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Author Archives: TWPprimeproducts

  1. How to Become Your Customer’s Top Supplier

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    Most of us know that supplying a quality product or service on time, and at a fair price, are critical to achieving customer satisfaction. But what if you’re not the only one that can do this for your customer?

    How can you become your customer’s first choice for their next order? Read on for five keys to becoming your customer’s top supplier.

    Respond to all inquiries within 24 hours

    Commitment is the key to meeting this goal, but it is also important to have an organized system for managing your responses. If the inquiry was a phone call, send an email to summarize the call. If you need more time to provide the information that the customer has requested, note this in your email and provide the date by which you will follow up. If you don’t have the information by that date, reply with a status report. Whenever you send a message that requires follow up, flag the message for follow up with a due date. Work through your follow up list every day to ensure the 24 hour rule is never missed.

    Respond thoroughly and accurately

    The content of your response is as important as the timeliness. Be sure to address every item, not just the one you happen to be focused on. Anticipate what questions might arise from your response and answer them before they are asked. Reread your entire response before sending to make sure the content is thorough and accurate.

    Accommodate the unique business needs of your customer

    If your customer needs you to offer blanket orders, consignment inventory, vendor managed inventory, long term agreements, scheduling agreements, lot traceability, customized documentation (i.e. packing slips, certificates of compliance, shipping labels) or other services, find a way to make it happen and then set your prices accordingly.

    Leverage technology to execute flawlessly

    Accommodating the varying business needs of your customers is a difficult challenge that can be made easier with technology. You need an ERP system that is robust and customizable, and you need information systems personnel that can help you use all of the available functionality. If your customer needs something special, such as a packing slip that is different from what you normally send, write custom reports and code to make this happen automatically. No matter how good your staff is, they will make mistakes, and a new employee will step in to perform a task at some point, so use technology to eliminate the possibility of human error whenever you can.

    Make problem resolution a top priority

    Problems are inevitable. You will cause some, others will be of no fault of your own. In either case, these are often the times when your customer needs you to perform at your best, and they are likely to remember what you did or did not do to help minimize the impact of the problem on their business. Determining root cause and taking preventive action is important, but be sure to make containment and corrective action your top priority until the impact of the problem on your customer is minimized.

    Contact us today to learn more.

  2. History of Aerospace Backlit Panels

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    Over the years, the cockpit of an airliner or military jet have grown increasingly complex as modern aerospace technology has developed.

    It is certainly a lot different from the bare bones instrument panel that took Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic in 1927.

    It is hard to imagine, but The Spirit of St. Louis had few gauges and no lighting. Of course, these days one element that is in almost every aircraft on earth is the backlit panel. The idea of trying to read a critical gauge or push a button in the dark is not only unimaginable but also extremely dangerous.

    Backlit Panels: Where it all Began

    Attempting to make panels readable in the dark has become an exacting science, but it is not a new technology. In 1933, Grimes Manufacturing (now a part of the Honeywell Corporation) began producing lighting for aircrafts, both internally and externally.

    Early illumination was rudimentary at best. Some instrument panels were lit via post lights, which were small masked bulbs that were threaded through instrument mounting holes. Other methods included small spot lights that were above the pilot’s head and pointed toward the controls.

    Some ingenious tricks were developed to illuminate instrument controls and other necessary equipment in the cockpit included things like done a combination of small flood lighting and florescent paint.

    History of Aerospace Backlit PanelsThe first real backlit panels came about a few years later, and many of these designs remained the standard for decades. The panel lamps and indicators were fabricated by a company called Dialco, now called Dialight. These panels were very sophisticated mechanically and remain in use in both military and civilian aircraft to this day.

    Color Lighting

    Initial night instrument panel lighting was mainly in red. Red lighting has the lowest impact on a person’s night vision. As technology advanced, red lighting eventually moved to “aviation blue-white” which allow all instrument colors to accurately be seen. This also allowed the color red to be used only for warning of serious issues within the cockpit area.

    With the introduction of colored lights, there has been a standardization of the meaning of each color. Red remains the notice of serious danger. Yellow is a warning light for pilots to take notice. Green is for normal operations. Blue or white for informational messages.

    Leap Forward with LED Technology

    The entire industry took a giant leap forward with the introduction of marketable Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb technology in the 1960’s. This was a big step in aerospace panels because unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs don’t contain filaments that can burn out.

    LEDs are the perfect choice for backlighting of aerospace panels for a number of reasons including: longer lifespan, small size, color choices, and brightness

    Prime Products

    Since most of the technology remains the same on today’s aerospace panels, the real key is to find the right manufacturer. At Prime Products, we think we are the best custom fabricators of illuminated components in the business.

