Category Archives: business

40 Years of HARBEC: Part 2

1987-1997… Growing, Transforming and Embracing New Ideas

During Harbec’s second decade, many significant changes and opportunities were in store. By 1987 Harbec had outgrown the barn and it was time to come out into the open and find a real manufacturing space that could offer them a solid opportunity to grow and develop. The pursuit of a better space lead Bob Bechtold to an opportunity in nearby Ontario that was conveniently located and was an enormous, 10,000 square feet of space and coming from the 2000 square foot barn basement, this seemed like more space than it could ever use. Now the business was able to grow and expand and in only a couple of years they were already starting to add on to what would grow to over 50,000 square feet in the years to come.

This was also the decade of plastics for Harbec. During that time the company was called “Harbec Manufacturing”. It was doing general machining, pattern making and model making and enhancing these wherever possible with the strength and precision of CNC. They were also getting a taste of plastics through the rubber molding they did as part of their model making. Bob believed, “the business indicators at that time were offering much more consistent and positive growth in the plastics industry,” so he formed a second company named Harbec Plastics.

This is also the period when they completed their first addition to the building. They had a chance to mold clear plastic boxes for holding baseball cards. Initially they were successful producing a single box cube and from that the customer offered them the chance to mold the ‘triple cube’. The problem was that they did not have a big enough press or a place to put it. In the pursuit of opportunity, they took the job and while they were building the mold (6 or 8 weeks), they added an addition to the front of the building. They bought and installed the new (actually pretty old and used, but new to them) 400 ton injection molding machine and built the mold for the ‘triple cube’ sports card collector’s box.

That 9,000 square foot addition allowed them to put all the molding machines in the new area which meant they could dedicate the complete original front of the building to machining. Around this time they also decided to merge the original Harbec Manufacturing Co. into Harbec Plastics, Inc. and became one company which years later would become the present HARBEC, Inc.

CNC machining continued getting stronger and stronger but the pattern shop was diminishing and eventually faded away. The skills used in pattern making are similar to those used in model making so as the pattern work dried up, they replaced it with a new line of business. They developed their ability to make proof of concept , engineering models where precision and material type were required to be as close to production intent as possible. It was the pursuit of this ability that led them eventually to aluminum ‘bridge’ tooling and additive manufacturing.

Before they developed aluminum tool making, if the customer needed multiple plastic prototypes, the best they could offer them was to either CNC machine them, or to cast plastic parts from silicone rubber molds. This process required a ‘master’ of the needed part to be precision machined and then it was encapsulated in silicone rubber. After it hardened they would remove the machined ‘master’ and then pour liquid urethane into the void of the rubber mold cavity. They could usually get about 25 urethane parts from the rubber mold before it would fail. One of the most significant jobs they ever used this on was a virtual reality helmet. They produced over 100 units for the customer who then gave them to software developers so they could be using them to write the programs and games while the production tooling was being built.

Virtual Reality helmet molded by Harbec in the 90s.

They were constantly trying to find ways to improve their ability to produce engineering prototypes. This led them to investigate the potentials of a new technology that was being introduced called rapid prototyping or 3D printing. In the early days the 3D processes were Stereo Lithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) came shortly thereafter. While these processes were capable of doing some things well, they were not able to use the exact materials or produce the accuracies that you could get from a CNC machined part. Bob Bechtold shares, “We had confidence that these technologies would be of major importance in the future and we wanted to be part of it.”

They purchased their first 3D printing equipment in the mid 90’s and went through several different devices before they got the DTM brand SLS technology machine. This machine was able to produce, as an example, a nylon part to +/-.005″ tolerance and so they were able to use it to produce functional and accurate engineering prototypes. At about the same time they were trying to figure out a way to produce their molds faster and cheaper like the rubber molds but that could produce more parts per tool. Eventually they reversed their rubber mold making. They cut the opposite of the part (the cavity) into an easy to machine material which, after a number of different material experiments, was determined to be aluminum. This success gave them not only the ability to do more engineering prototypes better and cheaper, but it also gave them an excellent way to do low volume molding more cost effectively without sacrificing any precision or quality requirements.

