Fortunately for us, and our customers, we manufacture custom parts to meet their application if our cataloged products do not meet their requirements. Just look at these blogs. Customers often come to us to know if our products can be used in a corrosive environment, or if they are suitable within a high temperature, or within a small envelope. Shortly after I started working in the Application Engineering department, I have found that the answers to these questions are generally “Yes, but why?”
Our marketing department does a great job of displaying our capabilities. Just look at the special pages: Air Knives, Line Vacs, Air Amplifiers, or Cabinet Coolers. We can make a great variety of products and materials, but we always will ask the next question. Why?
Some customers are surprised at how emphatic we can be about knowing why you need a special part or process. We are only asking to best serve you. For instance, I had a customer come to me today after seeing our Special Air Knife page and seeing our flat Super Air Knife that is only 11/16″ thick. This is a great product for its application, but when compared to our stock Super Air Knife, it is more expensive and carries and cannot be shipped until 2-3 weeks after it is ordered since we would build it from scratch. Customers first look at the Super Air Knife and see that the overall height of the product is 1.44″, which is too large to fit in their machine. When they see that the Super Air Knife is too big they assume they need something special. This is generally, when I get a call like this.
“I need your Flat Super Air Knife. What is the part number and price?”
“We don’t have a standing part number for that unit. It was a special part that we created for a specific customer. Why do you need that model?” I reply.
“It is thinner than the Super Air Knife.” – customer
“Have you looked at the Full Flow Air Knife?” – my reply
“No, What is that?” – customer
This is where the reasoning behind the request is so important. Purchasing one piece of a custom made thin Super Air Knife pictured above is significantly more expensive than the production run and in stock Full Flow Air Knife. The Special thin Super Air Knife is 0.688″ thick. The Full Flow Super Air Knife is 1.03″ thick. And in this case case, the Full Flow Air Knife worked for this customer. This is just one example of finding out why a customer needs a special product is so important. If the machine envelope is 1.25″ the Full Flow Air Knife will fit just fine. If the machining envelope is 0.75″, a Special thin Super Air Knife will be the solution. When we share the details together, it is easier to produce the best solution for our customers.