Vertical Integration and Single Source Stamping

You may have heard of the term “vertical integration”.  It’s often used in the context of discussion about big oil or the steel industry around the time of the industrial revolution.  It refers to the unified oversight or control of several separate processes involved in a particular business or industry.  It’s an interesting phenomenon that only became possible after the shift in manufacturing and production from the small scale craftsman or tradesman (who incidentally was a vertically integrated entity, just on a much smaller, less efficient scale) to mass production, assembly lines, separate repeatable processes, and the like.

Vertical integration is desirable for many reasons; for the manufacturer, it means control over the entire (or much of the) process of production, which in turn means control of quality and safety standards, more supply chain security, and more control over production expenses.  To the customer or end user, this translates into quicker turn-around times, more competitive price points, and the security of a single-source product.  Another interesting advantage is the relative ease of producing a custom part – where many supply chain/production industries would have to coordinate with several different businesses, people, and sectors for custom parts, a vertically integrated entity has all of the pieces of the puzzle at its disposal.

At New Process Fibre, we have control of our plastics from the silos to the production floor.  While our main focus is stamping plastic and other non-metallic parts, we extrude the thermoplastic sheet on our own, in-house extrusion lines, slit the roll stock into coils in our own slitting department so that we can then produce the parts, stamping them out on our own punch presses using dies made in our own tool shop by our own skilled toolmakers.   We have complete control, from thermoplastic resin to finished part.  We are an intentionally vertically integrated custom non-metallic manufacturer because we’ve seen that it works, and have been making it work since 1927; it’s the best way we’ve found to give our customers the best product we can.

How Experience Affects the Manufacture of Non-metallics

As a true custom manufacturer, we at New Process Fibre have a wealth of experience with the various processes involved in non-metallic component manufacture.  Part of this expertise includes the knowledge of how our manufacturing processes affect the different materials we work with, and how to correctly arrive at a given specification within the tolerances that our clients define.

This sort of nuanced approach to components manufacture might not be immediately obvious to many manufacturers, distributors, or OEMs that primarily work with metal.  The properties of most metals are such that as a general rule (to turn a phrase) what you specify is what you get.  With non-metallic manipulations, however, the rules aren’t so cut and dry; they’re a bit more plastic.  For instance, if we allowed clients to specify the tooling they want used for the manufacture of some nylon washers, odds are that the tooling that reflects the dimensions of the final product desired won’t produce that part to within the tolerances desired, because of the way the materials perform within the stamping process.  Our more than 85 years of experience allow us to make careful and informed selections for the tooling of each job that will yield the most accurate output possible.  This is one reason we tend to form lasting relationships with clients; as our expertise becomes apparent throughout the process, our commitment to attending the end needs of the customer works in their favor, though our initial recommendation of an alternate tooling setup may be confusing.

Each job is unique, and may require different distinguishing features, depending on its end application.  This is why we do our best to listen to our customers end needs in order to determine the best way to produce the parts they need – we trust our customers to know what they need, and they trust us to recommend the best course of action for how to get there.  While the particulars of the application may change, the materials and process stay the same, and that’s where the expertise born of years of experience becomes invaluable.

Measuring our Standards of Service

The subject of standards of measurement is fascinating.  The standards of measure in the U.S. and elsewhere, for all different sorts of units, are various, and constantly changing.  Perhaps the most common to encounter is the two primary measurements of length: namely, feet or meters, which are the primary units of the systems commonly referred to as English or Metric.  Before declaring one particular system better or more practical, let’s remind ourselves of a bit of the history of the theory of measurement.

Things in nature (at least at the level discernible without sophisticated modern technology) do not occur in exact forms and replicas of each other.  This basic fact means that there is no standard upon which to base a system of measurement that is fundamentally exact.  This meant that some of the earliest systems of measurements referred to things such as “the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger” (a cubit), “the distance from an outstretched thumb to littlest finger” (a span), and similarly inexact but practical and common distances.  As trade and necessity for common units increased, and as technology and capabilities of measurement improved, more standardized systems of measurement evolved.  Modern measures are increasingly based on physical or chemical properties of common elements, perhaps the most recognizable of which is the definition of the 0 and 100 degrees Celsius as the freezing and boiling point of water, respectively (though technically, this was replaced by a yet more accurate measure in 1954).

