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Data analytics still need the human touch for metalworking equipment marketing

By Mike Bacidore, chief editor, Control Design, Nov 17, 2015 Data is everywhere, and many manufacturers have been collecting it for decades. But what are they doing with it? Can you collect enough data to create an analysis algorithm that…

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U.S. Chemical Process Industries: Catching the Capital Spending Wave

From Chemical Engineering Magazine, Webinar June 14, 2 p.m. EDT, $95

Process_Equipment_Marketing.pngThis webinar examines the current status of the U.S. chemical industry as well as its outlook over the next several years. We will start with examination of the economic environment, with further emphasis on housing, light vehicles and other important end-use markets. We will then focus on: 1) basic chemicals and synthetic materials; and 2) specialty chemicals.

Our premise is that fortunes of the former segment represent a supply driven gain in output, the result of the shale gas revolution and the renewed competitiveness of the U.S. industry. Changing energy dynamics are playing a role and we will analyze the effects of low oil prices are having on competitiveness, uncertainty and the wave of announced investments. Our premise is that fortunes of the latter segment represent a demand driven gain in output, the result of the manufacturing renaissance currently underway.

We will analyze the effects of the current soft patch in manufacturing and how it affects the various specialty chemical segments. Of particular interest to those in process engineering and chemical company capital programs we will assess the unprecedented wave of capital spending (and capacity expansion) by segment, by asset, and by geography.

Register Now.


Kevin Swift, Chief Economist, American Chemistry Council

Dr. Swift is the chief economist at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in Arlington, VA where he is responsible for economic and other analyses dealing with markets, energy, trade, tax, and innovation, as well as monitoring business conditions, identifying emerging trends, and assessing the economic and societal contributions of the business of chemistry. Prior to joining the ACC, Dr. Swift held executive and senior level positions at several business information/database companies. He started his career at Dow Chemical USA.

Dr. Swift is a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the Harvard Discussion Group of Industrial Economists, and the National Business Economics Issues Council (NBEIC). He is a member of The Wall Street Journal Forecasters’ Survey panel, NABE’s panel of forecasters, and a participant in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s forecasters’ survey. He chairs the NABE Education Committee and for his service as a professional economist and contributions to the profession, he was elected a NABE Fellow. He was also one of the first to achieve NABE’s Certified Business Economist (CBE) designation.

Dr. Swift is a graduate of Ashland College with a BA degree and a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with an MA degree in Economics. He is also a graduate of Anglia Polytechnic University with a doctorate in business administration (DBA) degree and has completed studies at Harvard University and the University of Oxford. Dr. Swift is an adjunct professor of business economics for the MBA program at the University of Mary Washington. He is also a member of the Heritage Council of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.


The current status and outlook for the U.S. economy

The current status and outlook for the U.S. chemical industry and where opportunities lie within specialty chemicals and basic chemicals and synthetic materials

The current status of the wave of U.S. chemical industry capital spending


Process engineers

Plant manager

Product managers and decision-makers

Market, planning and other analysts

About Lohre & Associates, Inc., Marketing Communications

Mission: To continually put in front of our clients the most cost effective methods of marketing communication.

Company Overview: Agency has provided clients with marketing strategy and execution since 1935. Whether it is through media and publicity, print media and advertising, trade show execution, photography, video or web site design, Lohre & Associates successfully integrates client needs and results.

Description: Full service advertising agency specializing in mechanical, chemical, food, electrical and sustainable building technologies. On May 5, 2011 Lohre & Associates’ offices was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification. The office is in the top 4% in the world in their category and included in a GreenBiz post on the top ten Green Building projects in the world. The certification represents the company’s commitment to be a leader in advanced and sustainable building materials and services marketing. Learn more at

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Process Equipment Marketing: Buying Equipment vs. Finding Solutions

(Great article in the recent issue of POWDER BULK ENGINEERING by Dwight Rider, SWECO Global Product Manager for round separation. Every good process equipment marketer knows that if you take the time to educate a person new to the industry, they will remember you when they are looking for solutions to their problems.)

