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Category: Manufacturing

Apex Awarded Steelcase 2023 Supplier of the Year!

Exciting News!

Steelcase Inc, a leading supplier of office furniture worldwide has awarded Apex Spring and Stamping a “Preferred Supplier” status for 2023-2024.

Apex prides itself on Quality, Service, Cost Containment, Delivery, and innovation, which are all measured in its supplier scorecard. This has to be maintained over a 1 year period to be awarded this prestigious award.

A quote from our Supply Chain Lead said we were only 1 of 2 awarded this in her supply chain book of business.

Measurements are based on the following:

  • DPPM parts rejected parts per million
  • Risk Management – Financial Rating
  • Cost Management- Containment, and Reduction Ideation
  • Agility- Service Flexibility and
  • Engineering Support
  • Sustainability- Environmental awareness (Carbon Reduction)
  • On-time delivery- over 125,000 shipments to 7 locations, including 2 International.

This was accomplished through over 300 parts (individual components and assembly) including springs, stampings, wire forms, assembly, and kitting.

Apex Spring and Stamping has continued to provide all these categories at a high level for many years. We are proud to have had a working relationship with Steelcase since 1978.

How can we provide this to you? Start a conversation by Requesting A Quote or Contacting Us today.

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A Closer Look at Metal Stampings

What is Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is an essential process in the manufacturing industry as it enables the production of high-quality, precision parts with minimal waste. The process is used to create a wide range of products, including automotive parts, electronic components, medical devices, and household appliances. The ability to produce complex parts with high accuracy and the consistency makes metal stamping a crucial part of modern manufacturing.

The history of metal stamping can be traced back to the early 1800s when the first machine press was invented. This machine used a flywheel to apply force to a punch, which cut and shaped metal sheets into specific shapes. Over time, the process evolved to include more advanced machinery, such as the hydraulic and mechanical press.

Today, metal stamping has become an integral part of the manufacturing industry, with advanced machinery and techniques allowing for the production of complex parts with high precision and efficiency. The process continues to evolve, with new materials, tools, and technologies constantly being developed to improve the quality and speed of production.

Process & Techniques

The metal stamping process involves specialized machinery, including dies and punches, to cut and shape metal sheets into specific shapes and sizes. The process is typically performed on flat sheets of metal fed into a stamping press, where they are cut, bent, or shaped using a series of dies and punches.

Metal stamping is a versatile process that can be performed using various techniques depending on the complexity of the part being produced. Here are some of the most common metal stamping techniques:

Progressive Die Stamping

This technique is commonly used for the high-volume production of parts that require multiple operations to be performed on them. It involves feeding a metal strip through a series of dies that progressively cut, bend, and shape the metal into a finished part. Each die performs a specific operation, which can be automated for high efficiency.

Four-Slide Stamping

This technique uses a four-slide machine to bend and shape metal into complex parts. The machine has four moving slides that work together to create intricate shapes. Four-slide stamping is ideal for producing parts with multiple bends and shapes.

Multi-Slide Tooling

This technique is similar to four-slide stamping but uses a machine with more than four slides. The process is used to create complex parts with multiple bends and shapes. Multi-slide tooling is ideal for the high-volume production of small parts.

Deep Drawing Stamping

This technique uses a punch and dies to draw a flat metal sheet into a three-dimensional shape. The process creates parts with deep recesses or shapes that cannot be achieved through other stamping techniques. Deep drawing stamping is ideal for producing parts with a high depth-to-diameter ratio.

Transfer Die Stamping

This technique involves using a series of dies to transfer the metal sheet from one station to another, each station performing a specific operation. The process is used to create complex parts with tight tolerances. Transfer die stamping is ideal for producing large, complex parts.

Materials Used In Metal Stamping

Metal stamping can be performed on various materials, including metals, alloys, and composites. The choice of material will depend on the specific requirements of the finished part, including the desired properties, strength, and durability.

Tempered vs. Pre-Tempered Metals

Tempered and pre-tempered metals are two different types of metal alloys used in metal stamping. Tempered metals are heated to a high temperature and then cooled rapidly to create a hardened surface. This process is called quenching, making the metal much stronger and more resistant to wear and tear.

On the other hand, pre-tempered metals have been tempered before they are used in stamping. This means the metal has already undergone quenching and has a hardened surface. As a result, pre-tempered metals are more uniform in their hardness and have more consistent mechanical properties, making them easier to work with during the stamping process.

The choice between tempered and pre-tempered metals depends on the specific requirements of the part or component being produced. For example, pre-tempered metals are often preferred for applications where high precision and uniformity are required. On the other hand, tempered metals are often used in applications where the metal needs to be harder and more wear-resistant.