    We produce toning and light control panels, keypads, knobs, and buttons for all aerospace applications. Prime Products knows how critical performance is when it comes to aerospace backlit panels. That is why we perform photometer measurements on brightness (foot-lamberts), transmission, contrast ratios, and chromaticity (x, y).

    All Prime Product components are 100% inspected for light leaks in the non-illuminated areas. In addition, we can comply with MIL-P-7788, AS7788, AS25050 and other military and industry standards.

    To learn more about aerospace backlit panels and how Prime Products can help you, please visit our website or contact us directly.

  3. Prime Products’ Paint Application Specifications

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    In the aviation and aerospace industries, one of the biggest issues faced by professionals is improper paint application.

    When applied correctly and proficiently, paints can enhance several notable characteristics of a product, including its surface integrity, resistance to chemicals, and aesthetic value.

    Prime Products’ Paint Application SpecificationsTo ensure ideal paint application for their products, many prime aerospace companies such as Honeywell, Boeing, and Rockwell Collins choose spray paint suppliers that are Nadcap accredited.

    This is not a personal preference, but an industry requirement. Only Nadcap certified spray paint suppliers comply with the industry’s most stringent standards. Prime Products is one such paint supplier; we have recently attained Nadcap accreditation.

    Nadcap is integral for establishing the highest levels of quality assurance throughout special aviation and aerospace processes, including spray painting. At Prime Products, one of our team’s core competencies is spray painting, so the Nadcap approach helped refine those skills.

    Prime was accredited for Nadcap’s AC7108/1 Revision B standard, which pertains to painting and dry film coatings. With this accreditation, we are capable of applying a wide range of paints in accordance with several military specifications, including:

    • MIL-DTL-53039
    • MIL-PRF-22750
    • MIL-PRF-23377
    • MIL–PRF–85285 (supersedes MIL–C–85285)
    • DOD–P–15328
    • And More

    To learn more about other notable specifications, please obtain a copy of our latest resource titled Mil-Specs and Paint Application Specs Met by Prime Products. This free-to-download guide details all the paint specifications we can now meet thanks to our Nadcap certification. The guide consists of two separate tables for the individual specs, which lists both definitions and the specifying company.

    Obtain your copy of this resource today, and be sure to contact us for information regarding our various spray painting services.

    Learn about our Paint Application Specs

  4. Prime Products to Attain Nadcap Accreditation

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    Over the past 40 years, our company Prime Products, Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds. From humble beginnings supplying painted avionics components in a small shop, Prime Products expanded both its services and facilities greatly.

    With the inclusion of contract manufacturing services such as screen and pad printing, CNC milling and turning, laser cutting, and others, Prime Products now caters to several notable companies in the aerospace and aviation industries. Our highly advanced equipment and facilities sets us apart from competitors.

    Prime Products is dedicated to providing the highest quality services and products—our AS9100 and ISO 9001:2008 certifications reflect this dedication. Our company seeks to further its commitment to quality even more, as we are currently in the process of attaining Nadcap accreditation.

    What is Nadcap?

    Quality CertificationCreated in 1990 by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) is an industry-managed approach for establishing quality assurance in special aerospace processes. Nadcap is administered by the Performance Review Institute (PRI) which is responsible for performing the required audit and submission to the Nadcap Task Group for certification approval.

    This accreditation is mandatory for any suppliers of special processes that seek to work with the U.S. Military and prime companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Honeywell, and Rolls Royce. With Nadcap, suppliers have gained tighter control of processes such as coating, heat treating, chemical processing, and nondestructive testing.

    Prime Products is seeking to be certified for Nadcap’s AC7108/1 Revision B Painting & Dry Film Coatings standard. Once Prime earns accreditation, we will be able to utilize paints made to these military specifications:

    • DOD–P–15328
    • MIL–C–53039
    • MIL–DTL–53039
    • MIL–C–22750
    • MIL–PRF–22750
    • MIL–P–23377
    • MIL–PRF–23377
    • MIL–C–85285
    • MIL–PRF–85285
    • MIL–P–85582
    • MIL–PRF–85582
    • MIL–F–14072
    • MIL-DTL-14072
    • TT-P-1757

    Additionally, Prime will be capable of applying paints per the following OEM specifications:

    Honeywell M4065816 Manufacturing Specification for Application of Polyurethane Coatings
    Rockwell Collins 580-0165 Process, Finish, Paint (Lacquer)
    Rockwell Collins 580-0194 Process, Paint, Epoxy
    Rockwell Collins 580-0328 Process, Finish, Paint (Fluorescent Enamel)
    Rockwell Collins 580-0564 Process, Paint, Enamel
    Rockwell Collins 580-0709 Process, Paint, Polyurethane
    Rockwell Collins 580-5482 Process, Coating, Polyurethane

    Accreditation is a lengthy process that includes comprehensive audits. These audits are more demanding than those pertaining to ISO or AS standards, and as such, Nadcap accreditation indicates the highest level of dedication to quality.

