Building Value Through Supply Chain


By Don Sherrill

It is exciting to build and launch a new or improved product. As drawings are developed, companies define what they want parts to do, how they function, budget parameters, and the quality standards necessary. Partnering with manufacturers in the supply chain early on can add long-term value in ways you may not have considered.

Match function and process. Discussing your vision for form and function with your supply chain partner adds value by tapping into their expertise in manufacturing processes. If you have a problem or question, manufacturing partners may suggest materials, processes, or design adjustments that deliver parts that function the way you need more efficiently.

Holistic view. Design engineers may focus on individual manufacturing steps and look for different vendors to meet defined stamping requirements, heat treat specifications and finishing standards. Metal manufacturers that provide vertical integration – all those manufacturing services in one location – analyze all steps from start to finish. They add value by managing production in one place efficiently and effectively to meet the quality standards you define.

Inventory management. A surprising value from manufacturing partners can be optimizing your inventory. Manufacturers that provide a single service (i.e. stamping) will likely produce in large runs to achieve your target price. That volume of product adds to your inventory. However, by partnering with a manufacturer that offers all steps of the manufacturing process from one company (i.e. stamping, heat treating, finishing) you can obtain just the right amount of completed parts to match your needs. You don’t have to stockpile partially completed parts in inventory to save costs and just-in-time production balances costs with revenue. By maintaining little to no inventory, design changes are less costly because transition to a new version will not create a large volume of scrapped parts.

Partnering with trusted manufacturers that understand your products and problems and provide integrated services that meet your supply and quality standards can deliver real value to your bottom line.

Anodize with Communication and Craftsmanship


By Andre Papineau

The first step in anodizing aluminum that is often overlooked is communicating the objective for the part. What does the part do; why is anodize required; are there areas that are critical to the function of the final part; is a certain anodize type important? Talking over these objectives will help refine the anodizing process and cost estimates.

Careful planning also requires clear and concise drawings. The more complicated the part, the greater the importance of clear drawings. When drawings or plans indicate exactly where anodize areas should be masked there is less confusion about the time it will take to prepare the part. The better drawings communicate your intentions, the more precise cost estimates can be.

Masking can often be a very laborious and time consuming job and can represent more than 70% of anodize costs. When Qualtek receives a quote request, at least three sets of eyes review the drawings. Sometimes we have the part in hand and can match drawings to the part and identify any questions about the process. The more information we have, the more accurately we can estimate the time it will take to complete the masking and anodizing process.

Once the plans are reviewed and quotes approved, anodizing the part according to the plans takes true craftsmanship. Qualtek’s expert finishing team applies plugs, tape, or paint to precisely match drawings. Their craftsmanship earned Qualtek the nickname of “Best Anodizer in Colorado”.

The key to getting high quality, anodize parts at the best price requires communication of objectives, clear drawings, and expert craftsmanship. For questions about anodizing or any of our finishing process, please contact me at (719) 598-3394.

Really, Really Right

Mike Williams

By Mike Williams

Most Tool and Die folks know about Wire EDM. But do you know when it is right for YOU?

  • Wire EDM is precise. When you need tolerance to be within 0.0001″, Wire EDM can get you there.
  • Wire EDM can create tight inside radius. When your part requires a feature that is simply too detailed for conventional lathe or mill machining, Wire EDM can deliver an inside radius of .005″.
  • Wire EDM can create an ultra-fine finish. When you need a finish that meets  32-surface-finishcriteria, Wire EDM can finish it.

When precision, tight inside radius, or ultra-fine finish is important for your conductive material part, Wire EDM might be your best solution. Unfortunately, we sometimes see drawings where the specified machining process cannot deliver the tolerance required and problems develop. Don’t get yourself in a tight spot. Talk to us when you are planning the part for recommendations.

One more thing you might not know about Wire EDM — Qualtek does it! If you work with Qualtek for Stamping, Tool & Die, Heat Treating, or Finishing, you may not realize Wire EDM is one of our specialties. Contact me for any questions you have on Wire EDM.

Conversation On A Plane Spreads The Mission Of Blue Star

adt-story-10-16On a recent flight to Denver, Chris Fagnant, President of Qualtek Manufacturing, struck up a conversation with Glen Smith, Director of Dealer Operations for ADT, the home and business security services company. Chris asked how ADT recycled their old security devices and suddenly the two businessmen were discussing how Blue Star Recyclers creates jobs for people with autism and other disabilities by recycling electronics.

They also found a shared interest in security when Chris mentioned how Blue Star Recyclers shreds data devices to protect personal information. Glen was so impressed he shared Blue Star’s story through a newsfeed with the ADT Authorized Dealer Group nationwide.

Thanks for spreading the word about Blue Star Recyclers and helping to create more jobs for people with disAbilities!