This new ability opened their eyes to a completely new kind of customer. As they were products of their location, being near Rochester, they lived, learned, and grew up in a world of Kodak, Xerox and General Motors, etc. These were companies that made ‘millions’ of cameras, copiers and cars so everything they were involved with was affected by that huge volume kind of thinking. Unfortunately those “millions of” kind of companies did not last and if Harbec was to survive without them, they needed to find this new potential customer and learn how to think and act differently.

Developing their skills around faster, less expensive tooling capabilities that offered shorter life or lower quantities introduced them to different kinds of companies that had much more variety and product change over and whose products were produced in the thousands or tens of thousands instead of millions. These companies had great depth and variety of products. They also needed Harbec’s quicker lower cost tooling and molding capabilities to help them get to market faster and more cost effectively. This was the niche that they were looking for.

By the end of this second decade of Harbec, while some things ended, new and exciting opportunities emerged. Although the technology and concepts were new, Harbec would develop these new opportunities and potentials, like additive manufacturing and aluminum tooling, to become major portions of its capabilities. Harbec was working to “do it all”. From concept to completion, Harbec would be there every step of the way.

Watch for the next Blog in September discussing the next phase of Harbec’s growth and the preliminary planning that would lead them into their third decade and the 21st century. There’s more expansion and new endeavors ahead!

40 Years of HARBEC: Part 1

1977-1987… The Barn.

 As we are now in our 40th year, we will devote one blog per quarter to each decade we have been in existence. Harbec started in two garages, belonging to Bob Bechtold and his brother Mike, in the village of Webster, NY. In the first few years they were both working full time jobs and the new business part was on the side. The majority of the work was odds and ends of machining work for friends who had machine shops, along with buying and repairing/rebuilding used machine tools. The money from these side jobs they did allowed them to buy more machines.

In the late 70’s, Bob found a farm on the edge of Webster that had magnificent barns and a house and in 1980 he was able to buy it. The space that the new barns provided was just what they needed to get serious about the business, but not without significant preparation. The reason that farm had been for sale was that it was a pig farm and the county was not allowing any more of them. So the last pig farm in Monroe County became the new home of Harbec, but not without a ton of work.

In 1982, Bob decided to leave his full time teaching job at Rochester Institute of Technology, to work at Harbec full time. His original intention was to have himself doing the work with part-time help. That did not work out as he thought it would because he could not get a consistent flow of work and a consistent flow of money for his family. When he was doing jobs for people, there were no new sales happening. Then, when the job was done he would have to find more opportunities, therefore no work was getting done, this meant no income. Bob recalls, “It was either feast or famine which definitely is not conducive to paying bills and raising kids.”

Eventually, Bob hired his first full-time employees, two young toolmakers from the area. Then, within a couple of years, they were up to 6 or 8 full and part-time people. They were able to build technical capabilities and equipment, as well as expand their customer base and the types of work they did.

They did some unusual work in those days including building two 20’ long cabbage harvesting machines that were nicknamed the ‘Head Masters’, for a local farmer. They were pulled along during the harvest and the pickers would set the heads on a conveyor near the ground where they were picking and automatically lift them up into the wooden boxes. Another thing they did during those early days was to mount a TIG welder in an old van and go to the area beer distributors to repair the rips and tears in their aluminum bodied delivery trucks (from the fork trucks loading and unloading the beer barrels and cases). They also had a full wood working shop and were doing pattern making for the local foundries. They continued to do this kind of work for a number of years, even after they moved to the current location. Unfortunately, this was the time when foundry work was moving overseas and eventually there was little or no pattern making work left.