There is more to providing a solution for your application than simply purchasing new equipment. Purchasing a piece of equipment is easy: all you need is money and someone to sell it to you. However, the cost of purchasing the wrong equipment can exceed the money you spend on the equipment itself. Before you go and tens of thousands of dollars on capital equipment, there are many factors that need to be considered.

Testimonials alway tell the best story about your process equipment marketing and the editors can’t get enough of them!

In the case of separation equipment, some types of machinery can last decades. Buying the wrong equipment can have long-term consequences in the cost of consumables, lack of production, downtime, and other factors. For example, the amount of money spent on consumables alone could exceed more than half the cost of the unit. Separation equipment is typically integrated into a large system. By choosing the wrong separation equipment, you could be inadvertently creating a bottleneck that affects the productivity of the overall system. Quite often, the low-cost equipment option may be the costliest in the long run.

Round separators are one of the more common types of separation equipment. Aside from the obvious influences of equipment quality and performance, two of the more important attributes when considering an equipment manufacturer are application experience and local support.

Every separation application is different even if you are screening the same product. Application experience cannot be overlooked when determining which manufacturer you choose. If you expect to get optimum performance from your equipment, there are factors that must be considered, such as machine diameter, screen mesh type, number of screen decks, types of self-cleaning devices, proper surface finish, spout heights and sizes, and many more.

Unit selection and sizing for a particular application can be both science and art, and experience is critical to achieving satisfactory results. The manufacturer should come to your facility, review the application in person, and provide services such as on-site testing with a small demo unit if needed. If larger scale testing is required the manufacturer should be able to provide lab testing and detailed test reports to aid in equipment selection.

For applications similar to an existing one, the manufacturer should be expected to review the process on-site to ensure optimum efficiency of the separation process. New applications should be sourced from existing reference data for similar applications that can be used as guidelines. The equipment needs to be customized to be optimized for both performance and integration into the larger system. Finally, engineering drawings, structural loading information, 3D CAD models, and detailed customized operating manuals need to be available to the customer.

Installation, start-up, commissioning, and on-going support are major factors to consider when choosing a manufacturer. If these elements are not available to the customer, complications could arise from the start. It is extremely important to have an expert readily available in case problems arise not only in the beginning stages, but also through the life of the equipment.

The manufacturer’s local support can also provide equipment training for operators and maintenance personnel. Dynamics such as motor lubrication and change-out, screen changing techniques, electrical interface, start up and shutdown procedures, emergency shutdown, and proper separator clearances and just a few items that the users will need to know. Another function provided by local support is recommending spare parts and how to care for those parts. Spare screens are critical to the process, as they will have a big impact on minimizing downtime.

There are plenty of round separator manufacturers from which to choose, and there are a lot of factors to consider when making the choice. Simply buying the equipment based upon a selling price alone may cost you more in the long term. You need to be sure to consider the factors discussed, so you are finding an application solution rather than simply buying equipment. When you need aftermarket parts, technical service, or assistance with the next application, be sure to choose equipment from a practiced manufacturer who has the knowledge, experience, and support you will need to get the job done right.

Doug Rider is the global product manager for round separation for SWECO, Florence, Kentucky, USA. He has been with SWECO for 15 years in various roles, including manufacturing engineer, product engineer, and design engineering manager.

Learn more at the SWECO Technical Library,

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Best Practices in Process Equipment Marketing – Short Courses for the Bulk Materials Handling Industry

(We love educational material. It’s getting rarer and rarer for universities to offer classes on industrial processes. They are usually left to teach theory and let the greenhorn learn on the job. We’re writing a size reduction systems article for ROCK PRODUCTS. If you have any resources we can use, please send them on.)

From the Bulk Inside newsletter Dec 7, 2015

Short-Courses-for-the-Bulk-Materials-Handling-Industry-300-1.jpgCHATHAM, KENT – A range of very popular and useful short courses designed specifically for the powder and
 bulk materials handling industry.

Our range of short courses is designed to equip delegates with the means to identify and overcome difficulties that may arise, saving time and increasing productivity.

