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Today’s Manufacturing Climate

November 13, 2017

While manufacturing has been showing positive growth as a whole in 2017, one trend that we have noticed is the closing of many machine shops across the United States.  These closures have led to a lot of new business being up for grabs for the machine shops still in business.  This has led to what in one respect is a “quoting heaven”.  However, this can also be a nightmare when it comes to trying to compete with the prices these potential clients have been paying and expecting to continue to see. Moving forward, their thinking is that they will be seeing the same or similar pricing as from their old supplier.

Machine Shop – Client Relationship

Many customers develop long term relationships with their machine shops for the parts they require.  It takes work by the customer to find a supplier to make a part that meets all specifications at a price that meets their budget.  On the machine shop side, production should always refined to improve production time and limit unnecessary costs.  Once perfected, a relationship is developed between the client and manufacturer that can last years, because both sides know what the specs of the part they need, as well as the price and related production costs. Machine shops should work diligently to improve production. This improves productivity and keeps the cost down for their customer. Yearly labor price increases and frowned upon. Old repetitive jobs occasionally need looking into. It is in the interest of the supplier to seek ways to improve production at their end to keep the work. If the supplier doesn’t study their processes, to realize efficiencies and profitability, that is when the machine shop closes down. However, that client still needs their part, causing them to request quotes from many other shops.

Quote Process

As a machine shop receiving requests for quotes for new parts, we have been noticing a trend where the customer is looking for a much cheaper price than we can offer.  They expect this price because it is what their last supplier offered, but they do not realize that price is due to long term relationship they had with their old manufacturer.  Familiarity with the part when you run the job for years keeps the cost of production down. Yet, by not paying attention and assuming all is good can be devastating. The process is continually refined to see what can go wrong, where time can be saved, and how production can become more efficient.  Materials also cost more today than in the past, but often those changes in prices are not added for customers who have long standing relationships with.  When running a part for the first time you also do not know how it is going to go until you actually make the part.  The process is then refined each production run made, which can lead to costs going down, but is difficult in the quoting process as you must budget for worst case production scenario to make sure you will not lose money on the order. If you win a part to run, be sure you look for better ways to create efficiencies. Then two things happen, you can hold your price, while still making money and not have to raise the price to the customer, next time. This is exactly what the last guy did, except he became complacent, lost track of his overhead, increased material cost, while letting the part continue to run PO after PO, thinking he was making money. When this catches up to a company they are forced to close their doors. Think of the seconds to produce a part as pennies. A second saved is a penny earned. Never lose track of the seconds.

At Mid-West Screw Products we just launched our new website which contains a Quick Quote section for our customer’s convenience.   We are ISO 9001, ARM 9009, AS9100 certified to make sure we can meet all your needs.  Contact us here for more information on the parts we can provide for you.

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Manufacturing For the Medical Industry

October 19, 2017

The medical industry is one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors.  With a large portion of the population getting older, there is much demand for medical devices that will assist in taking care of them.  At Mid-West Screw Products we recently obtained ISO 13485 certification so that we could work with these companies making medical devices and equipment.

ISO 13485

While medical devices can be extremely costly and sophisticated to produce, they also require basic parts in their design.  This is where machine job shops come in.  Medical devices require parts that meet strict specs and tight tolerances.  In one of our previous blogs on screw machining we explained how job shops have the capabilities to make your custom part to your specifications in your desired time frame.  These capabilities allow for multiple options and processes to be completed simultaneously allowing for maximum efficiency.

Obtaining this ISO 13485 certification doesn’t mean that all parts we work on will be used in an actual patient itself.  Many of the parts and projects are for other items and equipment that are medically related. The word medical means more than just surgery, all the equipment in a hospital or medical facility needs to meet certain standards.  Items from wheelchairs, to x-ray machines and devices that monitor vital signals are important parts of medical care, and need to be built to meet certain standards and requirements.  Because of this most companies who make medical equipment and devices will only work with companies who have obtained ISO 13485 specifications.  Having this certification lets them know that machine shop will follow the strict requirements that are required for the medical industry.

As we grow into a global market, the need for certifications and global instructions are more important than ever.  Standards should be the same across the board, and having these certifications in place for different industries makes this the case.  Achieving these standards is not easy, and they shouldn’t be, to insure that best companies are the one doing the work.

Here at Mid-West Screw Products we continue to educate our employees to have the best industry knowledge so we can provide the best service for our customers.  Visit our new website and learn more about our recently obtained Aerospace, AS9100 certification to see how we continue to improve our capabilities.

