Communication Makes the Difference for Maker of Custom Springs and Wire Forms
McKees, PA—For Ace Wire Spring & Form Company, Inc. offer machining parts, aluminum die casting parts, metal parts, spring parts, plastic injection molding parts, etc. innovative CNC wire forming technology is a key capability that increases productivity while helping to ensure consistency of quality and on-time delivery. But it’s only one of several core competencies that have helped build the company’s reputation as a custom manufacturer of springs and wire forms. In business since 1939, the ISO 9001:2000-certified company makes custom and precision springs and wire forms for diversified applications, serving virtually every conceivable industry.
“Almost everything uses a spring,” says Linda Froehlich, owner of Ace Wire Spring & Form. “We make springs for mechanical applications in industries such as agricultural, aerospace, automotive, lawn and gardening, and power-generating equipment.”
Types of springs manufactured by the company include compression, extension, torsion, and coil springs, as well as garter, power, assembly, and specialty springs. Using CNC technology, Ace Wire Spring manufactures springs in wire diameters ranging from 0.003-inch to 0.625-inch. The firm’s precision wire forming machines are capable of forming round wire in diameters from 0.030-inch up to 0.312-inch, with a maximum length of 30 inches. They also form flat wire up to 2-½ inches in width and ¼-inch thickness, with maximum feed length of 15 inches, according to the company.
“There’s the easy way to make a spring and there’s the right way,” says Harry Bollinger, chief sales engineer. “We do it the right way.”
At Ace Wire Spring, “doing it the right way” is a process that relies greatly on communications with customers. It requires asking the appropriate questions, actively listening to the answers, and doing everything possible to understand the customer’s objectives. The process is built on an understanding that each customer has a unique problem that they’re trying to solve.
“Asking questions is key,” says Sanford (Sandy) Glick, the firm’s national sales manager. “But you have to ask the right questions.” By asking the right questions, Ace Wire Spring can get a clear understanding of the environment in which the spring or wire form is intended to function. The company is then in position to produce the parts that are best suited to meeting customers’ requirements. Questions are typically aimed at understanding operating conditions such as heat, atmosphere, and stress level, all of which are important in selecting the appropriate material or choosing a coating to protect the part. But the company is also aware that tolerances initially specified in designs for springs are often not necessary to achieve the manufacturer’s objective for the part.
“People put machine tolerances on drawings, but bending metal is not the same thing,” says Glick. “By asking customers why they’ve chosen the tolerances that they have, we can get the information needed to solve a problem and reduce our customer’s costs.”
With four engineers on staff, Ace Wire Spring can readily assist customers with design for manufacturability issues by providing recommendations on part design, tolerances, and material selection. The company verifies all part designs with its engineering software, a practice that uncovers potential problems, for example, that could result from a specified dimension that puts too much load stress on a spring. If such a dimension is found, the company will consult with the customer and recommend a spring design more suited to achieving the customer’s objectives. “That’s how we create alliances,” says Bollinger. “We become part of our customer’s team.”
Ace Wire Spring’s thorough knowledge of metallurgy informs its selection of appropriate materials for a wide range of operating conditions. Issues such as high-temperature performance, resistance to corrosion, and fatigue properties under conditions of vibration are some of the metallurgical considerations that Ace regularly evaluates.
The company also strives to accommodate its customers’ needs by working to develop new equipment, machinery, and plastic tooling suited to their manufacturing requirements. But regardless of the project, Ace Wire Spring is always mindful of the essential role that communication plays in technical problem-solving and, ultimately customer satisfaction.
“We’ll call a customer if we’re going to be late, or if we see a problem with material—we don’t surprise them,” says Bollinger. “People are often amazed that we’re doing this.”