Value-Added Manufacturing: Parts Marking, Kitting, and Custom Packaging

Value-Added Manufacturing

Value-added manufacturing transforms engineered products into goods that save you time and money. It’s different than fabrication, the process of manufacturing a product like a gasket from a semi-finished material like an extrusion. By outsourcing fabrication and leveraging a vendor’s value-added services, you can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Consider the following example. Instead of paying your employee to cut and bond gaskets, you outsource the gasket fabrication. If you’re using a relatively expensive employee to cut-and-bond, you’ll save money on labor costs. You’ll also reduce material waste from mis-cuts and improve material yields. Yet outsourced fabrication can do even more.

Value-added manufacturing like parts marking, kitting, and custom packaging make your products faster, easier, and less expensive to order, receive, stock, pick, and install. That’s true for gaskets as well as for thermal and acoustic insulation. Even rubber floor mats provide an opportunity for added value.

Let’s take a closer look. (more…)

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Better Bonded Gaskets for Sealing and Insulation

Better bonded gaskets improve quality and perceptions of quality. They reduce labor costs and support sales, too.

Bonded Gaskets

Finished gaskets need strong bonds to provide reliable sealing and insulation. In applications where rubber gaskets are visible, bonds that look better also suggest higher product quality. Buyers of specialty vehicles, commercial ovens, and electrical enclosures (just to name a few) don’t want to see bonded gaskets that look like they’re ready to pull apart in the corners or that need touch-ups.

Even in applications (such as HVAC systems) where finished gaskets are hidden, failure is expensive. Replacing the rubber seal in an air conditioning unit may cost more than you realize. In addition to paying for a replacement part, there are direct labor costs. Indirect costs including traveling to and from the job site, scaling ladders, pulling and replacing panels, and completing paperwork. Over time, it all adds up.

Gasket bonding may seem simple, but it’s skilled labor. You can buy your bonded gasket equipment, but machines don’t come with expertise. Even in an age of digital manufacturing, some activities still require craftsmanship. Plus, some bonding methods require cuts that you don’t have the equipment to make. You can try using guillotine saws or hand tools, but you can’t match water jet cutting. (more…)

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Vendor Consolidation is Right for Rubber Products

Vendor ConsolidationVendor consolidation is a procurement strategy where you reduce the number of vendors that your company buys from. Businesses don’t want to become overly dependent on a single vendor or a handful of vendors, but there are costs – and risks – from having too many suppliers. There are also benefits to lowering the number of vendors that you do business with. Let’s take a closer look. (more…)

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Three Ways to Solve Your Skilled Labor Shortage

Skilled Labor ShortageDoes your manufacturing company have a skilled labor shortage? You’re not alone if you do. Demand for manufactured products is high, but the unemployment rate is low. Time isn’t on your side either. Today, 30% of the skilled workers in manufacturing are older than age 55. These Baby Boomers aren’t ready to retire yet, but they won’t stay on your factory floor forever.

Meanwhile, many of today’s students are choosing college or university instead of the skilled trades. Maybe it’s because they think that manufacturing jobs are dangerous, dirty, or boring. Maybe it’s because they’d rather sit at a computer in an air-conditioned office than stand on a concrete floor next to a machine. Some may remember how family members lost jobs to plants closings or down-sizing.

What’s the solution to your skilled labor shortage then? Do you need to wait for new programs to provide workers? Will automation eventually solve your problems instead? These solutions may sound promising, but you can’t keep waiting if you want to keep your customers happy today. You need a solution now. The good news is that you can get it from your supply chain if you know where to look.

Let’s consider your options. (more…)

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Hot Splicing vs. Vulcanizing for Bonded Gaskets

Bonded GasketsHot splicing uses heat, pressure, and a film splice to join the ends of rubber profiles into bonded gaskets. This joining technique uses either a conventional heating source or infrared (IR) light and polyethylene (PE) film. Hot splicing creates strong bonds at the molecular level and generally provides better results than vulcanization, a bonding technique that uses uncured rubber instead of a film splice.

Choosing the best way to bond rubber gaskets can be a complex decision, however. The profile material is just one of many considerations. You also need to consider the size and shape of the seal, production quantities and costs, and the way that lengths of rubber are cut. In addition, it’s important to inspect and install your gaskets properly to ensure reliable sealing and prevent avoidable waste.

Is hot splicing better than vulcanizing for the rubber gaskets that you need? Let’s take a closer look. (more…)

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