    Being Nadcap certified gives top aviation and aerospace companies the assurance that you are capable of meeting the most stringent requirements of the industry. The Prime Products team looks forward to achieving this prestigious certification.

  5. Why Choose a Nadcap Certified Supplier?

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    Quality is a crucial procurement consideration for companies in the aerospace and aviation industries. This is especially true for special processes such as coating, heat treating, and nondestructive testing.

    Over 20 years ago, prime companies conducted audits to assess the technical proficiency of special process suppliers. To support these prime companies, the Performance Review Institute (PRI) began administering the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program — also known as Nadcap.

    Nadcap is an industry-managed approach to the standardization of quality assurance in special processes. These standards are crafted by technical experts from prime companies, suppliers, and the U.S. Government.

    Nadcap accreditation is indicative that the supplier upholds the highest levels of quality. An approved quality management system (QMS) such as AS9100 must first be in place, and Nadcap certification can only be granted following a stringent PRI audit, approval of corrective actions from the PRI staff engineer, and final approval from the Nadcap Task Group.

    Nadcap CertificationNadcap accreditation is becoming more frequently requested by aerospace manufacturers such as Boeing, Rockwell Collins, Airbus, Eaton, Honeywell, and many others. In response to this trend, Prime Products recently earned accreditation for Nadcap’s AC7108/1 Revision B Painting & Dry Film Coatings standard. This will allow us to provide Nadcap-accredited certifications of compliance for the application of numerous mil spec paints, including:

    • DOD–P–15328
    • MIL–DTL–53039
    • MIL–C–53039
    • MIL–DTL–53039
    • MIL–C–22750
    • MIL–PRF–22750
    • MIL–P–23377
    • MIL–C–85285
    • MIL–PRF–23377
    • MIL–C–85285
    • MIL–PRF–85285
    • MIL–P–85582
    • MIL–PRF–85582
    • MIL–F–14072
    • MIL-DTL-14072
    • TT-P-1757

    Founded in 1975 and serving more than 30 customers in the aerospace industry, Prime Products prides itself on quality assurance and customer satisfaction. Earning this distinguished accreditation demonstrates our uncompromising commitment to quality.

    If you have any questions about the Nadcap process or any of our services’ industry standards, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

    Download Prime’s Mil Specs and
    Paint Application Specs Sheet

  6. Top 5 Traits of Great Manufacturing Partners

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    With nearly 40 years’ experience across several industries, Prime Products is a company that understands the changing needs of today’s manufacturing customers. While it’s important to offer a variety of primary and secondary production services, modern manufacturers must offer even more to set themselves apart from competitors.

    Customers are seeking more than just a company that can create different products; they’re seeking a company that can offer support throughout the entire process — from the design stage to delivery of the final product. Customers need more than a contractor-for-hire — they need a partner.

    The following five traits exemplify what separates good manufacturing partners from those that are truly great.

    • A good partner will integrate their services with your company’s inventory system, but many offer rudimentary levels of support. Prime Products takes part in extensive inventory programs: our consignment program ensures products are shipped to you, or a third party of your choice, when you decide the time is right; and our vendor managed program lets the customer set their order quantities and fulfillment requests.
      These programs enable customers to control the exact amount of products shipped to them, and the exact time of shipment as well — this helps reduce confusion and unnecessary waste.
    • To manage customer inventory metrics, good partners utilize different programs that are moderately successful — Prime Products goes one step further with its scheduling agreement programs. Through your company’s ERP system, our customer service representatives can monitor inventory status, pull in, push out, and drop in requests, and production schedules.
      Additionally, our representatives work diligently to determine future demand or if any expedite requests need to be met, and convey that information through your ERP online portal.
    • As a partner, keeping tabs on informative customer documents is vital. At Prime Products, we make sure these documents are safely maintained until needed for reference. We utilize your company’s electronic data interchange (EDI) systems to acquire and organize documents such as order forms, technical drawings, customer-supplied paperwork, and others.
    • The quality of manufactured products is important, as is successful delivery of those products. Many partners take on multiple orders and find themselves struggling to meet lead times. Prime Products maintains your ordering system to help you get ahead of schedule. Our team is capable of accepting several blanket orders at once, and with a simple email or a report document, customers can set their product delivery lines.
    • When products are finally ready for shipment, many manufacturers turn to outside delivery companies. While it can be advantageous to use such a company, there can be disconnects between multiple parties that can lead to delays, and increased shipping costs.
      Prime Products takes a more hands-on approach to product delivery; with our M1 business system, we can provide packing slips and labels tailored to your exact needs. Moreover, our team finds ways to consolidate your shipments whenever possible, reducing excessive freight costs.
      By choosing Prime Products, your company gains a partner that always has your best interests in mind. Our dedication to our customers is unmatched in the aviation, aerospace/defense, and medical fields; these professionals rely on Prime Products to support their businesses on a daily basis.
      For more information about our extensive contract manufacturing and customer support services, please contact us today.
    • Learn How Prime Products Can Support You
  7. Illustrated Guide to Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Cutting