Bob explains, “The skills used in pattern making are similar to those used in model making, so as the pattern work dried up, we replaced it with a new line of business. We got more and more involved in model making and were able to apply the precision and complex capabilities of the CNC to this work. It allowed us to become very competent at creating engineering models or models that were expected to be as close to production intent as was possible. This means the material type, dimensions, and all other characteristics had to be as exact as if they came from the injection or die-cast molding process.” This line of business was ready to take off and will be covered in the next decade’s blog.

The most significant job during this first decade was the ‘Glass Hubs’.  During this period of time, the most high-tech computer memory was magnetic tape and a local company had a very high end product that was a glass sided tape reel that held one mile of tape. The reels were about 14” in diameter and two glass side discs were mounted to a precision aluminum hub. The hub was a die casting that Harbec would precision machine to the required tolerances. The accuracy of these was critical because if there was the slightest error, the tape would eventually get off center, then would not wind or unwind correctly.

While these were interesting and varied work types, the main goal Bob was trying to accomplish since starting the business, was to get involved in CNC machining. Bob had taught the subject when he was at RIT/NTID and through that experience, became convinced that this new technology would be the most dynamic opportunity for the advancement of manufacturing ever to happen. The biggest problem he had to overcome was that the machines were very expensive.

As you might imagine, it was difficult to convince a bank that Harbec was a good risk for a loan when they were asking for a very expensive, very accurate, very state of the art (at that time) machine, to put in a barn. Eventually they built the business and their bankability enough to get their first equipment loan for their first CNC milling machine. With this new capability in precision and complexity, Harbec was able to look for new areas of business to apply them to. One of these new areas was mold making, which required high precision and finishes. At the time, there were not many mold building shops that had CNC machines. They were able to eventually work their way into this line of business by doing complex mold details for other local mold shops.

“One of the really neat early mold details we did was to cut the cavity blocks for a new type of computer memory that was unknown at the time. During the early days of the personal computers there were two types of computers, Apple or PC. Both used a memory device called a floppy disk. Harbec was involved in a very confidential project where they cut the mold cavity blocks for…what was eventually to become the 3.5” memory disk. If you were to open one of those “three-and-a-halfs” you would notice fine ribs and shapes that contained and guided the spinning magnetic disk inside. The first mold details to create the prototypes of this new media were cut in the barn at Harbec,” remembers Bob.

There were many other interesting and diverse things they did in those days, and eventually they out grew the barn and needed to find a bigger home. In 1987, they moved to the current location, to begin the second decade of Harbec’s history. The barn continued to offer a birth place to other businesses including CNC Systems which Mike and Bob started, so that they could pool their talents and interests to get involved in this exciting new CNC industry. There was also a welding company that started in the same barns and an optics manufacturing company that became known as Optimax.

While work was not consistent in the early days, the vision and dedication to creating the business was. Bob and Mike Bechtold took chances, explored uncharted territory and embraced diverse potentials. They were good at not just finding, but creating opportunities. These are the things that would continue to allow Harbec to grow into the business it is today.

Beyond Proof of Concept: How HARBEC Brings Design, Engineering and Manufacturing Value to Every Part and Project

In September, HARBEC, Inc. proudly celebrates its 39th year in business. We begin by thanking our employees, some who have been with us since day one, for continually evolving, and building a better business and better future in our community. We also graciously thank our customers, suppliers, and service providers who have been mutual partners in HARBEC’s evolution.

For a company that began as a tool and die shop, a great deal has changed in nearly four decades of service. HARBEC’s business resiliency has been enabled by its founder, Bob Bechtold, and the code of conduct for continuous improvement he’s instilled within the business culture. In forty years of business, HARBEC has remained agile, competitive and innovative as it has evolved to serve the needs of its customers, new and old.

Today, HARBEC, Inc. has three principle business units including CNC Machining, Custom Injection Molding, and Rapid Prototyping. Since its inception HARBEC was a trusted precision manufacturer, earning a reputation for paying very close attention to detail, and providing high value service, quality, and superior prototypes and parts. Further, HARBEC was viewed by its customers as a “solutions provider,” a partner that proactively pursued ways to do things faster, better, and at lower cost.That commitment is alive today, particularly as the digital revolution transforms the foundation by which products are designed, developed, and manufactured.

