What STEM Education means for Manufacturing

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a new curriculum initiative aimed at improving student proficiencies in these specific disciplines. It is an integrative program that teaches these disciplines in a cohesive learning program with aims of improving our student’s competitiveness in technology-related fields and careers.

By experiencing a STEM program in lower grade levels, students are exposed to engineering-type disciplines early on with the hopes that interest in those fields will be attractive to them as they make future education and career choices. A proficiency in STEM disciplines can lead to jobs and careers that provide a living wage or higher with room for advancement.

The manufacturing sector is currently experiencing a phenomena that would benefit from an increase in adults entering the workforce with a greater understanding of science and technology. Industry leaders are seeing a decrease in qualified workers to fill open positions. Unfortunately, a career in manufacturing has not been seen as a viable option as a decades-long trend of declining manufacturing jobs has taken place. But with a resurgence in the manufacturing industry, there is a current and future need for skilled workers.

To change the perception of the manufacturing industry, programs are being offered that bring manufacturers, schools, and students together to explore options and availabilities in the current industrial environment. Manufacturing isn’t the same as it was 50 years ago. Computers and robotics have created a technical and interesting environment and it is this change we need to teach to today’s students so they will be tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce.

At Seilkop, we understand the difficulties of finding skilled workers. Providing educational training, information, and knowledge of what makes up todays industry will help us find the next generation of CNC machining and programming specialists. The idea that manufacturing jobs are dead-end positions with low pay is incorrect. Manufacturing offers workers skills and careers.

If you would like more information on jobs and benefits available at Seilkop, please take a look at our employment opportunities here.



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Manufacturing Trends that Will Impact the Industry in 2015

With the end of 2014 fast approaching, it’s that time of year to begin to look forward to 2015. We make resolutions and are offered glimpses into what trends will be “hot” next year. Taking a look at new trends helps us to stay current with the rest of the world, whether we choose to participate or not. But, in industry, staying abreast of trends may help keep that competitive edge and prevent falling behinds others who are moving ahead and making changes.

Industry experts expect the global manufacturing industry to adjust their current business models to continue to meet demands of customers while increasing profits. From changes in supply-chain systems and dynamics to advances in technology, the industry is continuing to adjust to new demands and requirements.

robot1The following five manufacturing trends should be considered relevant to manage the changing landscape of the manufacturing industry:

• Adopt a ‘SMAC Stack’ Tool Kit
SMAC stands for social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. This essential technology tool kit is the next wave of engaging customers and growing opportunities. It helps increase efficiencies and change in an industry that is often resistance to change and modernization.

• Embrace Social Media
As social media evolves it is changing the traditional manufacturing business model from B2B to more customer centric. Customers are knowledgeable and informed and get much of their information from social media. This is leading manufacturers to rethink business-to-business to become business-to-business-to-consumer models.

• Increase automation and job opportunities because of Internet of Things (IoT)
With the growth of STEM education, the next wave of manufacturing workers will have more time for R&D since IoT enables condition-based maintenance. These technological advances in systems and automation improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

• Increase capital investment
According to recent reports, manufacturers are increasing their capital spending by investing in upgrades to plants, equipment, and technologies to improve value through innovation, original design, and speed to market.

• ‘Next-Shoring’
Improved management of supply chain operations is leading more companies to relocate product development to areas that are closer to where products are sold. Next-shoring allows manufacturers to replenish store inventories quicker, get goods to consumers faster, and reduces costs associated with warehousing, shipping, and docking goods.
In manufacturing, for many years, the industry was stagnant. Business slowed, jobs were lost. We are all aware that the page has turned and the industry is reemerging as a strong force with the ability to improve economies and drive job growth. We are looking forward to a strong and successful 2015!


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Priority for Details Opportunity at AG Tool and Die


Historically, AG Tool and Die struggled with meeting its customers’ and AG Tool and Die Sales Engineers’ expectations for timely delivery of Details to the market. As a result of this performance, there were lost opportunities that forced a redesign of the Details process flow.

In March of this year, a new process was developed to deliver any typical quality Details in 14 calendar days at a competitive price. If the material for the detail required a long lead time, the delivery could extend to 21 days.  In some situations, a Red Hot priority could be placed on the Detail – resulting in a much shorter delivery.

The success of the new Detail process flow is supported by the AG Quality Management System which is ISO 9001:2008 certified by EAGLE Certification Group.

The key elements of the process flow include:

  • AG Professional Sales Engineer support manages the process from order to delivery with 100% customer satisfaction.
  • AG Design Engineering Group can either reverse engineer or incorporate the existing drawings and specifications into a required documentation for processing the details through the AG Production System.
  • AG Production System provides a Lean Flow Process for all Details with a Visual Priority through the system. This provides velocity for the Details to meet the Quality and Delivery that their customers are expecting.  Key elements include production schedule and in – process and final inspections with the calibrated metrology methods.

