and production, including processes such as engineering, quoting, sales, purchasing, machine time, assembly, shipping, etc. Unfortunately, and as we all know, “Cost” is not simple to control.

“Value” can also be defined as the opportunity to implement improvements that will allow customers to remain competitive in the marketplace. At Precision Plus (PPI), we strive to deliver that value.

FABTECH 2015 Highlights: The Show, GTC Student Wins Welding Competition, Customer/Partners Attending the Show Visit Precision Plus

Michael Reader

Representatives from companies from around the world come together once a year to attend FABTECH, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing exposition, to see everything from the most basic metalworking machines to fringe of technology equipment, products and services.

In 2015, the event was held over four days (November 9-12) at Chicago’s McCormick Place, spread over 700,000 square feet, and welcomed over 40,000 attendees from more than 90 countries.

FABTECH was first held in Cleveland, Ohio in 1981 to showcase advances in technology. Over the years, it forged partnerships with five key trade associations: FMA (Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International), SME (formerly the Society of Manufacturing Engineers), AWS (American Welding Society), PMA (Precision Metalforming Association), and CCAI (Chemical Coaters Association International), resulting in a show that brings together buyers and sellers, and features the latest. FABTECH also offers industry-targeted education.

The show appeals to a vast audience representing the varied and diverse makeup of the manufacturing industry—from the smallest job shop to the largest Fortune 500 manufacturing—as both (and everyone in between) are looking for innovating solutions that could increase their competitive edge.

Live demonstrations, educational sessions, networking and even welding competitions take place over the 4-day event. This year, special event presentations were on point with technology trends and featured programs on additive manufacturing/3D printing, security risks, women in manufacturing, the significance of teamwork within successful organizations.

An always-favorite event is the welding competition, where talented welders compete for the “Best Welder in America” title. The participants were graded on speed and quality, while they demonstrated their skill by making a single-pass SMAW weld with an E7018 on low-carbon steel. First place and $2,500 were awarded to Aaron Oetken, a self-employed welder/fabricator from Iowa. Andrew Miller, a welding engineer at Caterpillar received $500.00 and the third place in the competition. It is worth noting, however, that the second place winner and recipient of $1,000.00 was Tommy Ruge, a student at Gateway Technical College (GTC) in Racine, Wisconsin. Congratulations to Tom, his instructors, and GTC.

Representatives from Precision Plus typically attend FABTECH, as do some of their customer/partners. This year, management team members from a distinguished customer/partner located in Costa Rica, paid a visit to Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, after the show.

On this occasion, the representatives from the company gave a presentation to the entire Precision Plus Team on their company and products. They also discussed the culture they have developed with their employees, their customers and their supply chain partners from whom they require parts that have tolerances as close as +/- 0.0002”, confirming that the final product is not just a mere object, but the result of creative solutions that are obtained through collaboration and dedicated relationships.

In 2016, FABTECH is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 16-18, providing, once again a powerfully aligned hands-on, face-to-face business growth experience, featuring North America’s largest collaboration of technology, equipment and knowledge in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries.

Precision Plus Adds Mecco Laser Marking System to Its Suite of Secondary Operations

Michael Reader

There are many reasons why Precision Plus (PPI)’s customers are requesting that components as small as 1/8” in diameter be marked in one way or another: branding, material identification, serialization, and date coding, among others. In an era where the precision of a component could mean the difference between life and death, companies are taking component identification to the next level.

Paul McDonough, Manufacturing Engineer at Precision Plus, explains that investing into a laser marking system for relatively low volume custom jobs, addresses these types of customer customization requirements.

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PPI recently purchased and installed a MeccoMark® Laser System, a desktop solution with a 4.3” marking area, and a rotary circumference marking area of up to 4” in diameter. The system in place at PPI accepts parts up to 10.5” high. “Although any MS font can be programmed to print,” explains McDonough, “to keep things simple, we are using Tahoma, and offering standard heights ranging between .040” to .160”.”

In addition, the system has bar and QR coding capabilities, can mark most metals and some plastics, can mark logos and images, and provides many serialization options.

The MeccoMark® System has become a part of PPI’s suite of secondary operations, which depending on the part and the process required to complete it (i.e., aluminum anodization, electropolishing steel, etc.), may come before or after another secondary operation.