According to Mr. David Anderson, author of “Design for Manufacturability: How to Use Concurrent Engineering to Rapidly Develop Low-Cost, High-Quality Products for Lean Production”,  Design for manufacturability (DFM) is “the process of proactively designing products to (1) optimize all the manufacturing functions: fabrication, assembly, test, procurement, shipping, delivery, service, and repair, and (2) assure the best cost, quality, reliability, regulatory compliance, safety, time-to-market, and customer satisfaction.” Further, Mr. Anderson defines Concurrent Engineering as “the practice of concurrently developing products and their manufacturing processes. If existing processes are to be utilized, then the product must be designed for these processes. If new processes are to be utilized, then the product and the process must be developed concurrently.”

Here at HARBEC, we’ve been practicing DFM and concurrent engineering for decades. Under our own branded nomenclature, Quick Manufacturing Solutions (QMS). Before the ‘maker movement’ became en vogue, characterized by the next generation of industrial designers and inventors, HARBEC was actively servicing its customers as an innovation, DFM, and production house. Like the agile maker movement, HARBEC has embraced digital and software tools, 3D printing, machine learning, and robotics into our operations. What’s more, HARBEC has continuously moved the ticker on innovation, working to improve every process, from design through manufacturing, by integrating our knowledge and experience gathered from forty years of manufacturing excellence.

Over the years HARBEC has developed and implemented new manufacturing processes, and integrated new software, technology, and manufacturing capabilities that allow our designers, engineers, project managers, and operators the ability to design, prototype, sample, and scale products with exemplary attention to precision, speed, quality, and cost.

While HARBEC does a great deal of mid-to-high volume parts manufacturing of custom injection molded and precision machined parts, we’ve invested in and created a specialty for in-house design and rapid prototyping services. Whether your need is one or millions of parts, HARBEC’s team can support your product design, development and manufacturing needs, and deliver upon your goals through a full range of manufacturing capabilities.

 

Design/Engineering Support

Prototype/Production Capabilities

Systems-Level Integration

 3D CAD: SolidWorks 2016

Injection Molding Simulation: SolidWorks Plastics 2016(Flow, Pack, and Warp Analysis)

FEA Software: SolidWorks Simulation

CAM: Mastercam 2017

3D Printing: Materialise Magics

Additive Manufacturing

  • Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  • Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
  • Fused Disposition Modeling (FDM)

Quick Molding Solutions (QMS)

  • Aluminum molds using standard bases
  • Dedicated sampling technicians and presses

CNC

  • High-speed 3 to 5 axis vertical mills
  • Horizontal lathes
  • EDM & Grinding
Carbon-Neutral and Water-Neutral Manufacturing Facility

Robotics and automation

Full in-house capabilities from design through manufacturing, secondary operations and support