Tempered Metals:
  • Spring Steel (SAE-1050, SAE-1070-75, SAE-1095) Annealed and Pre-Tempered
    • Spring steel is a low-alloy, high-carbon steel known for its strength and durability. It is commonly used in metal stamping to produce springs and other parts that require high strength and flexibility. Spring steel can be annealed or pre-tempered to achieve the desired properties for the finished part.
  • Cold-Rolled (CRS-1008, CRS 1010) Steel
    • Cold-rolled steel is a low-carbon steel commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts with tight tolerances and a good surface finish. It is easy to form and weld and is ideal for producing parts that require strength and durability.
  • Brass Metal
    • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require corrosion resistance and good conductivity. It is easy to form and flexible, making it ideal for producing complex shapes and parts.
  • Beryllium Copper
    • Beryllium copper is an alloy of copper and beryllium commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require high strength and conductivity. It is ideal for producing parts requiring excellent fatigue and corrosion resistance.
  • Stainless Steel 301
    • Stainless steel 301 is a high-strength, low-carbon steel commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require excellent strength, corrosion resistance, and flexibility. It is ideal for producing parts that require good formability and weldability.
  • Stainless Steel 304
    • Stainless steel 304 is a low-carbon steel commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require good strength, corrosion resistance, and formability. It is ideal for producing parts that require good weldability and high durability.
  • Aluminum:
    • Aluminum is a lightweight, low-density metal commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require good strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. It is ideal for producing parts that require good formability and weldability.
Pre-Tempered Metals:
  • Martensite is steel quenched and tempered to achieve the high hardness and strength. It is commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require excellent wear resistance and durability.
  • Stainless steel, when pre-tempered, is an alloy of steel that has been heat-treated to achieve a specific level of hardness and strength. It is commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require strength, corrosion resistance, and durability.
  • Brass, when pre-tempered, is an alloy of copper and zinc that has been heat-treated to achieve a specific level of hardness and strength. It is commonly used in metal stamping to produce parts that require good conductivity, corrosion resistance, and durability.

Metal stamping is a versatile and efficient manufacturing process that involves shaping and forming metals into various parts and components. Several types of metal stamping techniques include progressive die stamping, four-slide stamping, multi-slide tooling, deep drawing stamping, and transfer die stamping. Each technique offers its advantages and is suitable for specific applications. The choice of material is also important in metal stamping, with a wide range of metals and alloys available, including pre-tempered metals such as martensite, stainless steel, and brass. Metal stamping is a cost-effective and reliable process widely used in various industries to produce high-quality parts and components.

Need help determining the right stamping process for your application? Contact us to start a conversation with one of our experienced team members or request a quote today.

Advantages of Metal Stamping

Metal stamping offers numerous advantages over other manufacturing processes. The following are some of the most significant advantages of metal stamping:

  • Cost-Effectiveness
    • Metal stamping is a cost-effective process that allows manufacturers to produce high volumes of parts and components at a low cost per unit. The process involves a high level of automation, reducing labor costs and increasing production efficiency.
  • Precision
    • Metal stamping is a highly precise manufacturing process that allows manufacturers to produce complex and detailed parts with high accuracy and consistency. The process allows tight tolerances and ensures that each part meets the required specifications.
  • Quick Production Turnaround Time
    • Metal stamping is a fast and efficient manufacturing process that allows manufacturers to produce large volumes of parts and components in a short amount of time. The high level of automation in the process allows for quick production turnaround times, reducing lead times and increasing production efficiency.
  • Versatility
    • Metal stamping is a versatile manufacturing process that can produce many parts and components, including simple and complex shapes, thick and thin materials, and various sizes and dimensions. The process can also work with various materials, including steel, aluminum, brass, and copper.

Metal stamping is a highly efficient, cost-effective manufacturing process that offers precise and consistent results. Its quick production turnaround time and versatility make it an essential process for many industries, allowing manufacturers to produce high volumes of parts and components at a low cost per unit.

Challenges with Metal Stamping

Although metal stamping offers many advantages, there are also several challenges that manufacturers face. The following are some of the most common challenges in metal stamping:

  • Design Complexity
    • Metal stamping can be challenging when producing parts and components with complex shapes and designs. Complex designs can make maintaining the required tolerances difficult and result in production errors.
  • Material Selection
    • The right material for a specific part or component is critical in metal stamping. Manufacturers must select materials that are compatible with the stamping process as well as the final application of the part. Choosing the wrong material can result in product failure, production errors, and increased costs.
  • Maintenance of Machinery
    • Metal stamping machinery requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and prevent downtime. Failure to maintain machinery can result in production errors, delays, and increased costs.
  • Quality Control
    • Quality control is critical in metal stamping to ensure that each part meets the required specifications. Quality control processes must be implemented throughout manufacturing to detect and correct errors or defects.

Overall, metal stamping can be a challenging process that requires careful planning and execution to overcome the challenges that manufacturers face. Design complexity, material selection, maintenance of machinery, and quality control are critical areas that manufacturers must focus on to ensure that the final product meets the required specifications and is delivered on time and within budget.

Why Partner With Apex Spring and Stamping

Apex Spring and Stamping is committed to being a leading manufacturer of metals stampings. By adopting a no-compromise policy on quality and engineering, we ensure customers the most cost effective product for their application. Cost-effective in house methods are used in manufacturing stampings, blanking, bending, drawing, swedging, and chamfering.