Our experts’ in-depth knowledge as specialists in powders and bulk solids is complemented by their experience across all industries including, but not limited to, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, process and chemical engineering, recycling, food processing and mining.

In order to meet Industry’s changing needs, we continually update the range of courses to reflect current trends, hence the introduction of 3 new courses this year.

The courses are all held at our site in Kent, on the University of Greenwich campus.

2016 Course calendar
2 – 3 Feb:    Advanced Course: Pneumatic Conveying System Design
4 Feb:    Rotary Valves; Design Selection and Operational Issues
10 Feb:    Electrostatics in Powder Handling
24 Feb:    Powder and Dust Containment in the Process Industry
9 March:    Network Security of Industrial Control Systems in the Process Industry  – ** new course
15 – 17 March:    Storage and Discharge of Powders and Bulk Materials; includes optional practical session
6 April:    Dust Explosions – How to Demonstrate DSEAR/ATEX Compliance
13 April:    Caking and Lump Formation in Powders and Bulk Solids
26 – 27 April:    Advanced Course: Design of Equipment for Storing and Discharging Bulk Materials
10 – 12 May:    Pneumatic Conveying of Bulk Materials; includes optional practical session
24 May:    Undesired De-blending and Separation in Processes and Equipment
7 – 8 June:    Introduction to the Processing of Dry Solid Materials  – **new course
28 – 29 June:    Measurement of the Properties and Bulk Behaviour of Particulate Materials
5 July:    Handling and Storage of Waste and Recycled Bulk Materials – **new course
11 – 13 Oct:    Overview of Particulate Handling Technology; includes optional practical session
22 – 24 Nov:    Pneumatic Conveying of Bulk Materials; includes optional practical session
13 – 14 Dec:   Biomass Handling, Feeding and Storage

For full course details, course fees and terms and conditions, please visit Discounts are available for group bookings and repeat attendances.

Enquiries and Bookings

• + 44 20 8331 8646

© The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology

This article is published by The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology
“Providing Cost-Effective Solutions to Industrial Problems”

The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology is part of the School of Engineering at The University of Greenwich at Medway, Kent, UK and has specialised in solving materials handling problems since 1973.  

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5 Ways To Take The Pain Out Of Process Equipment Marketing

Process Equipment Marketing is more like high level consulting rather than selling a simple industrial product like a fork lift or truck. The cost is usually higher and an ongoing partnership between the customer and the manufacturer needs to be part of the relationship.

Process Equipment MarketingOne of the challenges I often hear from companies is this: “We know what new business activities we should be doing. We just don’t do them consistently.” Many times a company that knows it’s ideal customer doesn’t have the resources to make the cold calls needed to get through to the manufacturing engineer. This is where the internet can go to work. The internet can be your 24/7 technical sales person.

And that makes a lot of sense. New business involves lots of unglamorous and, frankly, unenjoyable activities. Stuff like: sales meetings, staying in touch with prospects, and applying just the right “nudge” to prospects who are making a buying decision.

In addition to being not a lot of fun, many new business programs are pretty disorganized: leads falling through the cracks, missed hand offs between sales team members and details from prior conversations lost or incomplete. But even if you did have it, trying to touch base exactly when needed (when the chief engineer goes back to researching esoteric keyword phrases to find a solution to a value added problem).

So if new business is unenjoyable and disorganized, is it any surprise that companies aren’t executing their plans consistently?

This post lays out a few ways that companies can build a process for new sales that’s organized and consistent. We can promise that this will make new business your favorite thing to do, it will help you execute and get better results. And that’s pretty fun.

1. Create a Plan

First things first: you need an overarching plan for new business. Before you invest in tactics, content, technology or anything else, create a plan. New business strategy and planning is a blog post all its own and there are lots of great resources out there to help you on this front, so I’m not going to dig into the details on this topic. Typically a plan is, “We need customers we can partner with, ones we can add value to the equation. We don’t want to compete on price.”

When you work with your customers, you help them build a manufacturing strategy and a plan before you start going into system plan and equipment. Your marketing plan is very similar.