  • Product design, prototyping, and manufacturing have each gone digital. The lines between these once disparate silos of product development have been blurred by rapid advancements in digital manufacturing technologies. As the worlds of software and hardware have converged, designers have now become manufacturers, and machine operators have become code writers. This fundamental change is reshaping the future of manufacturing for businesses like HARBEC, and for small and large manufacturers throughout the world.
  • More rapid development and integration of digital manufacturing technologies are reducing, and in some cases eliminating, traditional barriers for transforming an idea into a physical product. Digital manufacturing bridges the technical and communication gaps between designers and manufacturers. As such, entrepreneurs and mature businesses can design and produce functional prototypes in less time than it takes to watch your favorite movie.  With relatively low cost of entry, the makers’ movement has become mainstream, captivating the minds of do-it-yourselfers and professional industrial and product designers.
  • Although having more options for quick design, prototype, and production is all good, scaling up production is an entirely different skill set. Having the right software and equipment can get someone started in rapid prototyping, however, making the leap from printing one dimensionally correct part to manufacturing thousands of precision parts that need to be validated and integrated into a complex product system, requires far greater knowledge and capability.
  • For over 20 years HARBEC has been working with additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, and has also explored ways to envelop AM not only as a capability, but as an integrated manufacturing strategy and process.
  • Our recent work, for example, to incorporate principles of biomimicry into 3D printed injection molds demonstrates how we’ve leveraged prior knowledge, with state-of-the-art AM capabilities, toward enhancing the performance of new-age custom injection molding tools and manufacturing processes.inj_mold_copy_tall_did_you_know_tall_normal
  • Whether the need is for one, hundreds, thousands, or millions of parts – HARBEC’s team evaluates how it can bring unique solutions and value to the customer. By using DFM principles, software tools, and QMS approaches in early-stage product design and prototyping, HARBEC helps customers get their product to market quicker, with less risk and greater value.
  • For additional information, check out HARBEC’s Design Guides related to Additive Manufacturing, Sustainable Product Design, and Injection Molding Part Design and by visiting www.HARBEC.com.

The Future is NOW!

Frequently called upon for manufacturing solutions to challenging projects, HARBEC serves the most discerning customers within the aerospace/defense and security, medical device, electronics, automotive/transportation, and consumer product markets.

HARBEC takes great pride in delivering high performance precision parts to ALL of its customers. “Value indicators” such as speed, quality, performance and cost are top priority to HARBEC’s design, engineering, project management, quality, manufacturing, logistics and marketing teams’ members. In doing so, HARBEC views its role not just as a supply chain vendor – but as an integral member of our customers’ teams, converging capabilities to achieve better products and solutions.

From Robots to Racing

HARBEC never compromises on its integrity or value. Whether our customers are launching rockets to space, exploring the vastness of the deep-sea, or transporting goods across the interstate, HARBEC’s manufactured solutions are delivering unparalleled performance.

HARBEC extends this ethic to the “NOW Generation” – high school, college and university, and trade program students who represent America’s future innovators, engineers, and technologists.

In the past year HARBEC proudly served students of three regional technology design and development teams just as we would any customer: with 100% commitment to quality, performance and satisfaction. These included:

  • TAN[X], Canandaigua’s FIRST Robotics Team
  • Rensselaer Motorsport, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Formula SAE Team
  • RIT Clean Snowmobile, Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) SAE Clean Snowmobile Team
Rensselaer Motorsport
 Competition_Team_Photo  Roll_Out_Top_View
RIT Clean Snowmobile Team
5 20160601_151655
TAN[X]
 2016 Robotics Team Photo A2_Med  Harbec 3D Wheels_Med

In each instance the student-led teams sought out HARBEC for its ability to provide high-value technical expertise, precision manufacturing, agile innovation support, and very fast turnaround time.

For example, RIT’s SAE Clean Snowmobile Team sought a way to redesign their air intake system which would eliminate flow restrictions and improve overall engine performance. Project Manager Anthony NaDell shared his experience:  “From the moment we contacted HARBEC about potentially helping us out, everyone was very helpful. They guided us with things like figuring out the best way to make our product and what material we should use to handle the rigorous operating conditions.  HARBEC’s customer service was excellent and we would love to work with the company again in the future.​ For a single part prototype the small lead time was very impressive.”

TAN[X] designs and builds robots to meet demanding challenges established by the FIRST Robotics competition each year. Launched in 2008, TAN[X] teams’ now average about 35 students per year representing grades 9-12. Further, TAN[X] has brought together dozens of local sponsors and team mentors to support their annual challenges. HARBEC supported the team with quick turnaround parts, as they managed frequent modifications depending upon the needs of each design challenge. Specifically, TAN[X] had complications with their robot’s tank treads falling off. In response, the team designed a new pulley using CAD that was cogged with teeth, enabling the treaded track to stay in place. HARBEC 3D-printed the pulley for TAN[X]. Steve Schlegel, one of the mentors of TAN[X] stated, “HARBEC’s ability to quickly respond with a 3D printed part made a HUGE difference, and took our team up a couple notches in how well we could compete.”

