Making Manufacturing Day Count

While the entire month of October is designated as Manufacturing Month, each year there is one day set aside to focus on this sector. On Friday, October 6th, Pentaflex celebrated Manufacturing Day by hosting 180 middle and high school students.

STEM students in shop tour

Students learn about manufacturing processes

The children came from our local Career Technology Center and our new STEM school, so they already had a good grasp on technical concepts and the manufacturing sector overall. We invited them to tour our facility, walking them through each stage of the business, from assembly to delivery.

While these students are fortunate to have access to a STEM-focused curriculum, being able to see how things work up close offers a whole new perspective. More than ever, as we face a shortage of skilled workers who are interested in pursuing industrial careers, it’s important that we expose children to hands-on careers.

This introduction to the shop floor shows students the many opportunities open to them within the manufacturing sector. There are so many high-tech options available now thanks to advancements in AI and robotics, making it an exciting time to join this growing field.

As a metal stamper for complex components, we understand the value that manufacturing brings to the United States economy. Through our Manufacturing Day activities and other community efforts, we aim to share this knowledge with the general public whenever possible. We are pleased to work with local schools to boost manufacturing exposure and inform young people about the many exciting career options available to them once they graduate.

Encouraging Women in STEM Through Manufacturing Internships

In recent years, there has been an overall decline in the number of people entering manufacturing, although there is an increase in manufacturing jobs.

With a decline in skilled workers entering the market, companies are having to find ways to attract good talent. One way Pentaflex is doing this is by hiring and training interns. Not only can students get valuable experience working on the job, they can also get a better understanding of the many opportunities available to them.

Female Manufacturing Intern

Intern Claire Lavoie standing with Director of Quality Jim Zerkle

This summer, we worked with Claire Lavoie, an intern from Ohio State University. After completing her freshman year she joined us to experience all aspects of the shop floor.

Claire worked in our Stamping Department, the Assembly Department, and in Quality Control. Near the end of her time with us, she was assigned several projects to work on which involved data gathering and analysis. Claire led a team through a problem solving exercise which resulted in her assisting in the design of a gauge to be used in the Stamping Department. This new gauge will ensure better quality for parts used in an automated assembly process.

Apprenticeships are the perfect way for companies to find quality workers and to increase gender diversity in the workforce by reaching out to women. Historically, manufacturing has been a male-dominated industry, but with more women entering the STEM fields, companies may have a better time closing the skills gap.

Attracting younger people is key to manufacturing. Getting the word out that manufacturing is no longer what it used to be means letting young adults explore the many career paths manufacturing offers.

To learn more about our career openings and hiring efforts, please call us at 937-325-5551. We look forward to hearing from you!

Filling the Trucking Talent Gap with Autonomous Vehicles

There are 1.7 million truck drivers in the country. But more are needed!

From retail and ecommerce deliveries, to garbage collection, to even manoeuvring difficult terrains like underground mines, almost every aspect of civilized life requires powerful big-rigs to come to the rescue.

The Trucking Talent Gap

Unfortunately, trucking has developed an image that is turning away the next generation of workers and value driven Millennials from a career in this crucial field.

The list of complaints is long, and for-hire truckers have it rough. They must contend with issues like unavoidable traffic, long hours on the road with few rest areas, and less time at home with their families.

This has led to a talent gap in the trucking sector, with many jobs going unfilled. While many firms have been offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives to drive hiring efforts, the number of applicants is still falling short.

Autonomous Technology to the Rescue

To fill the gap, self-driving technology is being explored for trucking fleets. While autonomous passenger cars have been getting a lot of attention, autonomous trucks have already been hitting the road to research their capabilities. Embark, Amazon, Daimler and the automotive stalwarts are all toeing the same line.

Currently, the self-driving technology is being tested alongside human drivers to ensure safety. Autonomous trucking will in most cases identify obstacles that dozing eyes miss, provide long haul relief to exhausted drivers and improve the quality of their lives. It is in no way ready to completely replace human drivers.

Most prototypes that have seen road action come heavily equipped with sensors and cameras that can masterfully handle darkness, glare, fog and natural hurdles. Added benefits of running on electricity and constant relay of performance feedback for fuel optimization are also in the works.

All in all, companies are eager to invest in trucking and return the sector to its former strength. This time with the help of technology.

Pentaflex has been the supplier of choice for customers who require complex, heavy gauge deep drawn components and sub-assemblies for their big-rigs and trucks. We believe that the disruption on the horizon is one that will positively impact trucking and the many industries served by this sector.

MEMA Comments on Proposed Changes to NAFTA

The new US administration has brought with it a number of proposed changes. One of these changes involves updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

As the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) represents 1,000 vehicle and component manufacturers and suppliers, the organization aims to educate policy makers on the current role of NAFTA in the supply chain.

According to MEMA, the vehicle manufacturing sector is the largest of the US industrial segment, employing more than 871,000 Americans directly. When factoring indirect and supporting jobs, the number rises to 4.26 million jobs supported by motor vehicle parts manufacturing.