In the internet world you need to do new business activities each week, several times per week. The purpose of this is to consciously choose your highest priority leads, opportunities and activities for the week and execute those. 

2. Get a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (and Use It)

Leads: In an average month you probably come across a handful of new potential prospects. For instance, you come across an interesting company when reading an article, or a colleague at a networking event mentions a thought leader who you should get in touch with, or you discover a promising organization while doing a Google search. You need a place to park these leads while you research or reach out to them. Your CRM process should have a central place where you can store new leads while you’re in process of qualifying them.

Contacts: Once you’ve qualified a lead as a good prospect or partner, you need an organized way to keep in touch with them. That may involve “one-to-many” communication like newsletters or nurture campaigns, or “one-to-one” communication like personalized emails or phone calls. For each contact that you’ve qualified it’s important to have them categorized (or “segmented”) based on criteria like their industry, and their quality/potential. You probably have hundreds or thousands of contacts in your database: to create a personalized outreach plan for each is impossible. So we identify a few segments and then create an outreach plan for each. This allows for efficiency and organization.

Opportunities: Opportunities are the active deals that you’re working on. An Opportunity involves a specific piece of work: a project or a concept, and generally goes through a standard set of steps (for instance: initial meeting, proposal, negotiation, and close). A CRM can give you an overview of all the potential business on the table to ensure you’re proactively moving all of them towards wins, and to find trends in process after the fact.

Clients: Do you have a plan for keeping in touch with existing and former customers, and cultivating new business opportunities? Remember, new business doesn’t just mean new customers. A good start for your wear or replacement parts business list but those influencers in the company might not be the new process systems engineer.

Activities: Your CRM should provide you a dashboard of all your current activities. All your new business TODO’s in a single place.

Before you worry about automation, advanced metrics or new technology, get the fundamentals right: a simple system for managing your leads, contacts, opportunities, clients and new business activities.

3. Translate Your Goals Into Simple Metrics

What’s your primary goal for the year?

When you create your new business plan, you’ll of course spend time defining or refining your goals. Another smart technique is to define some simple business metrics to make sure your new business activities are on track to reach those goals.

For example, let’s say your goal is to grow revenue by 5% this year and start working with new OEMs.

The next step would be to answer these questions: How many new customers would you need to increase revenue by 5%? And how many well-qualified prospects do you need to land a new customer?

Let’s say the answer to those two questions are 2 and 10, respectively. Assuming you don’t lose any existing customers, you’ll need about 20 new well-qualified leads to reach your goal. Obviously this isn’t an exact science, but it’s extremely valuable to give you a general benchmark for the number of new prospects (or leads, or opportunities, or whatever) that your new business activities need to be generating.

If your analysis says you need 20 qualified leads to hit your goal, but you’re currently only generating 1 or 2 a year, you’ll need to adjust your new business efforts to achieve your objectives.

4. There’s marketing and there’s customer relationships

There are a few truths about new business: relationships are king, timing is everything, consistency is important, deals don’t close themselves/selling is required. Another key point about new business is this: You can’t keep in touch with everyone.

Sure, you can add as many resources as you like to media, trade shows and internet marketing, but when it comes to the One-to-One high-touch, personalized communications that are critical for new business, there’s a limited number of prospects you can keep in touch with.

Every company should have their “Top-20″ (or Top-12, 15, 18, whatever) list of ideal prospects that they proactively keep in touch with on a monthly (or more frequent) basis. We want to stress the importance of breaking down your overarching priorities into weekly priorities. If your goal is to keep in touch with everyone your Top-20 list once a month, that’s about 5 personalized contacts per week (or one per day). When you build that into your weekly or daily game plan that’s how you develop consistency.

5. Let the odds work in your favor

This decade is about marketing automation.

The purpose of marketing automation is to take work off the plate of the leadership so they can do the new business work that only they can do: building relationships and closing business. It’s a big topic that deserves more space than we can provide here, but there are a few questions you could ask to start thinking about the sales enablement process that you need:

What Is the Work That only I Can Do?: What are the new business activities that only I – the owner – can do effectively? What other new business activities am I doing that marketing automation could do (e.g. assigning tasks, integrating systems, recording notes/ entering data, searching through Sent mail, sending boilerplate emails, etc.)?

