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Ardel Engineering & Manufacturing Has a New Blog & Website!

July 1, 2015

Check out our new website & our new blog! Make sure to update your bookmarks!

The Future of Manufacturing

June 3, 2015
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When you think about the manufacturing industry, what comes to mind?  Some people reflect on the days of the past, when the U.S. economy seemed full of countless opportunities. Others remain hopeful in imagining a future that encompasses a revival of such. If you agree with the latter, you’ll be surprised to learn that the time for a manufacturing comeback is now… right now.

With more manufacturing companies emerging to produce the goods that make our world go around, there is also a growing need for skillful employees. Unfortunately, the demand to fill these jobs is severely unmet.

The Problem: A Massive Skills Gap

A recent report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute cautions that in just 10 years from now in 2015, there could be a massive skills gap that may result in nearly 2 million manufacturing jobs being vacant. Some may wonder how this industry could encounter such a dramatic imbalance. The report contributes several key factors that may be at fault when considering this shortage.

Among these are: accelerated industry growth, retirement, and a lack of training. The report also notes that during the time period between 2003 and 2013, many manufacturers cut back on critical training opportunities.

The Future of Manufacturing: Creating Solutions

While the manufacturing industry has had its ups and downs, there is now an abundance of promising job opportunities for those who may be interested (and qualified). Recent initiatives have been put into place by local government entities, schools, and manufacturing facilities alike to prepare the next league of manufacturing personnel.  These initiatives aim to provide hands-on training and awareness.

Take for instance, the unlikely collaboration between Milwaukee Area Technical College and the local Department of Corrections. In a new program, the two partnered to teach offenders to become CNC (computer numerical control) operators.  In this program, 48 offenders will learn the trade during a time period of 14 weeks.

Additional programs are emerging that primarily focus on educating high school and college students.  ManuFest is a new expo that aims to bridge the gap between students and manufacturing.  The fair recently held its second event at Souderdon Area High School this past March. Eager students had the chance to meet with company reps, explore the latest machinery, and learn about what career paths exist in the field.

Programs like this help to change the face of manufacturing by bringing it into the 21st century. It draws a connection between technology and the products around it.

At Ardel Engineering, we have worked with students, who have reached out to us, providing them information for theses and more. In addition, we offer work-study and shadowing opportunities at our facilities for students.  It’s our way of showing our commitment to our local community, as well as our optimism for the future of the manufacturing industry.  We know that with the right amount of effort, we can do our part to promote growth and provide solutions to help fill in the gap.

When Is Swiss Machining the Right Choice?

May 6, 2015

Automotive, consumer electronics, and IT are among some of the most popular applications.

Swiss screw machines are a type of automated lathe capable of machining turned parts. It was invented in Switzerland to manufacture precision components, and is operated by mounting a work piece on a rotary slide. These machines are better than their counterpart, Turret screw machines, which are operated by mounting the work piece on a vertical ram and working it into the lathe.

Of the two varieties of screw machines, the Swiss variety is far better suited for machining modern precision components. Swiss screw machines themselves are designated into two types—CNC and automatic.

Automatic and CNC Swiss Screw Machines

Automatic Swiss screw machines are operated with a disc cam that rotates tools to the work piece bay. The work piece is held in place by a collet. The tools are moved by the disc cams in a radial motion, which also changes the positon of the headstock to account for any longitudinal discrepancies that may occur with the work-piece. This screw machine also features very close spindle collets, which controls the amount of deflected debris.

The CNC Swiss screw machine, also known as a CNC turning machine or lathe, is operated by a CNC unit rather than a disc cam. This allows increased direction and additional operations on the same piece in a shorter time period. CNC machines also allow greater precision and speed than automatic Swiss screw machines, rotating a part at up to 10,000 RPM and an accuracy level of 0.0002 to 0.0005 inches.

Benefits to Automotive and Electronics, Among Others

swiss-machined-piece-1-resizedSwiss screw machines are widely used for manufacturing precision products for the aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics industries, including many others. This is because Swiss screw machines offer faster turnaround. Automatic Swiss machines can typically take two to three days before they are fully set up for production, whereas the CNC types can be ready for a new project in a day or less.

The rapid turnaround time for CNC Swiss screw machines also make them ideal for prototyping, since a part can be precision machined and ready for full production faster than with other methods like stamping. These machines help increase efficiency throughout your project, especially since they can be run as constantly as you need them, even over 24-hour periods.

The largest advantage to CNC Swiss Screw machines is the addition of the back working or sub-spindle along with cross hole and milling capabilities.  Small (traditional mill shaped) parts can be very effectively produced with this equipment. Adding cross holes, flats and slots in a single operation is what really separates Swiss machines from Automatics.  (add picture I sent?)