Each year more than 30 student members of Rensselaer Motorsport, the official name of RPI’s Formula SAE team, design and build an open-wheeled formula race car from the ground up. The competition is regarded as one of the world’s largest intercollegiate design series. The experience enables students to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world hands-on high-technology applications. The process expands upon students’ knowledge and continued development of career-critical skills including team building and communication, engineering and systems design, data analytics and problem-solving.

HARBEC has supported Rensselaer Motorsport for many years of competition, particularly in the areas of 3-D design and analysis, materials evaluation, and production of custom precision parts.

Nicholas Debono of Rensselaer Motorsport reflects, “Rensselaer Motorsport depends on the generosity of sponsor donations to complete our yearly goal. For years, HARBEC has been one of the teams most generous and critical sponsors.  Working with HARBEC has always been a great experience. Parts are always provided with the shortest possible lead times, and professionals are always willing to help our students when advice is needed. Simply put, without HARBEC, Rensselaer Motorsport would not be able to achieve our design goals.”

For example, HARBEC supported RPI’s team with their intake assembly. Formula SAE rules require that the engine’s design teams, like Rensselaer Motorsport intake pull air through a circular restrictor 20mm in diameter. This design constraint greatly affected the power and performance of the engine. In order to compensate for the restrictor, RPI FSAE has, over the years, developed the intake assembly pictured below. It is one of the most developed systems on their racecar, earning them valuable design points during competition.

Intake_Rendering

Figure 1: Solidworks Rendering of Intake Assembly

fig2

Figure 2: Sectioned View of Intake Assembly

Prior to working with HARBEC, leveraging its in-house 3-D design and printing capabilities, RPI’s SAE Formula Team relied upon much simpler designs, limiting the range of materials and performance of the intake. Many of the features of RPI’s current design were not able to be used with the older carbon design. For example, the rifling seen in figure 3, and the spike in the center of figure 4, would be almost impossible to recreate without 3D printing technology.

fig3

Figure 3: Section view Throttle Body

fig4

Figure 4: View of Runners

Because the intake is exposed to very harsh environments, material selection is also crucial. Fuel is continuously injected into the intake assembly, requiring materials to be chemically resistant. Further, the intake assembly needed to be strong, compliant, and heat resistant to ensure high performance in a combustion environment.  HARBEC engineers worked with RPI’s designers to select a glass filled polyamide material that performed extremely well in their unique application. The end result was an extremely efficient, lightweight intake assembly that added technical performance on the track and brought unique design points from the judges.

Why investing in the NOW Generation is So Critical to Business Success

The future is NOW. And in HARBEC’s experience, investing in students is critical to business sustainability and success. Just like the three examples described, every customer of HARBEC comes to us with unique technical requirements, design, engineering and manufacturing challenges. In our experience, overcoming technical challenges requires teamwork, problem-solving, and ingenuity.

It’s been a pleasure for HARBEC to have been a part of these three student design and competition teams. The students are the NOW Generation, focused, eager, competitive, creative, and willing to learn. They displayed technical prowess and grace under pressure as they functioned as a team, and collaborated professionally with mentors and technical solutions providers.  The individuals of these teams represent the future of design, engineering, product development, and innovation for HARBEC as well as our global customers in the aerospace, defense, security, automotive and transportation, medical device, consumer products and goods industries.

We congratulate TAN[X], Rensselaer Motorsport, and RIT Clean Snowmobile on their accomplishments, and stand ready to serve them and all of our customers with continued excellence.

Water Stewardship: An Untapped Industrial Opportunity

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), less than one percent of the total water on earth is fresh water available for human uses including drinking, transportation, heating and cooling, and industry. The balance of water is not readily available for human use because it is saline (ocean water), tied up in snow, ice, and glaciers, or in other mediums of storage such as water vapor.