The results of the process over the last three months show that they have been meeting customer expectations with an average delivery of 12 days. Once the detail is completed and ready for shipment, the Sales Engineer follows the customer instructions for delivery and provides a follow up to ensure the expectations have been met through AG’s process.

Their Detail customer base ranges from their current customers, as well as new customers who are stampers in the industry looking for Details to support their operations. Since AG has started the Details Process, successful relationships have occurred, resulting in growth opportunities around Die Repair, as well as new Die Design and Build Projects which have supported new customers.




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Optimizing the Casting Process Through Design and Simulation

Hitech - Manufacturing of High Volume PatternHitech Shapes and Designs has been an industry leader in the production of foundry tooling since 1946.

They have a full in-house pattern shop capable of designing and fabricating patterns and core boxes for virtually all casting systems including vertical and horizontal DISA, Sinto, and Hunter patterns.  Core equipment includes Redford, Harrison, Laempe and Hottinger core machines for both hot and cold core box manufacturing.

In addition to the automotive industry, they also serve the heavy truck, compressor, marine and pump component markets.

Companies need castings, but they have no idea how to have them made. The designs often can’t be produced, even though they look good on paper. Hitech offers design capabilities and Cad Cam software with simulation to lead them through the design process.

Our designers and engineers are experienced in all modern modeling CAD systems including Pro-E and SolidWorks to accommodate the customers’ design work into our system. QuickCAST is our proprietary simulation software that can model the entire casting process and pinpoint any expected issues in the part or tooling prior to manufacturing.  In-house prototyping capabilities offer a more realistic representation of the production casting, including the required draft. This extensive prototyping and analysis saves time and money during the tooling fabrication and preproduction verification phases

Hitech designs core packages that can be assembled together and properly fit into the mold. Ultimately, the core has to work. For engine components, 9 or 10 cores must all lock together; this is assured through 3D CAD design and years of experience. All tooling is CNC machined to precision tolerances well below industry standards, thus reducing casting finishing and parting line removal. Hitech machines a variety of materials – both high production and prototype.

If you are looking for a reliable partner to design core packages, call the experienced team at Hitech Shapes and Designs, a 9001:2008 certified company.

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Rapid Prototype Patterns

Rapid Protyping

As buyers are demanding shorter and shorter lead times of their suppliers, Hitech Shapes and Designs continually improves their rapid prototyping processes to ensure faster turnaround and to eliminate product design flaws prior to production.

Hitech Shapes and Designs has built foundry tooling since 1946 and specializes in CNC Pattern making and foundry patterns. Evolving from its hand-crafted wood and metal patterns to its present CNC pattern making capabilities, building fully CNC machined tooling for Disa Match M130, Disa 2013A, DISA 2013B, DISA 2070, Roberts SINTO and Hunter.

In addition to experienced pattern makers, Hitech’s shop has six CNC vertical machining centers and two CNC turning centers with live tooling.

Whether for a prototype or production, an exact pattern is key, since the quality of the pattern directly affects the successful production of a well manufactured part.

Internal design of fully CNC machined pattern and core boxes is accomplished using PRO/ENGINEER, SOLIDWORKS, DELCAM POWER MILL, SURFCAM and AUTOCAD software.

Internal solidification simulation using Quikcast software allows predictive evaluation of the entire casting process including filling and solidification defects. It enables rapid visualization of design changes and allows for correct decision-making at an early stage of the manufacturing process.

If you are looking for a reliable company to guide a new product from design to market quickly and cost effectively, or if you have a re- design, call the experienced personnel at Hitech Shapes and Designs, an ISO 9001:2008 certified company that will work with your internal design team.

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A Proactive Approach During The Metal Forming Design Phase Is Always A Good Thing!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines being “proactive” as “controlling a situation by making things happen or by preparing.” Autoform R5 software enables us to be proactive for customers who work with our A-G Tool and Die division. Together, we’ve experienced first-hand how being proactive during the initial development and design phase of a metal forming project is always a good thing!

With Autoform R5 software, A-G Tool and Die offers sheet metal forming and drawing simulation that can accurately predict stock widths, progression, and blank optimization. Essentially, we’re able verify that a part can be produced to part print before the start of design or manufacture, and this saves everyone time and money. There are additional benefits and advantages of using the Autoform R5 software, including:

  • More time-savings — the software decreases the total time spent on the development of any metal forming project.
  • Ability to set-up and debug before it’s too late – the software allows us to anticipate problems during the planning phase, therefore avoiding costly mistakes.