Metal stamping is the best cost-effective option for large quantities that require extreme precision and quality. It’s is our goal to provide products with:

  • Consistent Quality
  • Long-Lasting Capability
  • Best Value

Apex has equipment with the following production capacities:

  • (20) 45 – 250-ton gap frame presses
  • Press bed sizes range from 16.0” x 31.5” (45 ton) to 34.0” x 106.0” (250 ton)
  • In die sensing (standard on all tools)
  • Inline (die) tapping (reduced processes/handling)
  • In die staking (reduced processes/handling)
  • Customer-specific designs
  • Low to high volume run capabilities
  • Material Thickness: .010″ – .250″
  • Material Width: .079″ – 18.0″

Apex Currently Manufactures These Products:

  • Brackets
  • Hinge Plates
  • Stop Tabs
  • Compression Limiters
  • Fasteners
  • Speed Nuts
  • Tinner type clips
  • Automotive Center Console Parts
  • Horn Brackets
  • Wall System Brackets
  • Motion Control Brackets
  • Components for lighting and lamps
  • Products for decorative stamping
  • Components of bearings
  • Automobile components
  • Controls and components for appliances

As a leader in the production of high-quality stamping products, you can be confident in the products, solutions, services, and value we provide to our customers. It is always our goal to meet and exceed the needs of our customers.

Get the conversation started today!

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Current Supply Chain Challenges

An Update from Our Purchasing Department

By Kim R. Dykman

The purchasing team at Apex Spring & Stamping is always watching and monitoring the supply chain and markets. I’ll be honest, I was hopeful to greet a sense of “normalcy” in the markets after the new year. But, a few months into 2023, I am realizing that the “normal” we knew before, may never apply to manufacturing again. Despite this, our team will always forge forward, confident and determined to deliver the same level of service and quality our customers have come to appreciate.

Current Conditions

First, some good news is that some of the clogs in the supply chain have resolved themselves. There are still some shortages, and we have seen some items quoted with shorter lead times but unfortunately, the reasons for this are not positive. Due to higher interest rates, fears of recession, and certain sectors slowing down, there is still an increase in demand. Infrastructure projects, military equipment, and a handful of other industries continue to show 1% – 2% year over year global increases.

Digging Deeper

Many analysts are questioning decisions made by the industry as a whole. Over the past few years, the steel industry profits have increased but they have neglected to invest in their own future. The traditional production process for making steel is considered “high polluting”. Most of the mills have not invested in developing the technology needed to make the process cleaner and more efficient. Warehouses and distribution centers are critical links in the supply chain. Manufacturers rely on well-stocked suppliers to keep inventory moving, track orders accurately and fulfill them quickly. Additionally, due to the limited availability of a workforce, there is an increased need for automation. Yet most companies have neglected to purchase and implement the resources available.

Apex Response

Many customers were planning to see lower prices for steel, wire and many other items needed in the manufacturing process however, this is not what is happening. Instead, we are seeing increases every week in the market. Our suppliers are paying even more than they did at the height of the pandemic. While we are not happy with the ever-increasing prices we have made sure that Apex has material on order to make our customer’s due dates. Sometimes we don’t even know what the price will be when the material is delivered. However, to protect our customers we make sure it is delivered. The Apex team is doing several things in order to keep prices similar to what we paid in 2022 whenever possible. We are increasing amounts purchased, combining materials on incoming trucks to save on freight, and in some cases locking in prices for material already on our service center’s shelves. Our team will continue to think of creative and new ways to keep our pricing level when we can.

Can We Help?

At Apex, we are dedicated to meeting all challenges, including those from the supply chain, head on. We work hard to provide competitive pricing and on time delivery to our customers, and we always will. Can we help with your next project? contact us or request a quote today!

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A Deep Dive Into Industrial Springs

Industrial Springs

Since their invention, industrial springs have become paramount in the world of engineering and construction. Not only are they important in providing necessary flexibility, but they are also equally important in ensuring stability in both large and small structures, machines, and equipment. A spring is a mechanical component that is elastic and deflects when under load; it then straightens up when the load is released. Although there are many distinct spring designs, the term is frequently used in daily speech to refer to coil springs. Conventional springs are primarily made of spring steel, while various non-metallic materials, such as the bow, are also springs.

What is an Industrial Spring?

An industrial spring is another name given to a normal spring that is manufactured from metallic or non-metallic material in order to provide support, flexibility, and mobility to industrial equipment, structures, machines, etc. Different types of industrial springs used in creating products, such as watches, telephones, and other consumer electronics, can be made via fast prototyping technologies like 3D printing and CNC machining.

Some of the most popular products include industrial springs in their design. This means it’s necessary to make informed decisions when selecting an industrial spring. From an engineering or technical point of view, springs are mechanical devices that can store energy when force is applied to them. This energy is then released in the form of restoring force that tries to bring the spring back to its equilibrium position. Industrial springs have a plethora of applications due to their unique characteristics and working mechanisms.

Compression Springs

Compression springs are characterized by their resistance to axial compressive forces. They are one of the most prevalent and effective energy-storage springs. A compression spring compresses, or shortens, in response to applied force, storing energy in the process. This energy is released as the spring tries to stretch back to its original length, “pushing back” against the weight. An example of a compression spring is a wave spring.

Extension Springs

Extension springs and tension springs are two terms for springs that can resist tensile forces or pressures that try to pull them apart. They are initially coiled with tension, and when they are lengthened, they attempt to return to their initial shape, which results in a “pulling” force. These springs can be easily linked to elements that need to be kept together by the force of the spring because they have loops or hooks on the ends.