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    Laser cutting is becoming more prevalent in modern manufacturing. However, it is still an art form and requires a certain degree of finesse.

    There are still many unknown variables encountered when cutting through or engraving exotic and even some common materials.

    Illustrated Guide To Carbon DioxideOne of the great advantages of lasers is that they impart practically no mechanical force on their targets. Specifically, CO2 lasers cut their target with a focused beam of infra-red radiation, burning and melting to remove the media. Therefore, when a part is difficult to fixture or machine by standard practices (cutting or forming), the use of a laser might be the solution.

    The engineers at Prime Products have extensive experience working with various laser types and a variety of materials, including acrylics, polycarbonates, and various rubbers. Even when a material is expected, theoretically, to be easily cut by a laser, it might not work so well in practice — the laser could leave regions of discoloration or extensive over-burns.

    When these types of conditions are encountered, our expertise allows us to maximize the capabilities of our laser systems or to suggest alternative methods, such as CNC machining, die or water jet cutting.

    Material Types

    When a design team details the manufacturing parameters for your project, they must also determine an ideal material choice. This choice should take into consideration (1) how the product will be used for its purpose, and (2) how the product will be manufactured.

    Some materials, though ideal for the final product’s purpose, might be too difficult to manufacture into that product. The following are some general examples of materials that are commonly referred to laser machining shops for processing:

    • Acrylics: These materials cut very well with CO2 lasers. Depending on the exact blend, they might require small degrees of cleaning post cutting.
    • Polycarbonates: More difficult to cut cleanly and additional steps are required to minimize discoloration (especially with thicker materials). However, with the proper precautions (i.e. liners) and post cleaning procedures, this material can be used if esthetics is not a key qualification.
    • Silicones and Rubber: A slight layer of burnt or melted material remains after these are laser cut.

    Various post cleaning processes are used to minimize the final impact, such as blowing clean with air, wiping or ultrasonic cleaning.

    Every material reacts differently to the cutting forces of a CO2 laser. For example, an acrylic will react differently than a polycarbonate; even one recipe of polycarbonate will react differently than another recipe.

    It is experience and understanding which gives Prime Products the advantage when it comes to predicting how a material — either one previously encountered or one in a similar material family — will cut in certain environments.

    Our engineers have combined their knowledge into a resource titled the Illustrated Guide to Laser Cutting. This resource will help our customers make better, more well-informed decisions when determining materials and processes for their parts.

  8. The Finer Points of Spray Paint Adhesion

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    Proper paint adhesion is a challenge for many individuals in the aerospace industry.

    Today, manufacturers have a variety of paint options designed for specific applications, but improper adhesion will diminish the benefits of the chosen paint.

    The Finer Points of Spray Paint AdhesionWhen paint is properly adhered, it can help improve the protective and aesthetic qualities of the substrate. To help you get the best paint results possible, the experts at Prime Products would like to offer you our Guide to Maximizing Spray Paint Adhesion.

    With this guide, we cover the spray painting process from start to finish and provide you with helpful tips along the way.

    Learn to Avoid Common Problems

    There are several factors that lead to proper paint adhesion. Many people make the mistake of not considering the substrate prior to painting; substrates like metals, plastics, and composite materials have different properties, and it’s important to know how well your substrate bonds with various paints.

    You have many types of paint to choose from, but you’ll need to use one that’s suited to your needs. Think about the application environment of your finished product—is it internal or external? Some paints are made to handle extreme climates.

    Is your product rigid or flexible? The paint you choose will need to conform to the product to avoid fracturing or chipping.

    Proper Preparation is Key

    Cleaning is vitally important to ensure paint adhesion. Before applying paint, your substrate needs to be free of unclean substances, such as dirt, rust, oil, and solvents. Additionally, you will need to use a cleaning system that is appropriate for your substrate; we provide information on ultrasonic and immersion cleaning, degreasing, and other useful cleaning techniques.