What Can I Delegate?: Who else in the company (or outside of the company) could take over the non-required tasks listed above? Is there someone in the company who can be responsible for marketing automation (i.e. a single person who is responsible for making sure the systems work, the data is up to date, the activities are getting done, the process is being followed)? This doesn’t need to be someone’s full time job, and it doesn’t need to be a senior person in the company. For instance, there could a junior sales person who has an interest and aptitude for process/systems work who would be great for the role of managing the CRM and sales enablement.

What Are The Handoffs Between Me and My Team?: Once you know the roles and responsibilities, it’s important to define the process for how people will execute their tasks and communicate. How will lead/prospect/opportunity ownership be assigned among the team? How will tasks be passed between team members? What are the criteria for qualifying a lead? What happens when the lead is qualified? What are the stages of your sales process and how are opportunities moved from one stage to the next? An effective new business process doesn’t just get the company more new business, it also takes work off the company executive’s plate.

New business efforts often fall short because of lack of consistency. It’s the classic story: Company A diligently keeps in touch with a Prospect for a few months, Company A loses track of Prospect for 6 months, Company A gets back in touch with Prospect only to find that Prospect just hired Company B. That’s no fun.

The companies that are able execute their new business program consistently over time have built processes to ensure that activities are planned out, prioritized, organized, delegated and measured. The process doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be clear and followed by everyone at the company. 2016 is just around the corner. Make it the year that you achieve the new business results you know you can.BrianShea-201511031-300x300.jpeg

BrianShea-201511031-300x300.jpegInspired by a post in RSW/US, Agency Client Relationship Experts, Agency New Business Insights guest post by Brian Shea, founder of Shea Consulting, Advertising agency new business development is very similar to expensive process equipment purchases. 

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Food Engineering Magazine Field Report Preparation Guide for Process Equipment Marketing

Here are some pointers for preparing a Food Engineering Field Report by Debra Schug—also known as an application story, success story or an application brief for our Dry Processing Technology section. (Application articles are the foundation of any food process equipment marketing campaign. Chuck Lohre)

Food_Engineering_Magazine_Process_Equipment_Marketing.pngA Dry Processing Technology Field Report describes a problem and its solution. It may involve any product used in the food processing industry; for example, feeders, screening equipment, size reduction equipment, mixing/blending, bulk bag filling & discharging, mechanical conveying, pneumatic conveying, dust control, weighing systems, storage systems, micro and macro ingredient handling systems, thermal processing equipment (ovens, dryers) packaging equipment, metal detection/magnetic separation, process control system hardware and software, and so on. If you’re not sure whether your product, application or service applies, please call and we’ll brainstorm it. See sample Dry Processing Technology Field Reports attached.

Absolute requirements for publication

A submittal must contain the following or it will not be used.

  • Body copy of 500 to 700 words
  • At least two end user (food processor) quotes: perhaps one describing the problem and one suggesting that he/she is pleased with the solution, which should be quantifiable. That is, for example, it saved xx amount of time, reduced energy costs by xx percent, or the process improvements increased OEE by xx percent.
  • If you are unable to get end user (food processor) quotes, we may still have interest in the application story. We use this version online and in our bi-monthly eNewsletter. Think of these stories coming from a well know cereal manufacture or leading snack producer perspective. We require the same information, without the processor quotes or references.
  • Name of user company and name and title of person being quoted at the user Company

Quotes from supplier companies will not be used, and will be turned into straight text when appropriate.

  • Photograph of product, service, software at the food processor’s site—not a straight

product shot! Photograph must be print quality; that is high resolution jpg at 300 pixels per inch (ppi). Recommended physical size is at least 5×7 inches. Do not send Web quality. Don’t forget a suggested caption and photo credit. You may send more than one photo. Do not save screen dumps as jpg files! Use a non-destructive format (tif). Call for instructions!

  • Real name of a person, phone number and email at the supplier for more information

(sales contact)—no web addresses or [email protected] addresses!