Torsion Springs

In contrast to axial tension or compression forces, torque-resistant applications require the use of torsion springs. Helically wrapped springs with arms on the ends, known as “torsion springs,” spin around their central axis. The arms are attached to the extraneous parts, which provide pressure on the spring. It’s crucial to remember that a torsion spring must only be loaded in a direction that causes the diameter of the spring to shrink. The torsion springs found in clothespins are a typical example.

Applications of Industrial Springs

Industrial springs, as mentioned earlier, are abundantly utilized in a wide range of industries, whether it is to provide flexibility or to stabilize a structure. Based on their characteristics and properties, here are some of the useful applications of industrial springs:

Automotive Industry

Industrial springs’ cylindrical design provides for uniform tension and frictionless action over the whole spring. Because of this, they are utilized in car suspension systems, automotive valves, gear shifters, and clutches.

Furniture Industry

In the furniture industry, industrial springs are used in abundance because of their elasticity and flexibility. Furniture is designed for human comfort or ergonomics, and industrial springs are employed in the manufacturing process to achieve those objectives. Moreover, industrial springs are even used in leather sofas to provide the required elasticity and stability for the user.

Electric Vehicles

Industrial springs are equally important in the manufacturing process of electric vehicles. They ensure that electric vehicles are stable and streamlined in their operation.

Agricultural Industry

As you might expect, springs that are large, strong, user-friendly, and have a long working life are needed for the kind of machinery utilized in the agriculture sector. Stainless steel springs with two bodies perform admirably in such demanding applications. Tractors, sprayers, plows, and even fertilizer equipment can all use torsion springs.

Medical Industry

Springs of high strength and durability are required for the medical industry. Springs must also be employed for complicated machinery. As a result, torsion springs are made of high-carbon steel. Torsion springs have medical applications such as hospital beds, medical immobilization devices, dental applications, and wheelchair lifts.

Need help determining the right compression spring for your application? Contact us to discuss your needs with one of our experienced team members or call us at 616.453.5463.

Materials Used For The Manufacture Industrial Springs

Apex Springs specializes in the production of compression, extension, and torsion springs, keeping quality standards and reliability their top priorities. The materials utilized by Apex Springs for manufacturing industrial springs include the following:

  • Wire forms
  • Customized material (e.g., music wire per ASTM A228, precoated material, chrome silicon, stainless steel)

Moreover, Apex Springs also offers top-quality post-processing offerings such as:

  • Stress relieving
  • Shot peening
  • Protective coatings

What Affects the Performance of an Industrial Spring?

The performance of an industrial spring primarily depends on the following factors:

  • Design: The design of the spring, or, in other words, the type of the industrial spring, affects its performance level. Some types of springs are specific to certain applications.
  • Material: The material of the spring greatly affects an industrial spring’s performance. Fatigue cracks may spread faster and farther with lower-grade material than with higher-quality material. These flaws increase the spring’s wear and tension, hastening its failure.
  • Wire Shape/Wire Diameter: The spring rate improves as the wire’s diameter does. The wire becomes stronger and more challenging to deflect as it gets thicker.
  • Heat Treatment: This improves the shear strength, toughness, and tensile strength of a spring, resulting in much longer fatigue life. In addition, it improves ductility and impacts the material’s unique features, such as elasticity, hardness, etc.
  • Finishing: Industrial springs should go through the process of finishing to protect them from corrosion and abrasion.

Why Partner With Apex Spring and Stamping

As a world leader in the production of high-quality springs, you can be confident in the products, solutions, services, and value we provide to our customers. It is always our goal to meet and exceed the needs of our customers.

Get the conversation started today!

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Types of Compression Springs

What is a Compression Spring

The main characteristic of compression springs is their open coil helical shape that is wound to oppose compression along their axis. They are the most common form of spring and are found in a wide assortment of applications. Although compression springs can work independently of other mechanisms, they are normally included as part of an assembly or construct.

Compression springs are made of steel, stainless steel, steel music wire, or spring steel. As the diameter of the wire increases, the springs become stronger and more durable, capable of withstanding more aggressive and forceful use.

Since compression springs are one of the most-used springs, they are available in a wide assortment of sizes and shapes as extensive as their different types.

Advantages of Compression Springs

Compression springs are wound with a constant diameter in various shapes, such as convex, conical, and concave forms. They store energy or resist compressive stress. Regardless of their shape and size, all compressive springs provide the same axial compressive force. This ability is due to their durability and strength and is why they are so widely used.

Prevention of Motion

A major benefit of compressive springs is their ability to prevent the motion of another part or component. This aspect of their properties makes them ideal for controlling and connecting components.

Return

When compression is released from a compression spring, it returns to its initial position. This factor plays a role in their use with other components. As a compression spring returns, it repositions any part or component to which it is attached.

Maintenance-Free

In manufacturing operations, a constant concern is the monitoring of equipment and machinery, which need regularly-scheduled maintenance. This is not true for compression springs. They compress and release without the need for lubrication, maintenance, or monitoring.