Loading components into the fixtures for marking, however, remains a manual operation. The process can take from 3 seconds to 3 minutes to complete, subject to the size of the component and the complexity of the mark.   “Because the parts going through the system are typically part of low volume custom orders, it does not justify any further automation,” adds McDonough.

Paul McDonough joined Precision Plus in May of 2015, after 17 years with Dentsply, a dental equipment and supplies manufacturing company, where he was dubbed “The Project Guy.” At PPI, he is looking to identify the increasingly specific needs of customers for precision components, and assess the viability to add in-house processes to reduce turnaround time and increase quality.

Precision Plus welcomes Paul McDonough to the team!

Paul McDonough can be reached by phone or email.

Representatives from Vitec Group and Parker Hannifin Visit with Precision Plus’ Employees to Show Components in Action

Michael Reader

Earlier this month, Precision Plus had the privilege of hosting representatives from two of Precision Plus’ customers: Dennis Giesler, General Manager of Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division in Minnesota, and Alonso Rojas, Supply Chain Manager at Vitec Group, PLC in Costa Rica.

On separate visits, both Giesler and Rojas made a presentation to the entire Precision Plus staff. Their talks included an overview of their respective companies and their products, and explanation of how the components that Precision Plus manufactures fit within their products—components in action.

Both men stressed the importance of the valuable contribution that each Precision Plus employee makes to ensure that the end products work correctly, one hundred percent of the time, acknowledging that in some applications, someone’s life may depend on the accuracy of the component.

 

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Parker Hannifin’s Quick Coupling Division is the world’s largest manufacturer of quick couplings. The company accommodates a wide spectrum of hydraulic and pneumatic coupling design requirements, varying in size and materials.This division also sells hydraulic swivels, check valves and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.

 

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Vitec Group is an international company that designs, manufactures, and supplies “high quality, world class, branded products and services that enable end users to capture exceptional images. Their products such as camera accessories, lighting and control, monitors, prompters, robotic camera systems, are primarily designed to support cameras used in broadcast, video and high quality professional cameras.

 

Precision Plus thanks both Alonso Rojas and Dennis Giesler for their time and consideration.

HollenWolff Follow Up

Michael Reader

Wisconsin’s own HollenWoff, the high-end bearing-lock cuff link designer, has once again been featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in this article by Kathleen Gallagher published on January 3, 2013. Precision Plus is mentioned therein as having partnered up with HollenWolff to manufacture the luxurious cuff links.

HollenWolff and its story was first featured on our blog in August of 2012.

75 Gears on Mars – Mission Accomplished

Michael Reader

Back in 1955, when Stetler and Evelyn Young founded Forest City Gear in Roscoe, Illinois, they had a vision to create a leading gear manufacturing company, which would be well-respected throughout the world.  They did accomplish their dream and much more…but they certainly did not consider that 50-some years later, their gears would end up on Mars.

Our Curiosity, courtesy of  Our City, Our Story on Vimeo.

Curiosity, the latest of NASA’s Mars rovers, landed on the “red planet” on August 5, 2012 after an 8-month, 354 million-mile journey.  Forest City Gear can proclaim that a total of 75 of their gears are on Mars, split between Curiosity and an earlier Mars rover.

With over 50 years in the industry, this family-owned business has striven to be a model company, not only for the industry and their customers, but also for their employees.  The Youngs’ son Fred is now the CEO.

Precision Plus salutes Forest City Gear on their accomplishments and is proud to have them among our fine customers.

HollenWolff’s Bearing-Lock Cuff Links, Made in Wisconsin

Michael Reader

From an article by Mary Louise Schumacher of The Journal Sentinel about HollenWolff’s bearing-lock cuff links

“Dressed to the nines for a big fundraiser, two friends chatted about the cuff links clasped at one man’s wrist. They talked about their grandfathers and the bygone elegance of certain masculine accoutrements.

One of the two owned a ball-bearing manufacturing company. The other was a clothing stylist.”

In a precise moment, a new idea was born and a new direction was forged.  HollenWolff has designed a new kind of bearing-lock cuff link that is unlike anything ever made. International patents are pending.

Precision Plus is honored to be a part of the project.