  • Your contact info: Name, phone, email, address.

Please advise as to where this story may have already been published. If it has been used on a

competing publication’s website or in a printed magazine, we won’t be able to use it. If it’s been

published on a supplier’s website, we can use it as long as it’s not more than a year old. Obviously, if exclusive rights to use the story have already been given to someone else, please don’t send it to us. Please make sure of this first. Also, be sure you have cleared the story with the processor.

Please note: These stories are used on a FIFO basis (first in, first out). Publishing dates cannot be guaranteed, but complete submissions, of course, will be published before incomplete submissions.

Contact Debra Schug for more information: Debra Schug, Features Editor, Food Engineering,

[email protected], 847-405-4068.

If you liked this you may also like to read our Media Relations guidelines.

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Editorial Opportunities for Process Equipment Marketing

By Kevin Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Powder Build Solids, 973-786-6401, [email protected]

(This just in from Kevin, we’ve just started a PR campaign for our client Roto-Disc. You’ll see Kevin’s placement of our product release at Powder Bulk Solids Online.


All editorial submissions are considered for inclusion on our website at, as well as for our e-newsletters, and our print edition, and are free of charge. Call with any questions.

  • Equipment Reviews

– Roughly 150 words; preferably a Word document

– High-resolution jpg that is 300 dpi/ppi at 3 inches wide or larger

– Consideration for front cover/Editor’s Choice page

  • Case Studies/Application Stories

– Exclusivity: not previously published or offered elsewhere

– Roughly 1,000 to 2,000 words

– Few high-resolution images (jpg, 300 dpi/ppi, 3 inches wide) with short captions

  • Technical Articles/“How To” Articles

– Exclusivity: not previously published/offered elsewhere

– Educational/objective, non-promotional

– Up to 2500 words

– Few high-resolution images (jpg, 300 dpi/ppi, 3 inches wide) with short captions

  • Guest Column (“Industry Insight”)

– Appears on page 6 of every issue

– Topic coincides with the editorial focus of the issue (see editorial calendar)

– Educational/objective, non-promotional

– 700 words and a short bio on the author and head shot of author

  • Industry News

– Mergers, acquisitions, expansions, partnerships, promotions, new hires, new reps, etc.

– Includes a link to your/your client’s website

– Notification from me when it is live

For more information on how to write an application story go to the page in our Marketing Handbook.


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Forming for the Future, Metalworking Equipment Marketing

Hi Metalworking Equipment Marketer, Allow me to share a recent example of editorial work for our client Feintool.

I wanted to forward it because every marketer I know has been at a loss — at least once in a career — trying to get critical marketing materials written and produced.

For this piece, we attended Feintool’s symposium in Nashville and reported the results. Lohre handled the total editorial assignment from information gathering to writing, photography, printing and mailing of the publication.

Bottom line? Working with the Feintool team, Lohre was proud to bring great value to our client’s customers and employees by providing an educational and relevant story worthy of a read.

We’d be honored by the opportunity to collaborate with you and your team. Here’s the article and some of the photos:

Forming for the Future: Feintool 2014 North American Symposium 


Feintool hosted a two-day symposium to showcases its latest systems parts technology on September 30 and October 1, 2014. Speakers included Feintool’s North American management as well as invited guests representing thought leaders from the global automotive industry. Feintool hosted dozens of engineers and purchasing agents representing America’s largest automakers – 33 in all. The symposium covered critical issues facing the industry including a forecast of future trends, challenges and opportunities. Educational sessions, networking and a plant tour completed this unique gathering at Feintool’s Nashville, Tennessee, facility.

The focus of the educational sessions – faster speeds, more capabilities, lower costs and less risk — highlighted not only Feintool’s current abilities but served to plant the seed of future possibilities fineblanking and forming technology might have for those who attended. As one attendee suggested: One day they may have the perfect part for Feintool’s new capabilities.

A recap of the symposium.