The system that has nearly universal use is the International System of Units, or SI.  The most noticeable innovation present with this system is its adoption of 7 basic units of measure, and the use of multiples of ten for ease of calculation and manipulation.  While the U.S. does not formally or universally use this system much outside of select branches of science and industry, U.S. units are officially defined in terms of SI units.

At New Process, we’re not too concerned about which system of measurement you use, because we make it a priority to offer all of our custom products to the exact specification of whichever system you use.  The idea behind custom manufacturing is to make sure we meet your specifications, because ultimately you know exactly what you need.  So, the next time you need custom non-metallic stampings, you can count on New Process to measure up.

The Business of Spring-time Improvement

Spring is here, and if you think like we do here at New Process, then that means it’s finally time for many Americans to begin all of those lawn and garden projects that are forestalled in the winter.  Dusting off the garden tools, getting the hose out of the shed, and making sure their lawnmowers are in top condition are all things that come to the top of the to-do list for the average homeowner in the spring.  It’s time to start preparing for all the improvements that have been dreamed up during the colder months.

Maybe you’re a manufacturer of lawn and gardening power tools, and you know you’ll need the best gaskets, spacers, and washers around to make sure the product you make runs seamlessly, and outlasts the competition.  Not only do you need to know which materials best suit your gasketing needs, you need those decisions to be solid enough to support your company’s stake in the lawn-care industry’s projected growth.  Whether you need a gasket that can withstand a high compressive load, or your priority is simply waterproofing a seal, having material options that you can trust is important to the quality of the final product.  The dependability of every nut, bolt, washer, and connection on a machine, or any product, is paramount because at the end of the day, a quality product is a foundational key to building and maintaining customer loyalty.

We like to think about the forward focus and transformative energy of springtime as a model for the kind of business we aspire to be.  We seek to constantly innovate and grow, and would expect no less of our readers and clients.  If you agree, keep us in mind when you make your business decisions this spring – we’d love to be a part of the process of improvement for your business and for American homes.

A New Housing Boom Causes a New Power Tool Market to Buzz

The facts on the ground are hard to dispute, and in this case that’s a good thing: Fox News reports that US residential construction continues to rise after finishing off its best business year since the Housing Bubble collapse of 2008. In December alone, construction companies broke ground on approximately 954,000 houses and apartment units across the country. That’s a whopping 12% rise from the November seasonally adjusted rate, and double the rate of projects recorded in April 2009, when the economy couldn’t have been looking any worse. While it’s hardly the gung-ho, boomtown spirit of the Bush real estate economy of the mid-00s, it’s nothing to dismiss or shrug off either. Things are looking up, and things appear to be poised for even better.

That’s good news indeed for the U.S. home improvement and hand-power tools industries, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Homeowners across America who put off their remodeling projects year after year during the course of the Great Recession now seem to be coming out of the woodwork and are busily picking up some power-tools while they’re at it. The spending rate for home improvements in December of 2012 alone stood at $145.5 billion. Considering that many of these home improvement projects are being conducted on a shoestring budget, oftentimes involving only the homeowner himself as far as a “construction crew,” there’s considerable demand for the requisite hand power tools that can up the productivity of the DIY house-fixer.

That’s where our ISO 9001:2008 certified non-metallic stamping services come into the fray. If you’re a manufacturer of hand-power tools, you can rely on our vulcanized fibre and phenolic-based materials for electronic power tools to bring home the bacon for your company. As home construction continues to improve; as both individual homeowners and construction companies flock back to the power tools section of their respective local housing materials stores, it’s up to you as a savvy entrepreneur to capture the “bull market moment” and seize what’s rightfully to be had. With decades of pro-experience in manufacturing non-metallic components of all types for power tools, contact us here at New Process Fibre today. Let’s make this happen.