This is a major factor to consider when reorganizing trade deals and strategies. For this reason, MEMA has submitted comments to the US trade representative highlighting the benefits NAFTA has had in the development and growth of North American motor vehicle supply chains.

Currently, suppliers in this segment depend on an international network of vendors and customers to maintain their competitive edge. Even within individual companies, there are often multiple plants located in each of the NAFTA countries. This freedom of trade and commerce has allowed US manufacturers to thrive, which has led to increased employment and productivity within the US.

This is an exciting time for the vehicle design and manufacturing sector, as researchers continue to innovate with new processes and technologies. Autonomous vehicles aren’t the only advancement – though strides are being made in this area – collision avoidance systems, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, fuel efficiency and alternative fuels are all important developments that rely on strong economic support. Keeping costs low by working with other nations allows US manufacturers to invest more heavily in these high-tech improvements.

The role of MEMA is to foster growth among vehicle manufacturers, and NAFTA has been an integral component of this mission. While the Association supports efforts to strengthen US manufacturing, they want to be sure that all sides are well considered before action is taken. This is a delicate proceeding that could potentially impact millions of workers. As Pentaflex is a manufacturer of heavy vehicle components, we are monitoring this topic to see how everything plays out.

Would changes to NAFTA impact your business? Feel free to discuss this topic with us on Twitter. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

What Manufacturers Need to Know About Changing NOx Requirements

Reducing harmful emissions from engine exhaust has been a goal for years, with new designs and energy sources constantly being introduced to combat pollution. Recently, numerous government agencies petitioned the EPA for stricter regulations surrounding nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions.

Specifically, the EPA regulations would target heavy duty on-road trucks, buses, and other similar vehicles. The last such NOx standard revision was put in place in the year 2010, and limited NOx emissions  for truck engines  to 0.2 grams per brake horsepower-hour. The next set of revised regulations would be implemented in 2024. The California Air Rescue Board wants to see the NOx limits reduced to 0.02, which would be a 90% reduction.

But lowering certain emissions is easier said than done – especially since NOx is just one of the pollutants that regulators seek to decrease.  Current recommendations call for lowering CO2 emissions – to create an engine that meets both of these goals is very difficult for engineers. In addition, manufacturers are tasked with boosting fuel efficiency. Running engines at a higher temperature boosts efficiency but also increases the amount of NOx that’s released, so there are a number of challenges to work around in order to meet proposed regulations.

Notably, installing selective non-catalytic reduction or selective catalytic reduction systems can limit emissions. So it is possible to produce or retrofit cleaner engines on heavy equipment, it’s just a matter of updating current systems and finding the right options for each situation. With the proposed nation-wide regulations on the way, it will be interesting to see what other developments are considered to solve this problem.

Pentaflex President David Arndt Elected 2017 Chairman of PMA

Pentaflex is proud to announce that our President and CEO, David Arndt, was recently elected Chairman of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA). The election was held on March 11 at PMA’s annual meeting in Dana Point, California. Big accomplishments like this don’t happen every day, and we are proud of this distinction.

What is the PMA?

The PMA is the metalforming industry’s primary association. The Precision Metalforming Association is highly regarded for its innovative tactics and has a history that is long and distinguished, dating back to 1913 in Cleveland.

The PMA comprises almost 900 member companies. The large association encourages excellence in competitiveness and cost-effectiveness amongst its innovative members via tools that include networking, statistics, advocacy, trade shows, and seminars.

What Does This News Mean?

Chairman of Precision Metalforming Association

President David Arndt Elected Chairman of PMA

At Ohio-based Pentaflex, we cheer one another on as metalformers. Thus, the official announcement of our President as the new chair of an association that our company so proudly belongs to is very exciting. David will lead the national association for the 2017-2018 term year.

As Chairman, David will have the opportunity to apply the strong skillset he uses to drive Pentaflex forward, now with an even larger influence as he presides over the Precision Metalforming Association. Being trusted in such an important role is impressive, and we commend our President for his fantastic achievement.

Continuing to Provide Quality

At Pentaflex, we will continue to deliver top-quality metal stamping services to customers, during David’s term as chair and beyond. For over 40 years we have been a provider of precise metal components for a range of metal stamping industries, such as agriculture, medical, energy, and automotive.

With an established reputation for providing value-laden products and the recent appointment of our President to the esteemed PMA, Pentaflex stands strong in 2017.

With New Redesign, a Trucking Industry Workhorse Meets New Standards

Big semi-truck models don’t undergo full redesigns as fast as cars. So, the 2018 model of the Freightliner Cascadia from Daimler Trucks will be the first full redesign since it was introduced to the industry in 2007. For over 10 years this model has been an industry staple.

The new design features improvements inside and out. The aerodynamically sloped body and one–piece windshield offers a sleek look and an 8% gain in fuel efficiency over the 2007 model. Body features such as longer side extenders, lower chassis fairings, drive wheel covers, and wheel fairings all add aerodynamic features that help save fuel. Daimler’s Detroit Brand diesel engine powers the rig.

