It was another great year in Germany for Compamed/Medica 2019. We had a very successful show. It was great to see our current international customers as well as come US-based customers that made the trip. Looking back over the years, we discovered that this was our 13th year doing the show. Every year we learn something new, and we also take pride in teaching our customers new things as well. Here are the top three questions we were asked this year at the trade show.
“Is Apple Rubber more expensive than China?”
It was strange to hear this question asked so many times this year. This is a hard question because there is a lot of factors that go into it. If you are looking for a very cheap o-ring made from standard material and sizes with a very low-quality level, then yes; we are probably more expensive. Of course, we are not seeing applications like this anymore. With many of the quality standards, customers require a higher level even on their commercial-grade components. We are seeing more AQL levels that are 0.65 or lower compared to a 2.0 level. Customers drive for “zero defect,” and low-level quality is no longer an option. Our US manufacturing strives to provide the highest quality level. We even have automated inspection machines that precisely test the part for high-level quality assurance.
Our manufacturing capabilities also allow us to remove a large portion of labor costs in a part. This makes us very competitive compared to offshore manufacturing. New rubber injection machines allow for fully automatic cycles that produce high quality and low cycle time parts. Cryogenic deflash equipment allows us to reduce very low flash parts at high cycle rates. Since these cycles are easily reproducible, we can then limit the amount of inspection time to reach high-quality parts. All of these factors make us more competitive in the industry.
“What is your minimum run size?”
We worked on a project that only required the development of one part. Of course, it was a very critical application so the part needed to be of the highest quality and tolerance. We work on many engineering solutions, and we work directly with customers to help design seals to meet application needs. Many of our customers go through design validations, so they need to produce low volume tooling. With our in-house mold making capabilities, we can produce low cavity tooling to help customers test their design. With seals, surface finish and tolerances are critical. This is why we produce hardened tools. We also don’t use aluminum tooling or 3D printed parts. This assures us that the customer will test exactly what they would get in full production tooling. Typically, the cost for low volume is much higher than production tooling. This is due to the setup cost over a small quantity.
“Do you have a representative in Europe?”
We work directly with our global customers from our headquarters here in the US, which reduces the chances of miscommunication on design or critical requirements. Most business today is done through email. This maintains good records for both customers and vendors while making it easier to deal directly. Because many of the parts we sell are small, shipping concerns are limited; there is no waiting for a boat to sail across the ocean before getting parts. Now, parcels are flown within a few days. When it comes to our micro o-rings, we can ship a million parts in an envelope, making express shipping costs very low.
Compamed was a great show to attend. Seeing old customers and meeting potential new customers is always fun for us. We look forward to seeing more customers next year at Compamed 2020.