Mylar and PTFE for Frontline Technology: Custom-Made for Aerospace/Defense

Throughout our 85 year history as a company, we’ve seen considerable experience in extruding, slitting, shearing, and stamping customized polymer components for some of the most sophisticated technologies the world has ever known.  More specifically, we’re talking about America’s aerospace/defense industry. With a team of experts including those with extensive background in aerospace military manufacturing, we are confident our materials can meet any defense-related order, be it bulk or prototype. Indeed, some of America’s best-known, front-line defense companies can count New Process Fibre components among the final assembly for their applications.

Our mastery in working with both Mylar and PTFE materials can readily be applied to AS9100 certified aerospace components and assemblies. With a melting point of 327⁰ C and flexible elongation of up to 300% its standard length and/or width, PTFE is one of the primary materials used in seals and bearings for aircraft, as well as a superior insulator for the inevitable cables and complex circuit boards that any modern-day defense application is pocketed with.  Likewise, Mylar has the advantage of being able to effectively insulate and shield electronic circuitry from overheating or unnecessary exposure, making it an ideal tool for washers (and the like) on aerospace and missile systems.

We’re proud of our strong record in the defense industry, and we’re always willing to prove our mettle as one of America’s finest, most reliable source of PTFE and Mylar. When duty calls, New Process soars to the challenge. Contact us today to let us know your specific aerospace/defense needs.

Tufted Chairs Are Identified Among the Top Decorating Trends for 2013

The American furniture industry has taken some tough hits from foreign competitors in the past few years. Pitted against cheap overseas labor, and with the North American tannery industry essentially vanished, it’s taken some time for “Big Furniture” to catch its breath and calibrate its next step.

Traditionally based throughout North Carolina and western Ohio, furniture manufacturers have made a lot of sacrifices to stay competitive in the global game, but it seems to be working. Take for example the La-Z-Boy plant in Dayton, TN, where one proud plant owner boasts, “You can buy our basic recliner today for about the same as what you could in 1973… With all of the increases in the cost of raw materials, labor, energy and other expenses, how many other manufacturers can say that?”

In summary, furniture in North America appears to be holding its own, which is a good thing for companies either building furniture itself, or building parts that eventually find their way into furniture pieces. Because in the meantime, the furniture consumer market in the United States and Canada remains strong as ever. Urged on by fashion magazines with pictures and articles about the latest trends in home décor and interior furnishing design, North Americans spend an enormous collective fortune on furniture from year-to-year.

Speaking of home fashion trends, one of the key “looks” for home interiors this year has been identified as “quiet luxury.” According to Suzanne Dima, editor-in-chief of House & Home, “It’s a new kind of glamour that’s quiet and contained.” And while it’s always nice to be able to splurge on furniture, the look and feel of “quiet luxury” needn’t be achieved by maxing out three credit cards. Dima goes on to note “that it’s the little touches that make the biggest impact, like taking a set of ready-made curtains and sewing a beautiful trim to the bottom or adding custom detail to a sofa skirt.”

One element identified with today’s “quiet luxury” is that of tufted chairs and couches. With patterned plastic buttons that keep furniture materials firmly in place, tufted chairs and couches are an easy way of achieving one of the best new looks in town. Since we at New Process Fibre manufacture the plastic buttons that go into tufted furniture production right here in the U.S.A., we couldn’t be happier that this long-time specialty of ours is now associated with a nationwide fashion trend. “Quiet luxury” is intended to be a look that stands the course of time in homes, just as our own plastic parts for home furniture are built to last for the long run. If you’re a North American furniture manufacturer looking to take advantage of one of 2013’s most-predicted fashion trends, you could do well to contact our sales department here at New Process. When it comes to making buttons for tufted furniture, we’ll be sure to “hook you up.”

Home Is Where the Ideal Kitchen Is

We’re happy as anybody that the U.S. housing market is surging back to life for the first time since late 2008. With residential construction finally up, and with prices in some housing markets finally rising again in value, many homeowners can now safely contemplate the day when they’ll actually be able to sell their homes for a sizable profit. There’s a long ways to go, to be sure, but it doesn’t feel “impossible” anymore.