Christoph Trachsler, CEO of Feintool North America, reviewed Feintool’s milestones by noting the company has completed a gradual sale of companies outside of the forming industry. Feintool refocused its core competence by reinvesting in forming and Feinblanking in the Nashville and Cincinnati locations. Feintool’s goal is to introduce a new innovation every two years making the company ready for the future. The audience learned of Tennessee’s mid-state region’s importance to fueling the automotive industry, but Christoph also took time to introduce the creative side of Nashville, Tennessee, best known for its pivotal role in the development of rock’n roll, blues and the Grand Ole Opry, which gave rise to Nashville’s musical dominance.

Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Feintool North America, Lars Reich’s theme was “Forming for the Future.” His presentation was subtitled, “Advanced drivetrain solutions for the toughest requirements – high part quality, low unit cost.” Reich noted the Feintool Tennessee plant and Center of Excellence was expanded recently to accommodate the $14-million USD customized 1,600-ton direct servo press that started operating there in March. With the new Fineblanking & Forming System™ (FFS) 18-ft-long working bed press, Feintool succeeded in marrying conventional forming with fineblanking, giving them new capabilities in the market, plus the best of both worlds. A typical formed and fineblanked part is a 4.5 mm high strength steel component featuring feinblanked teeth produced in the ninth of twelve stations. The flexibility of the FFS process allows Feintool U.S. to form and finish disc carriers, pistons, gear spiders, and driveplates, among other parts, in a single transfer-press run. That’s what makes this machine so powerful and a North American first.


David Petrovski, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, a leading provider of global market and economic information, presented a forecast of the North American auto industry. The auto production industry, he noted, is about to reach a new milestone not seen since the record year of 2006. He predicts by 2015, 17.4 million vehicles — a doubling of 2009 – will be sold. By 2021, that number will rise to 19 million cars. To meet that need automakers will be onshoring production to North America. Petrovski said the greatest potential for business will come from the global platform consolidation. In 2021, he noted, three quarters will be global platforms with the rest being US-centric, large pick-up trucks and SUVs. The mid-size and large segment growth will be flat or declining with all the growth in the other vehicle segments. By 2020 more than 2 million units will be exported from North America, Petrovski predicted. These forecasts are critical when aligning capital investments with the right business partners. With part life cycles getting shorter, drivetrains that used to be manufactured for 15 years now are looking at only a five- to eight-year lifecycle, Petrovski added.

Petrovski posed a series of thought-provoking questions for the engineers and purchasing agents in the room. Will consumers accept the new technologies required for efficiency that have a different driving experience? Also, many manufacturers have plans to deploy new technology but over time these keep getting pushed back because the existing technology is so much cheaper. Petrovski asked, “When you’re quoting new business with various engine and transmission manufacturers, think: ‘Is this a short five-year bandage or an eight-to 10-year, long-term direction this OEM is going in?’” There will be a huge jump in automatics with torque converter transmissions with 8 speeds or greater, from 2013 to 2021, he noted. CVTs are also showing some growth. “Asians have been very true to their CVT technology and now we’re seeing some of the Detroit 3 reconsidering the CVT especially for front wheel drive.” Petrovski concluded,

“Dual Clutch Transmissions remain relatively flat due to the poor consumer driving experience. Improved mpg legislation is the most significant driver of change so keep an eye on the efficiency reports; in the end that is what will really drive production, automakers will take drivetrains off the table if technologies don’t prove to be efficient enough.”


Engineer Willi Grimm, the owner of numerous patents and with Feintool since 1974, brought everyone up to speed with the technology in his session. One of his most important patents is the intool coining deburring technology deploying worldwide. It’s an evolution in process integration, boosting the output rate.

The entire world makes brake parts with feinblanking, one new example is a brake pad with a thickening process applied to a stress point. The material thickness is increased from 5.5 mm to practically 10.5 mm in the stressed area. The requirement comes from higher torque requirements, which broke the brake pad in this area. Instead of increasing the whole part material thickness, Feintool blanks the material larger than the final geometry and then pushes that material into the final geometry, increasing its thickness. Deburring coining was is also included in the tooling. It once was thought that heat treating could compromise the intool deburring, but Feintool has never found this to be the case, Grimm noted.