There has been a lot of attention brought to water through the drought situation in California but the problem is worldwide. In February the Washington Post published an article: “A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say”. Scientific American  and National Geographic had similar articles.

Every manufactured product requires the use of water at some point of the production and delivery process. For example, some sources estimate that the production of one car requires the use of 39,000 gallons of water. In the U.S., industry uses more than 18.2 billion gallons of water per day. Industrial uses of water include fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product; incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs within manufacturing facilities. Some industry sectors are very water intensive including food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, and primary metal producers. But regardless of the end-use, or intensity of use, there is no question that water is a precious and valuable natural resource to industry.

In the U.S., industrial uses of water represent less than 8% of total water use. On a global scale, industrial use of water represents approximately 20% of total water use (70% of water is used in the agriculture sector globally). What’s interesting is that there is a very close relationship between industrial energy and water use. Understanding the ‘energy-water nexus’ is just one way industry can become more aware of its natural resource use, and discover solutions which can be implemented to achieve both energy and water related stewardship objectives.

The diagram below provides more insight into the energy-water nexus. The figure, prepared by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, illustrates the flows of energy consumed for Direct Water Services and Direct Steam Use in the Residential, Commercial, and Industrial (including Power) sectors. Ultimately, 58% of this primary energy is rejected as waste heat due to losses during electricity conversion and at end-use.

Energy+Water

Water use trends summarized by USGS show that as population has increased so has our use of water. What’s promising however is that industrial uses of water have shown declines in recent years.  In every industrial sector, there are leading examples of how industry is working to curtail its use of water, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes eco-economic sense.

HARBEC, Inc. has committed to be a water neutral manufacturing facility and company by the end of 2015. HARBEC is continuously striving to enhance the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of its operations. Bob Bechtold, President of HARBEC, states, “We are seriously committed to sustainable manufacturing. Like energy, water represents a critical requirement and input into our manufacturing processes. Water is integral to the performance, quality, price, and longevity of every component we make. As such, we place a premium value on water. We also know that water and energy have a very close, symbiotic relationship, particularly in manufacturing environments. As we advance our accountability and stewardship of water, in turn we also further our energy efficiency goals.”

The HARBEC example of industrial leadership for water stewardship is far from unique. Between 2008 and 2012, toy manufacturer Hasbro reduced its water use at their owned and operated facilities by 31 percent. And, to extend their commitment and leadership, Hasbro announced that by the end of 2015 it will partner with its China-based supplier facilities to establish annual water conservation action plans. In another example, between 2000 and 2013 Ford Motor Company reduced water use per vehicle manufactured from one of their Mexico-based facilities by 58%. Companies like Hasbro, Ford, and HARBEC are not reducing water use only in response to the growing global issue of water scarcity. These industrial leaders are taking action on water accountability because it results in lower operating costs, product margin improvement, and more competitive and efficient operations. Unilever, for example, estimates that their reduction of water from manufacturing operations has achieved cumulative supply chain cost avoidance of €26 million since 2008.

In addition to eco-economic water stewardship opportunities “inside the fence,” some companies have chosen to combine their efforts and resources to advocate for water stewardship as business imperative. The efforts of the Blue Business Council in California, represented by companies including Patagonia, New Belgium Brewing, Klean Kanteen, Clif Energy Bars, New Resource Bank and others, is reflective of how business and industry understand that the economic opportunity of water resides in the stewardship of this precious resource.

Opportunities for water stewardship (economic, environmental, innovation and societal impacts) are limitless. Just as leading companies are hard at work to reduce and conserve their water resources, others are continually innovating new products which ensure our standards of water purity and cleanliness are always achieved. Companies such as Pall Corporation, Aquatech, Pentair, and many others are developing innovative products to serve the clean water requirements of industry.

In short, water stewardship is big business. The question is, how much of it has been YOUR business?

Removing Obstacles and Reducing Risk

“The One-Stop Shop”

HARBEC has evolved to be a one-stop manufacturing solutions provider. We’ve done this to remove obstacles and reduce unnecessary risk for our customers.