Swiss Screw Machining at Ardel Engineering

At Ardel, we are industry leaders in CNC Swiss screw machining techniques. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to handle your project quickly and efficiently in order for you to get your product to market as soon as possible. Most importantly, our machines, coupled with our industry leading expertise, ensure reliable high quality in every product that leaves our facility.

Visit us today to browse our capabilities, and contact us for any questions with your next precision machining project.

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Ardel Engineering: ITAR Registered

April 15, 2015

What is ITAR? An Introduction

If your company is involved in the development of products for export, or imports certain items, you may have heard the term ITAR mentioned. ITAR or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations is a series of controls designed to restrict and regulate the export of products with defense industry applications.

The Department of State oversees ITAR and determines which items and services according the United States Munitions List (USML). Its purpose is preventing unclassified defense-related items from falling into the hands of unfriendly governments or groups.

ITAR has several implications for companies involved in the manufacture, sale, or export/import of defense-related items. In other words, any company having access to any defense-related articles, service or technical information is subject to ITAR and requires licensing by the State Department.

You would expect certain products to fall under the oversight of ITAR such as weapons, munitions or military vehicles. Other items are not so apparent. These include software, technical data and certain services that may include maintenance, repair or testing. This also includes items such as protective shelters or personnel equipment.

Wide Range of Implications

There is a broad reach to ITAR. Parts not appearing to have any defense value like a fabricated metal component may also qualify under ITAR if that component winds up in a larger military product. Even items used for civilian purposes may qualify under ITAR so long as the items were initially designed, developed, adapted or modified for a military application.

Companies meeting the ITAR requirements must register with the State Department. Once gaining approval, a company must avoid participation in activities including the transfer of technical data/software, services or exports of items on the USML list to foreign countries. Strict record keeping and reporting are mandated. Failure to comply creates many problems.

If your company falls under ITAR regulations and still exports non-defense related items, proceed cautiously as penalties for compliance violations are stiff. Companies may lose government contracts and be prevented from doing business with the government forever.

Additionally, fines are stiff, ranging up to $1 million per violation. For extreme violations, criminal sanctions including prison sentences up to 10 years for company officers, directors and employees are possible. Proper training and adherence to the regulations provide the only route to successful operation within ITAR.

Ardel Engineering is ITAR Registered

You can be assured that Ardel Engineering adheres to all ITAR requirements provided by the State Department. If you next project requires an ITAR registered company, please contact us today to see how Ardel Engineering can assist you.

Introducing the RAM Optical SprintMVP 300

April 1, 2015

To continue to provide our customers with the superior precision parts they have come to expect from us, we are consistently working toward upgrading and maintaining the latest technology available. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment enables us to serve a wide range of industrial customers with the quality and close tolerance parts required for their applications.

New Capabilities

With the addition of our new RAM Optical SprintMVP 300 we have increased capabilities to inspect even the most difficult and complex parts. The SprintMVP 300 system is a high performance, fully automatic measuring machine with precise autofocus speeds throughput and improved repeatability.

We have equipped the Sprint with additional, optional measurement software to further improve our capabilities. The enhanced software packages allow us to accurately measure the finest features that would require multiple step measurement routines. Our new RAM Optical SprintMVP 300 is equipped with:

  • Measure-X®: Allows us to create and run part measurement routines in a powerful, straightforward, and uniquely capable environment. High-speed part measurement tool.
  • MeasureFit Plus®: Gives us the capability to analyze all part features simultaneously. We can then compare the features to a design template created from the measurement routine quickly identifying potential assembly issues.
  • QC-CALC Real-Time: Interface program that collects and displays measurement results to create reports and export data.

Improved Quality for Reliable Service

The SprintMVP 300 with enhanced software packages improves our abilities to thoroughly inspect all the pieces we manufacture and maintain our high standards. This system increases our quality assurance procedures and ensures that we meet the stringent requirements of every customer.

For over 40 years Ardel has been in the business of supplying precision parts to industries’ leading manufacturers. Our commitment to quality and efficiency in all of our capabilities is evident in the acquisition of machines such as the SprintMVP 300 and in our ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485 certifications.

Our continuing tradition of improvement is reputable and valued by our customers. For superb quality and outstanding customer service, trust in the professionals at Ardel.

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The Future of Commercial Space Flight

October 30, 2014

There are some exciting possibilities on the horizon for commercial space flight. Last month NASA awarded funding to Boeing and SpaceX for both companies to continue working on their “space taxis” which could carry astronauts to and from space stations. And this month Boeing has reached its final commercial crew design milestone for its CST-100. This means that the company can now begin planning for full-scale flight tests article construction.