With its new out-of-strip processes, Feintool offers up to four additional processes that are balanced around the tool for a 100-percent balanced process. This system can eliminate one of the big disadvantages of a progressive tool, “the design is never able to balance the forces of a progressive process,” Grimm continued. The lifetime of balanced out-of-strip tooling is much better because there is no problem of table tilting.

Final examples were of dramatic increases in die cavities. Silent chain links from 1.7 to 2.7 thicknesses evolved from two cavities to twelve cavities. The cycle time to regrind the dies is no different with this many cavities, between 1 to 4mm material thickness. For door lock parts, Feintool’s new HFAspeed has achieved 100 strokes per minute at a four wide arrangement. CVT chain links have achieved ten times more output by increasing die cavities.


The high level of quality and accountability required in the vehicle manufacturing industry today was brought into focus by Daniel N. Sharkey, an attorney specializing in automotive recalls and warranties. About 80 percent of the big magnitude problems are warrantee issues. OEMs have set aside 2 percent of revenues for warrantee liability. OEMs have become more aggressive moving down the supply chain to implicate responsibility and obtain dollars from suppliers. Many OEMs rolled out new warranty agreements in the last three years. They acknowledge that both parties can be at fault, but in the gray areas the OEMs want a 50/50 split of the liability. “It’s not really a great deal when you step back and think about it,” Daniel said. He thinks the companies that will survive are smart, have the technology and are doing all the things Feintool is doing but they also have a little bit of backbone to stand up to the OEMs. At a very basic level, he said, what an OEM must decide is, “Is this a safety related issue? Recently, there have been seating cases where one would think it wasn’t safety-related but the OEM decided to recall anyway.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some requirements suppliers might not be aware of. If there is a fatality in a foreign country, from the same or substantially identical part you supplied and you know about it and your other customers don’t know about it, you have an independent regulatory duty to inform NHTSA.

And finally, because of the complexity of these examples it’s important that engineering knows something about the contract documents and the contract documents have to be informed of the technical issues. The stakes get really high really fast if you don’t define the population of parts and fight back against debted payables.


Larry White, one of Feintool’s process consultants, discussed the new plant design, which has been optimized for maximum versatility, speed, future growth and innovation. The Nashville plant just doubled its capacity, which required new raw material, production, staging and shipping areas. Ever focused on the future, the plant is also designed with the capability to again increase capacity. One look at the huge empty machine base for another Fineblanking & Forming System™ press communicates that.

Feintool constantly evaluates how it can protect its customers by understanding the world-class manufacturing process of OEMs. Intelligent diagnostics technology, in tools, presses and parts manufacturing will be a way of life. For that reason, Feintool maintains its own apprentice program. By training its people and developing core skills, Feintool remains future focused. That future led White to discuss Feintool’s Center of Excellence, which is always looking for the next advanced process capability invention.

The Nashville plant has 12 core processes set up to limit material moves in the plant. In fact, Feintool’s vision includes what its manufacturing plant should look like five years from now. They’ll accomplish that through maintenance elements, material elements and quality elements. Advanced Product Quality Planning, Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis and Control Plans if done correctly, maintained and with the correct feedback gives Feintool a firm standing. The European OEMs are getting really critical on having regional capability to evaluate parts and Feintool’s regional in-house labs meet that need.

A plant tour rounded out the two-day event. A highlight was seeing many of the presses in full production. The original Kasier was making clutch plates; the new 880 Plus was at full bore also on clutch plates and the new 1600-ton Fineblanking & Forming System™ was busy making clutch pack containers. Other typical parts produced at each of the machines were on display and illustrated the range of in tool and post-production capabilities such as assembly welding and turning. Quality was top of mind and attendees were able to see several stations where 100-percent inspection was being performed for the entire run and at other stations for the first 90 days. In the tool room visitors could see the press schedule on the wall, nearly all marked “Ready,” indicating the tooling was staged for the next production. Materials up to 12 mm thick, stroke rates of up to 200 strokes/minute and a die clearance of as little as 0.01 mm put a lot of demand on the tooling. Feintool’s new shop is up to the challenge.

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