Light Weight

One of the reasons for the popularity and general use of compression springs is their light weight and ease of use. Part of the formation of compression springs is the spiraling of steel wire. This form increases the hardness of the wire and gives it greater endurance than it would have as linear wire. Additionally, the metal of a compression spring is heated and cooled, which makes it possible to withstand the demands of heavy loads.

Stability

Of the many advantages of compression springs, their stability and strength is one of their most crucial benefits. While other types of springs may bend or buckle when deflected, compression springs avoid buckling due to their lateral stability.

Affordability

Compression springs are made of inexpensive materials and metals such as steel, which are easily accessible and reasonably priced. Less metal is required to produce compression springs, making them a highly-affordable solution for any application.

Different Types of Compression Springs

The term compression spring encompasses a wide array of different types of springs each of which is designed to meet the needs of a specific application. The range and types of compression springs come in different sizes, shapes, and configurations, factors that impact the amount of force and tension they can provide. The various forms of compression springs determine the power they contain and are able to deliver.

Concave Compression Springs

Concave compression springs have an hourglass shape with narrower coil windings in their middle than on either end. Their shape helps them remain centered over a point that has a large diameter. An added advantage of concave compression springs is their symmetrical shape.

Convex Compression Springs

Convex compression springs, also known as barrel springs, have a wider diameter in their middle and smaller diameters on both ends. When they are compressed, their coils fit within each other, which allows for a greater amount of deformation. Convex compression springs save space, eliminate buckling, and come in shapes and sizes to fit the needs of an application. They are used where stability and movement resistance are critical.

Conical Compression Springs

Conical compression springs are shaped like ice cream cones with a large diameter on one and a smaller diameter on the opposite end. The coils gradually taper as they move along the length of the spring. In some designs, the change between coil diameters is sufficient to allow the individual coils to fit inside each other. The stability of conical springs increases as their height decreases. Conical compression springs have superior compression strength due to their stability and are less likely to buckle or lose their balance when compressed.

Straight Coil Compression Springs

Straight coil compression springs are the most common form of compression spring. They are used in a wide assortment of mechanical and powered applications. Each coil of a straight compression spring has the same diameter regardless of the thickness of the wire. They have the shape of a tube or cylinder and come in varying diameters and lengths.

Volute Compression Springs

Volute compression springs have a cone shape that is similar to conical compression springs. The difference between them is the form of the materials used to make them. Volute compression springs, unlike other springs, do not use curled or swirled wire. Instead, they have curled sheets of metal or other material that gives the appearance of a tower or circular ramp.

Like conical and convex compression springs, the sheets of metal of a volute compression spring slide inside each other when the spring is compressed. When fully compressed, volute compression springs form a solid stable height.

Variable Pitch Compression Springs

Variable pitch compression springs have varied space between their coils. The pitch of a compression spring is the distance between the adjacent coils of wire, which are at different intervals in variable pitch compression springs. They have a non-linear load that minimizes resonant surging and vibrations. In some designs, the pitch in the middle of the spring is closer to reduce tangling.

The six springs listed above are a small sampling of the many types of compression springs that are available. Different varieties of these valuable tools are continually being developed and perfected to fit unique and innovative designs and applications.

Need help determining the right compression spring for your application? Contact us to discuss your needs with one of our experienced team members or call us at 616.453.5463.

Materials Used to Manufacture Compression Springs

The properties and characteristics of the materials used to produce compression springs determine their performance, how they are made, and their useful life. The most-common metal used to manufacture compression springs is steel with other metals used to meet environmental or manufacturing standards.

  • Brass – Brass wire has corrosion and water resistance but is expensive and used for specialized compression springs.
  • Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is regularly used to produce compression springs due to its corrosion and heat resistance.
  • Music Wire – Music wire is one of the best materials for the production of compression springs. It is cold drawn and has exceptional strength with a smooth clean finish.
  • Hard Drawn MB – Hard drawn MB has a high carbon content with an average level of stress tolerance at low cost.
  • Oil Tempered – Oil tempered compression wire is formed in a high-precision casting process. It has exceptional tensile strength, superior straightness, and is used for large diameter springs.
  • Carbon Steel – Carbon steel is one of the most common materials used to manufacture compression springs due to its superior strength, low cost, and availability.

The Benefits of Apex Spring and Stamping

Apex Spring and Stamping has been producing high-quality products for over 40 years and is recognized as a world leader in the production of high-quality springs. We provide solutions, services, and value to our customers through our exceptional customer service and highly-qualified technical staff.

The goal of Apex Spring and Stamping is to meet and exceed the needs of our customers. Our belief in sustainability and excellence is what has made us successful.

Get the conversation started by Requesting A Quote or Contacting Us today to discuss your project with a member from our team. We are ready to serve you.

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A Message of Tribute and Hope This Christmas

In Memory of Mom

Charlotte 1940-2022

Having just lost Mom a few weeks ago after her courageous fight with breast cancer, I know that she would want me to use this Christmas message to accomplish three goals:

  • Save a life
  • Love your Family
  • Recognize the greatest gift from God

Our journey started exactly this time last year when I received the call from Mom’s neighbor that Mom was not well. For the first time in forever, we did not spend Thanksgiving with our Family in Manistee because co-vid was raging. The fear of spreading the virus cost us a year of family time and memories together. As a result, I did not see Mom in person and moms sure can do a great job of hiding what is really going on.