With that spirit in mind, we thought we’d draw your attention to a blog entry we found particularly interesting. The whole argument of the blog is that you can greatly increase the value of your home by buying top-draw kitchen and other household appliances. When prospective buyers tour a potential residence, one of the first things they look at is how well-furnished is the kitchen with grade-A hardware. The better the refrigerator, the better the dishwasher; the likelier it becomes that the prospective customer will go ahead and make the down-payment. As the blogger writes, and rightly so, “You can have lesser-quality cabinets… but if buyers see that you have high-end appliances, they assume that you’ve done a really nice renovation.” In the home selling section of their website, Century 21 Real Estate readily concurs: “The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don’t have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.”

If you’re a kitchen or home appliance company looking to take advantage of the rising real estate market, you’ve come to the right company. New Process Fibre manufactures both standard and custom spacers for the appliance industry, including for refrigerator door spacers and washing machine hose brackets. We can work with anything ranging from polyethylene, to PTFE, to our signature vulcanized fibre material. We can meet any order, large or small, for any company seeking to restart its home appliances business. We’re also an excellent choice when it comes to cutting and/or stamping non-metallic components for kitchen blenders as well.

If you build it, they will come. If you can offer homeowners quality kitchen appliances, their chances of adding significant value to their homes grow that much higher. Let us here at New Process Fibre help make sure that happens.

The 2013 Detroit Auto Show: American Auto Is Back in Demand

We’re sure you remember that iconic Clint Eastwood spot for Chrysler from last year’s Superbowl, the one where the great American actor predicted that “it was halftime in America” for the American automotive industry, and how it would come roaring back from the brink of where it stood just a few years back. Give a Hollywood legend his due credit. What he said came true in 2012. American automotive sales jumped a full 13.4% throughout the course of last year in comparison with 2011. Chrysler, once labeled a distant third amongst the Big Three automakers, recorded a staggering sales increase of 21% during 2012. After its years in the wilderness; after developing new vehicle platforms that could out-perform and outsell foreign auto competition in almost any category, the American car industry has made a 2nd half comeback of full-steam-ahead proportions.

That being the case, we at New Process Fibre can be proud of the fact that our high-density polyethylene spacer components for seatbelt retainers have played their part in Big Auto’s resurgence. Because of the high-density of its polymer chains, polyethylene is a strong, durable, yet light-weight material that is ideal for the balance of speed and crash-resistance any car worth its wheels should ideally possess. We’ve been providing components for seatbelt retainers for many years now, and we’re confident our handiwork will be found in American-built, American-bought cars for decades and decades to come. To request a quote for what components we can provide your automotive sector business with, contact us today via email or by phone.

For Veterans Returning from Overseas, There’s a Strong Need across America for Their Skills

Every year, tens of thousands of United States Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, and Special Forces veterans return from active duty, back into the civilian sphere. More often than not, many of these former soldiers struggle to re-adapt themselves to the daily grind of supermarkets and strip malls, office cubicles and family dinners. As anyone who’s seen the face of battle can tell you, returning from such an environment as if nothing had ever happened is pretty much close to impossible.

Being proud of and reaching out to our returning veterans seems like a no-brainer to people like us. Clearly not all returning veterans wish to choose a career path in manufacturing, nor would we ever suggest they do. Furthermore, we’re not suggesting that any and all returning veterans could find work under the roof of any one particular company. We’re simply making the point that young, talented former service-members should be aware of solid career options that might otherwise slip by.

Whether or not these veterans served in combat or non-combat capacities, they have special skills that the majority of Americans can scarcely dream of. These are men and women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who have flown advanced F/A-18 Hornet fighters; who have served aboard Los Angeles-class attack submarines; who have performed multiple tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan performing essential maintenance of armored fighting vehicles and MRAPs. They are familiar with using advanced technology under a level of duress most 9-5ers simply cannot fathom. They deserve high-powered, well-paying jobs as part of our nation’s resurgent manufacturing base.

A whole new range of programs is cropping up across the country to help our vets. For instance, a new national database, compiled by GE and by Military Families at Syracuse University, seeks to put a list of veterans with requisite high-tech skills in contact with various manufacturing companies around the nation. The goal is to help get at least 100,000 vets meaningful manufacturing employment by 2014: a bold initiative, sure, but a necessary one for our country. America’s military is the finest in the world. And there are currently somewhere along the lines of 600,000 unfilled jobs across this country in the advanced manufacturing sector. That’s all we’re saying on the subject.


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