Attracting and retaining drivers is a major industry issue. With this redesign, interior noise is reduced with improved door seals and there are more amenities for divers. Options include a 2-seat dinette, a Murphy-style bed, ambient LED lighting, multiple power outlets for electronics, and bigger storage and appliance options. The cab will appeal to truckers who travel long hauls.

Connectivity and electronics offer serious improvements for managing data and safety. The connectivity system provides a “virtual technician” remote diagnostic service and analytical tools for information on fuel efficiency as well as safety performance. With over-the-air engine parameter programming and remote engine and other powertrain electronic controller update ability, the company says this is the biggest electronic device on the road.

Collision avoidance with automatic braking, lane departure warnings, and blind spot monitoring add to the safety value for truckers and all others on the road. Improved performance combined with high-level safety features will make this redesign a popular choice for both trucking companies and drivers.

As a leading manufacturer of metal components used throughout the trucking industry, we are excited to see new technologies and innovative systems improving fuel efficiency and safety in these big vehicles.

For more information on the Freightliner Cascadia, read the full article here.

Meet Pentaflex at FABTECH 2016

It’s that time of year again when the leaves fall, the weather cools, and those in the metal forming, fabricating, finishing, and welding industries get together at FABTECH, a leading event for metal manufacturers.  Attending FABTECH is a yearly event for us where we look forward to connecting with other industry professionals as well as customers and suppliers.

Taking place Nov. 16-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, the show will host 30,000 attendees and 1,500 exhibitors in over 550,000 net sq. ft of floor space. It offers the opportunity to explore the newest technologies and view innovative products designed specifically for the forming and fabrications industries.

The value of FABTECH is wide ranging–From the educational seminars and expert-led presentations to the high level of technically advanced tools that solve today’s challenges. In the competitive atmosphere that is manufacturing, an event such as FABTECH brings a high level of technology and new ideas to help manufacturers keep a competitive edge on their business.

Since 1981, FABTECH has been growing to offer a comprehensive event to serve all aspects of metal fabrication. With live product demos and peer-to-peer networking opportunities FABTECH is on the cutting edge of the industry’s next big innovations to help all of us broaden our perspectives and prepare to take on the future.

With over 40 years in manufacturing metal components, we truly know the benefits of attending a show such as FABTECH.  With customers in industries such as agriculture, automotive, commercial trucking, energy, and medical equipment who rely on the highest quality metal stampings, Pentaflex is committed to a future-based concept of seeking out the best information and tools to continue providing our customers with the best the market can offer.

We hope to see you at the show!

Recapping Manufacturing Day Events This October

We aren’t just a company. We are a part of the communities we serve—the local community and the manufacturing community. It isn’t often that those two groups come together but they do on Manufacturing Day. We feel it is important to participate and open our doors to show off our skills and what manufacturing means to us.

This year Manufacturing Day took place on Oct. 7th. Since its inception we have been involved in hosting events and showing the community what we do. There is no better way to explain something than to demonstrate it. That’s what Manufacturing Day is all about—onsite experiences. Manufacturing is an important industry and Manufacturing Day lets us showcase our skills and abilities.

Manufacturing Demonstrations

Machinery Demonstrations for MFG Day 2016

This year we hosted 270 middle schoolers at our facility. They were given a tour of the plant, demonstrations of the machinery and equipment, and an opportunity to discuss manufacturing’s importance to our local and national economies. As manufacturing is ingrained in our Ohio history and culture, this is a way to celebrate all that has made our state a leader in innovation and industry.

By opening our facility to middle school students we hope to influence them and show them what a career in manufacturing is all about. Many students, and adults, haven’t seen the technological influence that has shaped the current industry. Hi-tech computers and automation are integral factors in today’s manufacturing operations.

We believe in events such as this to promote our industry and its benefits for our country, while (hopefully!) inspiring the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

Understanding How Important We Are in the Trucking Industry

It may sound boastful to say that we make the trucking industry safer but it isn’t. All equipment is only as safe as its parts. As we are a major supplier of parts that go into commercial trucks we can confidently say that we are helping to keep the trucking industry, all who travel the roads, a little bit safer.

The realization that what we do has an impact on people inside and outside of an industry is something that is often overlooked. At Pentaflex we stress this fact to everyone in the company—that it is important for each of us to remember that the parts we supply are vital components in a larger piece of equipment. For example, the axle and brake components we make for the trucking industry must be of the highest quality so that the brakes will function properly.

Our capabilities for stamping metal makes a difference. We ensure that each part meets the highest quality standards of the industry and more importantly the high standards we set for ourselves. We ensure that our quality is top-notch so that safety and peace of mind are built into each component we make.

 

 

So, in addition to manufacturing quality parts we also add in a level of safety that might be missing in components made by other companies. With each employee understanding the role that our parts play in the industries we serve, you can be sure that all parts are made to the highest standards—ours.