Her Journey With Cancer

I immediately drove from Grand Rapids to Manistee only to find Mom in excruciating pain in her back and very weak. Words could never do justice for the amount of pain she was in. Through a snowstorm and unfortunately every bump in the road we got her to Grand Rapids. Fortunately the hospital admitted her as they were at full capacity with Co-vid patients taking every room possible. We were put in the hallway of a covid floor in the emergency department. They determined that Mom had cancer in her bones and a tumor in her back that was causing this horrible pain. The cancer was traced back to being metastatic hormone receptor+ breast cancer. She had a very large lump and the cancer was stage 4. The doctors worked miracles and were able to perform a procedure that “fried” the tumor and then filled the void with epoxy. It was simply amazing!

The next stop was Mary Free Bed rehabilitation here in Grand Rapids. The staff was so kind and caring that Mom was able to graduate in early January pain free (other than Tylenol PM.) She wanted to go home to spend what time she had left with her friends in Manistee. So, we found an assisted living home for her to move into.

We asked Mom if she had done annual mammograms and how did this cancer happen so fast. Unfortunately, she had been told that after 75 years mammograms were optional. As a result, she decided not to have the testing done.

For the next 11 months Mom had to have infusions and treatments every 3 weeks at the Ludington Cancer Center which is 40 minutes south of Manistee. These treatments basically would eliminate her estrogen and progesterone, because those hormones were feeding the cancer. We understood that this would only buy time as there is no cure for stage 4 breast cancer.

I would drive to Manistee from Grand Rapids then to Ludington and wait for the 3 hour treatment and then take her back to Manistee then back to Grand Rapids. On these days, I would work early before I left, at the Cancer Facility while I waited and then again in the evening when I got back to Apex. All of this was without hesitation for Mom. But, I remember when I thought to myself, how can I make it through this day. Then Mom put everything in prospective. During these trips we had such great time just talking and spending time together. One day she looked at me and said “Dennis there is one good thing about this cancer”. I asked her what in the world are are you talking about and she looked at me and said “I get to see my son more often.”

We continued with the treatments and her neighbors were so helpful in taking her to local appointments and sometimes even to Ludington.

Mom had 11 great months that she was able to spend with her family and friends, and by some miracle, she spent it all pain free. She died peacefully on November 9th. And by God’s grace, the pain she was so scared that would come back, never did.

Life, Love, and The Greatest Gift

So this message is for you Mom, and we know we can make it count and make a difference. If we accomplish just one of the following it was worth the journey you had.

Save a life – Mom stopped getting Mammograms. Please for all the women do not stop this yearly task no matter what age you are. Breast Cancer with early detection is one of the most curable cancers! As a matter of fact, many people because of co-vid stopped doing their annual tests for so many health needs. Please get back on track as prevention or early detection is the difference between life and death.

Love your Family – The holiday season is the greatest time to spend time with your Family. We never know what God’s plan is for us and we should recognize how precious our time is and how much love we have for each other. I know that we will miss Mom so much this Christmas. I encourage you to take this Christmas to spend time with your family, and make lasting memories.

Recognize the gift – Most importantly, I hope you know that God gave us the greatest gift of all time. It is not something you earn. It is not a right. It is simply a free gift from Him! God gave his only Son to die for us. Jesus Christ is our Savior. All we have to do is BELIEVE.

The Apex team wishes everyone a Merry Christmas! Make it the best one ever!

Dennis K. Bhaskaran – CEO

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New Press Means New Capabilities

Introducing Our Newest Press

Our team makes every effort to continue to adapt to meet the needs of our customers. That’s what commitment and strong relationships look like. A recent area of growth is in our press department. Added to our team is a brand new 250 ton press (made by AIDI). We’re pretty excited about this new addition and we thought you might be too.

How This Changes Things

Earlier this year, our team recognized the need and opportunity to expand our metal stamping capabilities with bigger press. So, once we decided on the machine and where it would be located, we started demolition on the plant floor. It was necessary to pour a new 18” concrete slab to support it’s weight. After all, it weighs approximately 72,000 lbs. It also features a 106” bolster. That’s almost double the size of our bolster on the next largest press. Obviously this larger bed allows us to take on larger more complex parts that require larger dies with more stations. Additionally, this means more capabilities and efficiencies.

We Are Here to Help

We’d love to share more with you about our new capabilities and how the new press changes things for us and our customers. Projects we may not have been able to do in the past, are now possible. Therefore, whatever you have coming up in the future, we’d love to help. Get the conversation started by Requesting A Quote or Contacting Us today.

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FAQ’s About Selecting Material

The Apex Approach to Selecting Material

Our team understands the importance of selecting the right material for a project. It can have a huge impact on success. Therefore we take necessary steps to ensure we source properly for each project we work on. The following are several of the most frequently asked questions related to selecting material for your project.

How do we begin the selection process?

First, in order to determine the most relevant material for the application, we ask a variety of questions, including the following:

  • What is the operating temperature for the product?
  • Will the component have cyclical stress or static Loading?
  • What type of environment will the product be exposed to in its normal conditions?
  • How long do you expect the product to last?