The best way to control the quality, performance, price, and longevity of precision parts and components is to integrate all capabilities for part manufacturing under one roof. This model pushes risk to the manufacturer, which is mitigated by providing customers with differentiated values such as:

 

  1. Personal and facilitated process: Save time and cost by having the manufacturer proactively manage the full  process. This results in time savings, precise schedules, shorter lead-times, and faster cycle times.
  1. Manufacturing cost savings: by managing the full manufacturing queue; Take out unnecessary administrative costs and reduce the risk of cost overruns associated with multiple suppliers.
  1. Range of manufacturing options: Finding experts in both prototyping and production will provide  the best solutions to meet tolerance and quality goals for the full project.
  1. Integrated services and solutions: Incorporating “ad-ins” such as “moldflow analysis” on all production tool purchases, is a benefit. Many molders price such services out separately. Incorporation of software tools like SolidWorks Plastics enables the “one-stop shop” to reduce tool prices because toolmakers can more accurately predict tool performance. These solutions also provide a reduction of waste, time, and materials – resulting in higher performing and more sustainable manufacturing processes.
  1. No surprises and guaranteed value: Consistency through one quote, one price, and  guaranteed tool, part quality and performance is found under one roof. At HARBEC there are no surprises along the way. HARBEC guarantees our tool performance and part quality which also translates into guarantees on price and delivery.

 

To achieve lower risk for its customer HARBEC provides a range of options and simple solutions spanning the quoting process, part/product design, manufacturing, and value-added solutions.

One-stop-shop

Reducing manufacturing risks are essential to achieving business growth and success. Although having a large number of suppliers is a way to diversify and mitigate risk, it is not necessarily the best solution for every product. The reliance and management of multiple suppliers can actually add cost and create unpredictable outcomes and unnecessary risks. Every manufacturing requirement and situation is different, and HARBEC has evolved to “right size” the solution(s) to your need(s).

Community is More Than an Address

It is not enough to exist (have a physical address and place of business) in a community; rather it is essential to be an active, engaged, and a trusted ally within the community. At Harbec we take this to heart.   Since our humble beginning in our founder’s barn, Harbec has been a business that values hard work, persistence, the pursuit of excellence, innovation, and strong community. Harbec has succeeded by having strong values, ethics, and integrity which transcend every aspect of the work we do.   Our values for social responsibility are reflected in many ways. Harbec and its employees are very proud to have given back to the community in the following ways in 2014:

  • Food Drive – In November Harbec and its employees contributed more than 500 pounds of nonperishable food and frozen turkeys to a local shelter for women and children and the town food cupboard.

 

  • Blood Drive – More than 15 people participated in the annual American Red Cross blood drive which potentially saved almost 50 lives!

 

  • Gift Drive – Harbec employees contributed hundreds of new and gently used items in support of the Green Angels freecycle event, as well as  new gifts for 3 Harbec families and many items to benefit a local women’s shelter.

 

  • Community Education, Training, Awareness – In an average year, Harbec works with more than 30 local schools, universities, and organizations providing tours, guidance, mentoring and  support.  in 2014, we have furthered our commitment to technology education and exposed hundreds of students to our innovative and sustainable manufacturing solutions.

 

  • Commitment to Sustainable Manufacturing – Harbec continued its journey to reduce its operational impact on natural resources and the environment. In 2014 Harbec invested in and acquired new equipment, tools, and processes that will make its people, facilities, and operations more efficient, productive, and sustainable. Harbec’s investment to upgrade its Combined Heat and Power (CHP) physical plant will, for example, once completed in early 2015, lead to an even higher thermal efficiency factor, further reducing Harbec’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the local community.

Whether it’s for our local community or for one of our global customers, in 2015 Harbec will continue to work hard to provide the best solutions, and with the highest integrity, quality, and performance.   See you in 2015!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

holiday