    You can utilize sandblasting or liquid honing to further prepare your substrate’s surface; these two methods increase the roughness of the surface, resulting in better paint adhesion and reducing the need for deburring.

    We also discuss pre-finishing methods chem film and anodizing—two popular choices for metal substrates—which coats surfaces and gives them additional beneficial properties.

    Download this Guide Today

    If you want to learn how to achieve better paint results, please download our free Guide to Maximizing Spray Paint Adhesion today. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to vastly improve your finishes.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or would like to learn more about the various services we offer.

  9. Pad Printing vs. Screen Printing: Which is Right for You?

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    If you have ever had to choose a graphical printing technique, you know it can be difficult.

    There are a number of different factors that come into play, including the process, equipment, and substrates you will be working with. In order to make the right choice for your exact needs, it helps to understand the advantages of the two most popular methods: pad printing and screen printing.

    Screen Printing

    Also known as silk screening, screen-printing involves a woven mesh screen that is coated with a special emulsion that blocks specific areas of the screen, thus forming the actual image you are transferring.

    Screen printing is popular for applications such as, clothing, balloons, artwork, visual graphics, and labeling for consumer products. This process, which has been in use in some form for over 1000 years, offers users a number of distinct benefits including:

    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Sharp and defined printed imagines
    • Inks apply firmly and last for years
    • Can print same design on large and small scale
    • Less process intensive in beginning

    Pad Printing

    First used by watchmakers in Switzerland, pad printing involves the use of specialized mechanical equipment called a pad-printing machine. This machine consists of three primary components: printing ink, image plates, and rubber or silicone printing pads.

    It is easier to understand the process if you can imagine a simple rubberstamp you might use at home but on a much larger scale. Pad printing is utilized by a number of different applications such as printing on electronic components, industrial buttons, promotional items, and household appliances.

    Pad Printing vs. Screen Printing: Which is Right for You?Though it has higher overall costs than screen printing, pad printing offers some unique benefits including:

    • Incredible image clarity and resolution
    • Perfect for 3D or unusually shaped objects and irregular surfaces
    • Great for larger production volumes
    • Easier to customize for your design requirements
    • High-tech options available (laser-guided, and robotic capabilities)

    It is clear that screen and pad printing both have their unique benefits, and drawbacks. The best way to make the right decision is to get the help of an expert. That is why Prime Products is happy to offer our new eBook Pad Printing vs. Screen Printing: Advantages and Applications.

    This free, downloadable eBook gives you the critical information that will make choosing between pad and screen printing much easier.

  10. A Quick Introduction to Kanban

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    Language is the primary means of communication between people, but words can fall short of fully conveying an intended message — especially in the workplace. Every day, people process more visual information than written, and at a much faster rate. This line of reasoning led to the creation of an organizational system that relies more on visual cues to understand and control workflow, called Kanban.

    Kanban was created by Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno toward the end of the 1940s. Looking to improve productivity, Toyota studied various supermarkets and made interesting discoveries. Clerks replenish items as needed based on current stock and demand. Also, clerks use physical signs that let others know when to place orders to vendors. Supermarkets don’t buy more than they anticipate selling, which keeps production costs low; Toyota adapted this “Just-in-time” (JIT) system for their business practices.

    Translating to “sign” or “card,” Kanban uses visual aids to keep track of supplies and manage employee responsibilities. The use of “Kanban cards” promotes transparency between employees; these cards can signal when supplies are running low, or if someone needs assistance on a certain task. Due to the highly visual nature of Kanban, employees become more mindful of the work they accomplish, minimizing excessive labor and muda, the Japanese concept of “waste.”

    Kanban centers on clarification and focus. When companies create visual aids to use in their workflow, it lets employees see the bigger picture: they can see the queue of tasks, which of those were completed or need completion, and what challenges arose during the manufacturing process. Kanban limits Work-in-progress (WIP) and alleviates much of the stress involved with different tasks, regardless of how daunting they may seem at first.

    When running at peak efficiency, Kanban promotes the ongoing development of the company by measuring its workflow, throughput, and employee efforts — all of which helps a company become stronger and a more knowledgeable resource for its clients.

    Prime Products supports our customer’s use of Kanban to provide you, our valued clients, with high-quality goods accentuated with the best service possible. We not only assist with your setup (selecting bin size, number of bins, replenishment lead time, etc.), but also work with your buyers and online MRP systems to schedule these bin shipments as needed. We use our own MRP system to trigger the replenishment of bins that have shipped, to ensure your needs are met.

    If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.