All of these questions are very important. But in addition to these, we must consider the current 2022 market conditions because it has led to one of the most important questions. Is the material available for purchase? Because of worldwide shortages caused by Geo-Political upheaval, some material is not readily available. Furthermore, finding “Like” material is difficult. Because products are designed in different areas of the world, specifications are different. For example, material from the Pacific Rim might be completely different from a European product design. Therefore we understand the importance of cross-referencing “like” materials. It can be tricky and sometimes downright dangerous in certain applications. You can be assured that our team has the necessary experience, and dedication, to successfully consider all factors and find the right material for the application.

What are the consequences making the wrong selection?

Product failure is the most catastrophic result of sourcing material failure. But most of the time, testing of the finished product will weed out any bad selections.

Cost overruns is the next risk of not sourcing the right material. Apex for a long period of time did not index its material purchased and had a tough time of it with the material run-up in 2021 and 2022. We now index our materials and have gotten customers to buy into the process. If you are not indexing the material, free fall will make it almost impossible to provide a competitive price, or stay in business long.

Inability to find the material is another risk. Today, longer lead times are not uncommon. For example, 24 to 48 weeks might be the lead time just to get the material. But it is nearly impossible for a supplier to plan out that long for demand on projects. Therefore alternatives need to be investigated and confirmed to prevent this from happening.

Our team considers all these factors and works hard to prevent any negative consequences.

When is the right time to make decisions about the material?

Planning for the material selection should be done upfront in the design stages. Also, consulting with us is one of the most important decisions any customer can make.

We recognize that this makes it difficult for the supply chain that wants to competitively bid out the product to multiple suppliers. Apex has always been committed to making our pricing the most competitive. But, upfront consulting is hard to do when the product has not been awarded to a supplier. Our customers trust us and know that the Engineering consultation will pay dividends in the long run with a strong partnership. For example, we have developed long and strong relationships with many of our spring customers.

A good design and material selection means you have a much better chance of getting on-time deliveries with great quality, at a competitive price. This is done with us involved up front in the design process, through prototyping, and other tools into production.

The Apex Commitment

We have always had the attitude that we are here to partner with our customers, and serve them in any way we can. This includes selecting the right material for every project. Call anyone at our company, and they will go out of their way to help you, even though it might not be their department or responsibility. This is a top-down attitude that has made the culture at Apex a great place to work. We are passionate about springs, stampings, wire forms, and assembly, and that is our expertise. Why not let us help you with your program or problem? As usual, the first question we always ask is, “How can we help?”

Contact us or request a quote today to get the conversation started!

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A Guide to Prototyping at Apex

Why Prototype?

A prototype provides specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one. By definition, a prototype is an early sample, model, or pre-release of a product built to test a concept or process. So, why is it valuable? Well, developing pre-production parts serves as proof of concept. It also makes sure a part is feasible to manufacture and feasible to produce. A well-thought design will fit the category of these things:

  • Cost Effective Manufacturing Process
  • Ease of assembly
  • Ease of Tooling
  • Reduction in Tooling changes and costs to change hard tooling
  • Reduction in scrap by optimization of blank or material

Who Should Prototype & Where To Go?

Many OEM companies go to prototype shops to help develop a part for their products. Unfortunately, many of those shops have no interest in whether or not the part is feasible to manufacture (DFM = design for manufacturing). They have no concept or experience in developing a production process. So, they make the parts as is, and you are stuck with the development that is not manufacturable. This is why it is wise to use a production house, like Apex Spring and Stamping. Our strong development team provides engineering services to develop a cost-effective sample that is easy to manufacture.

When to Prototype

The best time to do prototypes is when you are in the design and development stage of any project. Often, the spring product is overlooked. We may need to fit the overstressed part into a tight space, and if not properly developed, we are typically set up for design failure. Doing a prototype can avoid this failure.

NOTE: The most important thing to ask a spring designer: How much space do you need to make this design a success?

A Story of Prototype Success

Apex is always pleased when prototyping leads to success for our customers. A great example is a story about one of our customers who was developing a consumer product. They came to us with the complex stamped metal part. They invited us into the development stage, and we worked for 6 months to develop a cap and base for a personal hygiene product. Early development resulted in a reduction in tooling changes and the feasibility of forming the correct material for the correct application.

The following describes many of the elements that contributed to the development of this unique consumer product.

Material Selection

The material selection was critical for this product. A stainless steel was selected based on its ability to polish, and keep from rusting in a very tough environment. This was a consumer product that was exposed to harsh chemicals and moisture with a high susceptibility to rust in a bathroom environment. Also, this product needs to be portable in backpacks, purses, or utility bags.

Initial Scanning and 3d Printing in Plastic

This was critical to development. We took three dimensional CAD Data and made it into a touch-and-feel product. Shown above are…

  • 3d printed part for touch and feel samples
  • Draw Tooling sample before cut-off development on the lip.
  • Tumbling example for cut-off development
    Polishing example for mirror finish

Forming Simulation and Tooling Design

Image from Simulator Software to Prepare for Manufacturing

When the final material was selected, the biggest question was: can we draw a 300-400 series stainless steel to the depth needed for the design of this product?