Mid-West is now AS9100 Certified

September 8, 2017

In today’s global economy, big industries need to know you know the criteria behind what is needed for manufacturing. To do that certifications have been developed to determine the acceptable standards in an industry.  By obtaining these certifications and accreditations, the door is now opened to do business with companies who require them. Here at Mid-West Screw Products we recently obtained AS9100 certification to be able to do business with the aerospace industry, among others.AS9100

The reason to obtain specific certifications is to stand out from your competition in a crowded business landscape.  There are many different types of certifications available for companies to obtain.  One of the most popular and well known is the ISO certification.  ISO certification is like earning your bachelor’s degree.  It is a general program that shows what must be done for you can meet these requirements and standards.   Once you achieve your ISO certification, you can move on to the master’s level of certifications, such as AS9100.  Having this certification, Aero Space, makes you uniquely available to specific types of parts, and opens up more possibilities in this unique and well sought after area.

Going through the steps to earn these certifications can be time consuming and expensive.  That’s why grants are available to help with the financing of this process.  Along with helping companies pay to achieve the certification, assistance is also offered in how to go through this sometimes complex and time consuming endeavor.  In our previous blogs we have discussed more in-depth the grants process, and the benefits of using; local, city, state and federal money that is available if you know where to look for it. The Internet can open this door for you.

For Mid-West traceability in terms of ISO has now been accelerated to the next level of ISO, bring us to having the Aerospace certification.  Areas such as Medical and Arms – which are unique for military, are areas we are now qualified and certified for.  It would have been financially hard to do this without the help of the grants we have been awarded.  This has allowed us to train employees on in areas like how to get paperwork through the plant, and perform work that meets all the requirements within the standards.

At Mid-West Screw Products we are proud to say we not only ISO certified, to its most current standard, we are now ARMS certified, as well as being certified in the Medical industry and have received our AS9100 certification for the Aerospace industry.  This was a long and complex process to achieve these certifications, but with the help of grants, and the understanding that this will provide future possibilities that can help advance our company to these new industry opportunities. This was something we could not pass up.

For more information on our capabilities and how we can assist you, please contact us here.

Introducing Mid-West Screw Product’s New Website

August 16, 2017

The entire Mid-West Screw Products team is proud to announce that our vastly improved new website is live, and ready to be used by our customers.  With an updated design, and information about our capabilities and equipment, along with our certifications and an image gallery, our new site will answer many of the questions you or our customers will have.  Also included are links to our Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, as well as our blog where we are always discussing the latest news around the manufacturing industry. 

Website Features include:

  • Quick Quote – Our brand new Quick Quote section makes getting a quote easier than ever before.  Just input your contact information, let us know if you are interested in our Screw Machining, CNC Turning & Milling, or Brazing applications, and tell us the best way to contact you and we will be able to get a quote over to you.  You have the added ability to add a .pdf, your print, right from that page. This will save our customers time and is a big advantage for them.
  • Certifications – We acquire certifications to be able to provide the best service to our customers.  Currently, we are GMP Trained, ISO 9001:2015 certified, ARM9009 certified, ASS100 REV D. certified and ISO 13485 certified.
  • Image Gallery – Our image gallery has many high-resolution photos of the type of products we manufacture for our customer.  Learn more about the various items for many different industries that we can machine. We pride ourselves in helping our customers with their engineering with cost saving ideas to reduce costs by saving time in production.
  • Blog – The Mid-West Screw Products Blog is one of the best places to get information that really matters about manufacturing and the industry.  Past topics have explored the benefits of grants to grow your business, the overseas ISO problem, and why language should not be a safety barrier in the workplace.

We are excited to have our new website up and running, and believe it will be of great benefit to all our customers.  This continues our strategy of modernizing to provide the best services for our customers.  Contact us here for more information on how we can assist with your next project.

What is Screw Machining?

July 31, 2017

At Mid-West Screw Products we have been providing quality service and parts to our customers since 1946.  Being in business this long, and being successful as well, has led many people to wonder what it is we actually manufacture and how we do it.  In this blog, we will explain what being a precision manufacturer of machined parts that uses screw machine is.screw-machining-thumb

Do You Make Standard Parts for Hardware Stores?

When people think of screw machining, often times that brings up the thought of parts and items that can be found at a hardware store such as nuts, bolts, and various types of screws. Our equipment and capabilities allow us to manufacture parts that you can find in a hardware store. However, we are not the direct supplier to those stores. We perform precision machining work that produces parts that meet specific customer specifications.  If these parts are components for one of their products that could be sold as a repair part to replace a worn or broken part for their assembly, that part might be in the hardware store. Then that company would be the one who takes their part, we make for them, and package it for resale. That is not what we would do. The screw machines we use allows us to make precise cuts for areas like the cutting of a precise “O” ring groove or precisely form a shape on the diameter of a part, that can then be repeated for high volume, for large quantity orders. These parts may not be a stock item that you would just find on a hardware store shelf, but custom precision machined parts.

