My career has always involved working with customers and helping problem solve to success. Back in the early 90’s, I was talking with a customer and asked their buyer what his worst job was with regard to price, scrap and overall headache and if he would let me quote it for him. He then showed me a car horn button assembly for a well known automaker. He just sourced this job out, but his current supplier could not make the daily rates, was overpriced and lacked consistent quality. He said if I could meet his objectives that he had other business coming up that he would let us bid and consider us as a new supplier.
I left my customer with the part drawing, yes part drawing because this was before our company had CAD, and we had to hand calculate everything for a quote, oh the good ole days. So I went back and had a discussion with my tooling engineer. We devised a system to manufacture this horn button assembly with a vertical molding machine and incorporate a hot stamp in the mold then assemble at the turntable. After this discussion we hit the Thomas Registry back then known as “Green Books” to find reputable vertical molding machines that would incorporate a rotating table for this operation.
Upon visiting 5 machine manufactures and 3 hot stamp suppliers we made our decisions and completed our quote all within 2 weeks, can you believe 2 weeks was a fast turnaround for a complex quote back then? Green books, part drawings, no cell phones, no GPS, no Internet, but I believe we did have a fax machine back then. So off we went on a three-day road trip to visit our suppliers of choice. We quickly made decisions and confirmed our pricing with our customer. He thought we were crazy and asked us to reevaluate our pricing as we were way too low compared to his current supplier. We felt comfortable with our quote and said we do not need to evaluate, and our price was good. He then told us that our price eliminated 11 operators when compared to our competitor. The customer officially awarded us the project when we guaranteed our price and delivery.
We ordered our equipment, built our molds and assembled our hot stamp machine to the rotary table of the vertical injection molding machine. Within 6 weeks we were ready for our first trial, it was almost an instant success. We did not account for static issues before hot stamping the horn button face. We were seeing contaminants under the hot stamped products, so we went back to our “Green Books’ and found EXAIR right in our own backyard. We talked with EXAIR over the phone, and they directed us to their Ion Air Jet and said this was a perfect application for this project and was also a stock item. We were just 30 miles from EXAIR, so we jumped in our car to pick up the “Will Call” order. EXAIR helped us resolve the static issue all within the same day eliminating our 4.5% scrap rate and all within hours of our initial phone call to EXAIR.
We then asked our customer to visit and watch our run rate, so our buyer would feel comfortable with our quote, quality and production rate. He mentioned through the entire process that he did not think we could hold our price or meet the annual requirements of 480,000 sets (LH and RH). He was pleasantly surprised with our work and saw first hand that we had a system that gave him a good run at rate, quality and competitive price.
EXAIR’s GEN 4 Ion Air Jet delivers a concentrated airflow that can cover a precise spot without disturbing other areas. This quiet, focused airstream provides incredibly fast static decay rates and cleaning ability. The EXAIR Ion Air Jet made a nice addition to the impressive engineering that went into this horn button assembly project.
Our customer was impressed with the solution, and it helped them keep their customer happy. Ultimately, we were able to get significant, future business from this customer. Without the help of EXAIR having competent products in stock, we might not have had such a good outcome. If you have the need for static eliminating products and not sure which one is right for you, please contact one of our Application Engineers. We can suggest which static eliminator is best for your application, answer your questions and provide material to help you decide on the best course of action.