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.  

When It Comes to Adopting Contract Manufacturing Technology and Adding New Metal Stamping Equipment, We Continue to Lead the Way In Our Industry

At Pentaflex, we continue to grow our company by adding new equipment and adopting the latest technologies for contract manufacturing of metal stampings and assemblies. We try our best to stay ahead of manufacturing technology trends and continue to install the latest and best state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the highest quality for our customers. Apparently, we’re doing something right: Many of our customers are repeat customers who come to us from around the world.

 

Adopting new technology is something we’ve never been afraid to do in the 44 years we’ve been in business, providing heavy gauge metal press stampings and assemblies. Pentaflex has been unique in our industry in that we’ve always used high tonnage hydraulic presses as part of the production process. This has allowed us to take on heavy gauge, deep drawn and highly complex parts that many of our competitors decline to quote. We believe it’s a good thing to be unique and on the cutting edge in our industry, and the latest technology and equipment has helped us be there. A recent article from Inc.com says, “Tech adoption is a huge factor in becoming an industry leader… there’s no room at the top for those unwilling to adapt to cutting-edge technologies.”

 

Another business leadership report, this one from Entrepreneur.com, says companies should “have the technology and corporate culture needed to ensure it will have the most productive workforce in its industry and the best interaction with its marketplace.” The Pentaflex team is dedicated to providing superior service to our customers and a quality product at a competitive price.

 

We’re proud of our accomplishments throughout the past four-and-a-half decades and, more recently, the addition of new equipment and technology as part of our expansion that was completed last year. A new press machine and other equipment, HASS, VERSON, CAM bracket cell and new CNC machines are installed and operating at our Springfield, Ohio, USA facility. We also launched our new website last year, taking full advantage of online communication channels to enhance the way we communicate with our customers, old and new, and to reach more prospective customers. (We wrote a blog post about the new website in October 2015.)

 

We’d be happy to tell you more specifics about how we’re serving our customers and how we’re leading the way in adopting new technology and using the latest equipment available to manufacture metal stampings and assemblies. Give us a call at 937-325-5551 or contact us through email at sales@pentaflex.com.

Slowdown Coming for the Trucking and Rail Industry

With low fuel costs, you would think the transportation industry would be seeing big gains. But, unfortunately the opposite is true as a slowing economy and lower freight volumes lead to more trucks and railcars being available.

The trucking industry is responding by reducing workers. ABF Freight Systems recently reduced its workforce by 4% because of the slow economic environment. The predictions for 2016 were optimistically cautious a few months ago but have turned to outright caution even though trucking executives generally expect a stronger second half of the year. But, their outlook for this year is described as uncertain.

The slowdown in freight volume leads to shippers having an easier time finding trucks to hire. This puts them in the driver’s seat to negotiate for better terms. It is still unclear at this time the exact factors that are causing the drop in freight volume. Possibly reasons include excessive inventories, a manufacturing slowdown, reduced demand from the energy sector, or lagging retail sales of winter clothing and equipment due to the warmest December on record.

Workforce reduction isn’t the only belt-tightening measure for the shipping and transportation industry. In response to the lagging economy, new truck builds are being reduced. Truck users may be replacing older models with newer ones but are not buying new trucks outright. Orders are down and layoffs might be coming for OEMs.

The impact of the economy on the trucking industry doesn’t hurt us as greatly as it would other OEMs. The commercial truck components we manufacturer are just one of the many components in our portfolio. Diversification across a wide range of industries and strong capabilities enable us to maintain a solid manufacturing base in uncertain times.

Manufacturing Voices Were Heard By U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives In April

Manufacturing advocates met with legislative representatives at the eight-annual NTMA/PMA One Voice Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Unified as One Voice, the PMA (Precision Metalforming Association) and the NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association) took advantage of this opportunity to be heard on Capitol Hill.

Pentaflex President and PMA Vice Chairman David Arndt was in attendance at the conference and helped to convey important messages about the major issues facing U.S. manufacturing interests right now to representatives from the U.S. Senate and Congress. Dave met with Senator Rob Portman and Congressional Representatives Jim Jordan, Brad Wenstrup and Marcy Kaptur. The three key messages that were promoted by the PMA representatives and other manufacturing advocates at the meeting were related to tax reform issues, training and recruitment for manufacturing jobs, and regulatory issues.

According to the One Voice newsletter published by the NTMA and the PMA, the specific message to Congress about regulatory issues was, Federal regulators must comply with small business review procedures and honestly analyze how their rules impact the economy. Congress should work to block or repeal unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful EPA, OSHA, and NLRB regulations while working to reform and make transparent the regulatory process. The detailed requests related to regulatory issues were designed to stimulate manufacturing in America, including a request for the EPA to withdraw ozone, power plant and water rules, plus a request that regulators should comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), Administrative Procedures Act, and Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The message to Congress about manufacturing jobs was a request to support manufacturing in America by supporting workforce development, job training, recruitment, and placement programs. Additionally, the manufacturing representatives and advocates asked Congress to support skills certifications and national industry-recognized employee credentialing, in addition to expanding the local involvement of small/medium sized manufacturing in the implementation of WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act).

Regarding tax reform, the main message was, Dont leave small businesses paying the bill! Tax reform is requested for all manufacturers both C-corporations and pass-through businesses. The One Voice newsletter reports, The only way to grow the economy is through a simplified code that encourages domestic investment with a globally competitive rate.

Please stay tuned to this blog in the upcoming months. Well continue to keep you posted about any progress made as a result of the One Voice Legislative Conference. As a contract manufacturer of metal stampings and assemblies, Pentaflex supplies the commercial truck, automotive, medical and off-road industries, in addition to other manufacturing industries, and were directly impacted by — and invested in — the future of manufacturing in America.