Speaking about mistakes, at any point in the metal forming process, mistakes can be costly. But that’s where A-G’s Autoform R5 software has been most helpful and effective – in catching mistakes during the design and development phase. The Autoform R5 software provides incremental simulation – a real representation of the actual forming process – to avoid mistakes or to catch them before it’s too late. Other software simulates in a one-step process, but A-G’s incremental simulation can be modified at various stages of production. Being able to do this works to everyone’s advantage: If a customer furnishes a part design that cannot be produced or that is ineffective, we can suggest process changes or part changes. This type of advice and interaction shortens lead times on the tool, decreases try-out time, which, in the end, translates into cost savings for the customer.

Material selection and testing during the design phase are also easier with the Autoform R5 software. Within the software, we choose the material that is on a customer’s part print and begin the simulation. At the same time, we’re also able to obtain a sample of that material and have it tested for mechanical properties, importing test results into the software. Then, we re-run the simulation to verify the viability of the original process. If there are any discrepancies with the material, we know this in advance – before time is spent in the press debugging the tool with incorrect material.

Overall, the Autoform R5 software fosters a proactive approach to metal forming design. It streamlines the metal forming process, increases productivity, and allows us – and our customers – to take advantage of the many benefits it offers.

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Crossley Press Parts

crossley-1-largeMuch in the same way as consumers trusting particular brands for their home appliances, manufacturing specialists will only trust a particular supplier for reliable refractory presses, ball mills, pumps and other devices. High-quality refractory parts and components, especially those that are designed for use in ceramic, brick, tile, and porcelain manufacturing, are not easy to come by – too many manufacturers cut costs by using inferior processes and cheaper materials. However, certain names have become by-words for consistently durable, long lasting refractory products.

Crossley is one of these names, historically known for their presses targeted at ceramics use. Nowadays, Crossley service parts and replacements are in limited distribution. Hamilton Precision maintains OEM blueprints, and can produce new spare parts according to original Crossley designs and specifications. Wanting to maintain the performance and reliability made possible by their Crossley installations, many ceramics and similar manufacturers have sought out these support specialists for short term, long term, and emergency assistance.

Hamilton Precision LLC, a division of Seilkop Industries, has been in business for more than 60 years, and they are the industry’s quality choice for high accuracy roll manufacturing and oxy-fuel burning of steel plate. Operating with a 40,000 square foot facility, they have the capacity to deliver very high standards of fabrication in any quantity. An exclusive Crossley distributor, Hamilton Precision is able to support refractory brick presses, tile presses, friction and hydraulic presses, air operated free piston pumps, four cylinder slip pumps, and steel ball mills. They can also manufacture complete new Crossley systems according to original design prints.

The services that firms like Hamilton Precision provide are invaluable to owners of older, but practically indestructible high quality equipment. If you own a Crossley press, you can contact Hamilton Precision directly to request a quote or make an order inquiry.

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As Manufacturing, Itself, Has Changed Over The Years, Our Ability To Meet Manufacturing Needs Has Always Remained The Same!

Manufacturing has changed a lot in the last 68 years: Die making, metal stamping, engineering, assembly, and all manufacturing operations have been transformed by changing technology, new concepts (such as “sustainability” and “lean manufacturing”), and automation trends. At Seilkop Industries, we’ve experienced these changes first-hand during the many days and years since our company was first established in 1946. Today, in 2014, we specialize in meeting diverse manufacturing needs and we offer a wide range of services, including:

  • Die Making
  • Aluminum Sand Casting
  • CNC Pattern Making
  • Blanchard Grinding
  • Burnouts
  • Roll Repair Services… and so much more!

This is our first blog post, and we decided to start writing this blog now for several reasons: To share some of our experiences from the past seven decades, to talk about current manufacturing trends, and to discuss how these trends and the changing times affect our customers’ companies – and everyone in the manufacturing sector.

We’ve been around for almost seven decades and, throughout the years, we’ve been working with manufacturers from a variety of industries and involved in many different types of projects through all of their production phases – from the initial design phase, to prototype, to assembly and production, and then to final completion. While the services and capabilities Seilkop Industries has offered over the years have been very diverse, our ability to meet our customers’ needs has always remained the same. Since 1946, we’ve offered in-house capabilities for transfer and progressive die making, roll repair, aluminum sand casting, surface grinding burnouts, roll grinding and other manufacturing services.

Here’s a very brief overview of each of the four operating divisions, all ISO-certified, that fall under the Seilkop Industries, Inc. umbrella:

  • A-G Tool and Die – known for using lean methodology for transfer and progressive die making.
  • Epcor Foundry  – specializing in aluminum sand casting, prototyping and automotive casting.
  • Hamilton Precision – recognized as the leader in roll grinding, oxy fuel burning, Blanchard and surface grinding, and offering Crossley Press parts and repair.
  • HITECH Shapes and Design – providing CNC pattern making and foundry patterns.

In the coming days and months, we hope you’ll take the time to get to know us better by continuing to read our blog and exploring our website. At any time, if you have any questions about our capabilities, or need more information about our services, please reach out to us through email: info@seilkopindustries.com. Thanks for reading!


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