Additionally, Virgin Galactic is working to bring space travel to the masses with its announcement that it will resume its rocket-powered test flights and hopes to have the first commercial flight by early 2015. The company’s SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry two passengers and six pilots and so far over 700 people have made reservations for a flight.

With extensive experience in the aerospace industry we at Ardel find these new advances very exciting and we’ll be continuing to monitor the news surrounding the aerospace industry. To learn more about our services for the aerospace industry, visit our website. We are also active on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post company updates as well as relevant news about the aerospace industry and commercial space flight.

Is a US-made Rocket Engine in Our Future?

August 28, 2014

Recently the head of the US Air Force Space Command, Gen. William Shelton, said he believes now is the time for the United State to begin developing a new engine. According to the Defense News article he believes that a national program would be a good place to start. Currently the engine used on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle is supplied by Russia, which could cause problems with supply in the future.

At Ardel we’re always watching the aerospace industry closely and we’d be excited to see a return to US manufacturing for a government space program. This type of program could help to further improve our economy as well as renew interest in the engineering and manufacturing sectors for the younger generations who would have an opportunity to build a new rocket engine.

Our ISO Certified company has extensive experience with the aerospace parts and companies, we have worked with companies such as Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. We can supply components and sub-assemblies to Mill Spec. certifications. To learn more about our work with the aircraft and aerospace industry, visit our website. We can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post more industry news as well as company updates.

Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace Industry

July 29, 2014

Last year we wrote a blog about 3D printing in the aerospace industry and over the past 12 months it seems we have continued to see buzz within the industry.  Recently companies like GNK Aerospace and others have announced plans to research techniques for additive manufacturing.

At Ardel we were recently interviewed by a graduate student who was researching the impact of 3D printing on the aerospace industry for his thesis. He mentions several benefits to additive manufacturing such as lighter materials which may reduce fuel costs, however he does note that there are some parts manufactured by CNC machines which can’t be made from a 3D printer and currently some additive manufactured parts may not be able to meet the aviation industry’s standards and therefore a CNC machined part or hybrid part would be required. His conclusion is that additive manufacturing is in its early stages and will likely be used in low-end aircraft parts until the technology can improve to manufacture better structural parts.

For our part we will continue to monitor the latest news to ensure we are keeping up with new technology and techniques to give our customers the best the best service possible. To learn about CNC machining work for the aerospace industry, visit our website. We are also active on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post about the latest developments in the industry.

How New Medical Device Regulations will Impact US Manufacturers

June 25, 2014

2015 may prove to be the year of new regulations. First the European Union may adopt new medical device regulations, which were first proposed by the European Commission in 2012. And secondly, there will updates to ISO 9001 guidelines.

Many observers who have been following the European legislation believe that they will be published in 2015. Before these regulations US medical device manufacturers often looked to Europe first as the directives were lighter and US companies could more easily test their products oversees before bringing them to the domestic market.

According to Plastics Today, there will be three major changes to Europe’s medical device regulations which could drastically affect US businesses. The first is the proposal for a Qualified Person, which means that medical device manufacturers must employ a person with at least five years of regulatory experience on site. Second, will be unannounced audits by Notified Bodies to manufacturers or critical subcontractors at least once every third year. And third, is a new scrutiny procedure which would have an expert committee made of up members appointed by the EU member states, this group would have the ability to take a second look at innovative, high-risk devices that have already been assessed by the Notified Body.

In addition to the EU proposals, there is also a new ISO 9001:2015 in the works, which will likely have mandatory implementation by 2018. The new standard will include a new classification and format based on Annex SL which dictates the structure of ISO 9001 as well as some aspects of the current ISO 9004. The guidelines are currently open to public comment.

To stay updated on industry news be sure to subscribe to our blog and to learn more about how Ardel can help the medical device industry, visit our website.

Conflict Minerals and the Supply Chain

May 28, 2014

At Ardel we are always monitoring industry news and one issue we’ve been watching recently is about conflict mineral statements. In 2010 the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed to help bring about financial reforms in the wake of the Great Recession.  In an effort to help promote financial stability the act also includes provisions to dissuade companies from engaging in trade that supports regional conflicts. These provisions are now causing manufacturers to take a closer look at their supply chain as publicly traded companies must now be in compliance.

This means that any publicly traded US company must review its supply chain and determine whether any of its products contain any traces of conflict minerals. Conflict minerals generally refer to tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, which have come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of May of this year companies must have determined if their products contain conflict minerals, find out whether they have originated from the DRC or any of the nine bordering countries, and conduct due diligence.

This largely affects electronics manufacturers as they are the ones who are commonly using tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold however many companies will need to review their supply chain and create a plan for compliance. The goal is that this regulation will help bring about social change with a conflict-free supply chain.

You can read more about conflict minerals here and be sure to follow Ardel on Twitter to get more industry news.

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