Benefits of Screw Machining:

The capabilities of a screw machine, first designed to cut metal quickly having shapes and threads, hence the name,  allowing for multiple options and processes to be completed simultaneously. These machines operate on a mechanical method, as opposed to the computer controlled CNC machines, they can be easier to set up.  The production runs are set up on the screw machines using mechanical levers and hand cut steel cams and the changeable gears determine the spindle speed for the machining.  This allows for the production of unusual type nuts or bolts, and assembly components that are unique to meet our customer specifications.

There are different types of screw machines including single spindle and multi spindle machines.  The single spindle contains 1 bar that is going through the machining process at a time while the multi-spindle machine has multiple spindles with bars of material all being fed and worked on simultaneously.   Both machines have different advantages and uses based on the order specifications of the client as well as the volume of parts to produce via the customer’s purchase order.  As production time is very important, and every second counts in manufacturing, having these machine options allows maximum efficiency to be met as well as their on time delivery needs.

With multiple machine options in our plant, at Mid-West Screw Products we have the capabilities to make your custom part to your specifications and in your desired time frame.  Contact us to learn more about the custom parts we can machine for you.

 

Grant Process: Frustrating But Worth It

April 12, 2017

Grants from government organizations and non-profits are a valuable asset for businesses. Previously we’ve discussed the importance of applying for business grants, and how they can help your business grow.  This month we will go more in-depth of the application process, and discuss some of the obstacles that must be surpassed to obtain this valuable grant money.

Business Grants

One thing that we’ve learned going through the grant process is that some are easier than others to win.  Each has a process of steps that must be followed to make sure a company is eligible to receive the grant.  If information is filled out incorrectly or missing, the process may be paused by the grant issuer or even stopped completely.  For some grant processes, the grant people may be receptive to looking over an application before submission to make sure everything is correct.  If this is the case it is very important to take advantage of this to make sure a simple mistake doesn’t stop you from winning the grant.

Overall the process to obtain a grant can be difficult to figure out in the big picture.  Many times completing one step, can lead to more questions that will delay completing the next step of the process.  We have experienced this at Mid-West, where completing one step has led to another, when we thought completing that step was the end of the process.  While this is frustrating, it is important not to give up, or stop in the middle of the grant process.  Money is available as long as you stay diligent and keep working to complete the process.

For training certification grants, sometimes you also have to pay a little up front as you go through the process; with the understanding you will get the money back down the line from the grant.  Funds being given to you are not guaranteed, and sometimes the delay can take days, weeks or months.  Also sometimes you have until the end of the calendar year to complete the grant application process, since the money may no longer be available in the next calendar year.   If you are patient though, the rewards will be worth it to your business.

At Mid-West Screw Products we have won many grants over the years to help us grow our business.  We understand how beneficial they are and are always looking to take advantage of them to make sure we are equipped to provide for our customers to the best of our ability.  Reach out to us for more information on how we can meet your machining needs.

The Trend Towards 3D Printing in Manufacturing

March 16, 2017

In the manufacturing industry, one process that has been rising in use and in popularity is 3D printing.  Many articles have been written about the ease and quality of 3D printing, and here at Mid-West Screw Products we have looked more into the value of it, and when and where it can be best utilized.

3D Printing and Manufacturing

One of the things we have found is that 3D printing and the creation of models is great for prototyping, but it may not be feasible in the real world for large production of parts.  When it comes to making an example of what a part should look like, a 3D produced part could be helpful to show an engineer, compared to a blueprint which can lead to confusion if any information is wrong on it.  With very sophisticated parts, a few options can be made easily utilizing 3D printing, which is not the case with regular machine work.

For large scale orders, machining still appears to be the better option for a variety of reasons.  Form, fit, and function are very important when it comes to production, and machining does a great job in these areas.  Very large orders also will take a long time to produce using 3D printing, making machining the better option when you have a client who requires a large amount of parts, and more than one production run.  Speed and accuracy are always important to customers when they make a part order, and machine production is still the best option to meet those requirements.

At Mid-West Screw we have been providing excellent customer service for our clients for over 71 years.  Our equipment is state of the art, and allows us to machine sophisticated parts to the customer’s specification.  Please contact us to learn more about how we can meet your manufacturing needs.

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