To answer this question, the thinning and thickness of steel were simulated in software that Apex has access to in their tool room. Apex can simulate how the metal will flow very accurately before an actual part is ever manufactured. This simulation also helped with the development of the prototype tooling. Shown below is an image from the simulation software.

Development from the forming simulation was critical for the production and cost of the part. Simulations help with making the best of the strip utilization, for costing.

Special Cut-Off Development

Also for this product, the cut-off burr was not acceptable. It required there be no sharp edges. Therefore, the development of the cut-off was critical to the success of the product.

The four areas that were attacked were the:

  1. Cut-Off Process
  2. The Tumbling Process
  3. The Coating Process
  4. The Polishing Process

This all helped with the final edge of the part.

Finish

Also critical to the functionality and look of the product was powder coating and masking.
When used the cap and base mated with plastic internal parts. So, the sizing (with the coating) is important. The required size was determined by the force a user would require in order to open and close the product. Therefore, special consideration was used for the process and tolerance stack up for the final product success.

Polishing & The Finished Product

The bottom of the unit was a separate draw form and the dimensional and finish were also critical for the product. Therefore, we developed some polishing systems to make the stainless steel very highly polished. It was also a reusable option for reducing the amount of plastic in landfills.

This is an image of the finished product. Our team and the customer were very pleased with it. It exceeded expectations in quality and was delivered on time. And, prototyping was a critical step in the journey to success for this customer and this product. What projects are you working on right now that could benefit from a prototype? Contact us or Request a Quote today!

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Superior Engineering Solutions at Apex

Experienced Sales and Engineering Team Provides Exceptional Solutions

Since 1977, the Apex Spring and Stamping team has worked hard to solve customers’ challenges, including challenges in engineering.  It takes an entire company effort to provide the final product, be on time and exceed expectations. But kicking off that process is our dedicated group of sales engineers and their team. Many of our customers depend on us to help design and engineer their products. This service is one of the things that sets us apart from our competitors. Our team is highly skilled, and truly excels in providing a valuable design to make products a success. 

Working with our Engineering Team

The goal of the sales and engineering team is to provide you with knowledge and solutions. Their job is to act as a consultant and partner.  They access your needs through listening, asking questions, and finally they provide recommendations. The team’s priority is to provide information to help you make the best decision for your project. Throughout the process they are dedicated to keeping you informed. This partnership is part of what makes Apex’s relationships strong and long lasting. 

Added Value

The following are several examples of the partnership experience our team provides. These are ways we put your needs first, deliver on our promises, and provide superior service and solutions.

Material Science

At times, our team will encourage you to consider alternative material.  We may recommend you go to a stronger wire for your spring requirement because we feel the chosen material might get over stressed. Our knowledge in material science says we have a duty and responsibility to inform you. We want the product to be a success.

On-time delivery

We are committed to delivering your product on time. This includes clear communication of needs and deadlines. Our ability to deliver is one of our competitive strengths.  It definitely separates us from our competition.  

Keeping You Informed and Following Up

Communication is key, and we are committed to keeping you informed.  We will contact you and confirm you received the CAD drawings.  We will ask about final quantities so we are able to quote accurately.  Also, during the process we may recognize an opportunity to save valuable time and money.  When this happens we’ll let you know.  For instance, it may be wise to consider having Apex assemble the final project that includes parts from Apex and from other vendors. Whatever the situation, we’ll stay connected and communicate regularly. 

Meet The Team

Leading Apex’s charge in providing exceptional service are three Apex sales engineers.  They take the time to listen to customer needs, and provide the right solution. The team also works together often to critically think, troubleshoot, brainstorm, and problem solve.  All together, a strong team, working to build solid relationships, and high quality products.  The following will introduce you to our key sales engineer team members.

Tom Little Sales Engineer

Heading up our sales engineering team is Tom Little. He is an Apex veteran of 36 years with extensive knowledge in the automotive, office and consumer product markets. His engineering career has been exclusively in the spring, stamping and wireform industry. He is a pillar in Apex’s reputation of helping customers find solutions to difficult engineering challenges. Many times Tom has turned the napkin drawings into the needed 3D cad models, and it’s just what the customer needed.

Another key member of the sales engineer team is Tom Walkons. His engineering expertise has developed many solutions for our customers. He’s been an Apex team member for the past 10 years, and has built strong relationships with customers who rely on his expertise and knowledge. He also has extensive knowledge in the automotive, EV auto, office and agricultural industries.

Tom Walkons Sales Engineer
TJ Tygeson Sales Engineer

Additionally, the next key member of the sales and engineering team, is TJ Tygesen. TJ has been with Apex for 7 years. As a talented engineer he’s continued to gain vital knowledge and expertise in the automotive, medical and consumer product industries. TJ focuses on building strong relationships, finding the right solution, and keeping delivery, quality, and price, front and center.

Can Our Engineering Services Help You?

Whatever the challenge, whatever the need, the Apex sales and engineering team is ready to help you find the right solution. We have an extensive supplier base to help with mating components, assembly, and problem solving. We model in Solidworks as our native software, which can be imported back to your native CAD software. Contact us today or Request A Quote to get the conversation started and learn more about how we can partner together to accomplish more! How can we help?

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