Category Archive: Automotive and Heavy Truck Industry

Ohio’s Auto Manufacturing Sector

For Ohioans it may not be a surprise that our state is an auto manufacturing hub. Recently, Honda, Ford, and Mitsubishi all announced plans to manufactures in Ohio. Honda will be expanding its capacity of its East Liberty plant to keep up with the demand for more trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles. Mitsubishi is once again expanding its Mason facility. The company sees a growing North American automotive market and chose the Mason location due to its proximately to automakers, such as Toyota, GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Finally, Ford’s Cleveland plant will begin producing the EcoBoost engines for the first time in North America.  Previously this engine was made in Valencia, Spain but Ford has decided to move production to reduce shipment and production costs.

At Ohio Valley Manufacturing we work with a variety of industries, including automobile, trucks, RV, appliances, agricultural equipment, and lawn and garden manufacturers to provide blanking, stamping, tooling, and robotic welding services. To learn more about services, visit Ohio Valley Manufacturing online. We also maintain a Twitter and LinkedIn account where we post more company updates as well as manufacturing and trucking news.

The Trucking Industry Invests in New Fleets

Trucking operators are expecting a busy year and truck manufacturers are responding to the increase in demand. According to The Journal of Commerce, trucking executives are planning to invest in new truck models this year. This increased investment is tied to the improving economy as executives are placing orders on new trucks to either replace older vehicles or to expand their capacity. The article goes on to say, “Net Class 8 truck orders broke higher than 40,000 units in October and November and totaled more than 360,000 in the 13 months through last November, according to FTR Associates, which called the near-record surge in heavy truck orders ‘phenomenal.’”

At Ohio Valley Manufacturing we can attest to this increase in orders as we have seen companies being placing orders to increase their fleets. We’re at a point where the age of truck fleets are older than it has ever been before and now with the upswing in economic activity there is a strong demand in the trailer and truck industry to replace the older trucks.

We expect to see strong activity in this industry through the first half of the year and our facility is prepared to meet the needs of trucking manufacturers. Our heavy gauge stamping services are ideal for the trucking and trailer industries and we feature presses with up to a 4,000-ton press rating. We can work with carbon steel, aluminum, and stainless steel to create a range of stamping products such as circle blanks and surface mount pins. To learn more about our services, visit our website. We also post more trucking industry news on our Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Future of Autonomous Driving Trucks

At Ohio Valley Manufacturing we’re always keeping a close eye on the trucking trends and recently the Mercedes-Benz autonomous concept truck caught our attention. The company unveiled its “Future Truck 2025” that Mercedes hopes to have ready for commercial use within the next decade. The truck uses an automated “Highway Pilot” system that allows the vehicle to maintain a steady speed and can even communicate with other vehicles, which can help the truck detect emergency vehicles or if a vehicle has stopped up ahead on the highway.

With the new autonomous driving truck, a truck driver will become a transport manager who is responsible for navigating the truck through more densely populated traffic to get on and off the highway. The driver will also be notified by a visual alert and then an alarm to take the wheel should the truck encounter an obstacle such as construction.

Although the truck features a futuristic cab design much of the truck remains the remains the same and we’ll certainly be watching the progress to see what the finished design looks like. To stay up-to-date on more trucking industry news, be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. To learn more about services for the trucking industry, visit our website.

The Lightweighting Trend Continues in the Auto Industry

Last year we posted a blog about the trend of lightweighting in vehicle manufacturing and now it seems lightweighting is being adopted by more automakers as the government’s goal of increased fuel efficiency draws closer. According to a recent article, the government wants do double the average fuel economy to 45 mpg by 2025 and in an effort to meet those goals carmakers are looking for lightweight materials.

Earlier this year, Ford unveiled an aluminum body F-150 truck that weighed 700 pounds less than the steel bodied version and in June the company revealed its lighter Ford Fusion concept vehicle that weighs 800 pounds less.

Although currently the materials are too expensive for mass production these vehicles mark a notable trend and we’ll continue to watch it closely for our customers in the automotive and trucking industry. Our heavy gauge stamping presses are prepared for these changes in the automotive sector as we are well versed in working with aluminum and our presses can work with materials ranging from .020 inches to 5/8 inches in thickness. To learn more about our heavy gauge stamping services, visit our website and to stay updated on automotive and trucking news, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Fuel Efficiency in the Trucking Industry

At Ohio Valley Manufacturing we’ve been paying close attention to the trucking industry and there are several new announcements, including the president calling for fuel efficiency improvements. Obama has ordered the EPA to draft new regulations by March 2015 and implemented a year later. The goal of the new fuel standards is to limit greenhouse gas pollution, fuel costs, and oil imports.

This announcement coincided with two new efficient trucks being unveiled. Walmart recently debut its concept truck that it hopes will help it reach its sustainability goals. Additionally, Cummins-Peterbilt announced that its SuperTruck has achieved 10.7 mpg under real-world driving conditions.

At Ohio Valley Manufacturing we think fuel efficiency and sustainability are a good way to go and we’re fully prepared to help the trucking industry reach fuel efficiency goals. We’ve talked before about the lightweighting trend, which uses lighter gauge material and higher grade to make it stronger. To produce these parts, heavy equipment is required which we can accommodate with our 4,000 ton press and our 1,800 ton press which allows us to handle the manufacturing of type of equipment.

To learn more about our capabilities, visit our website and to stay up-to-date on industry news follow us on Twitter.

Manufacturing Continues to Grow in Ohio

Ohio ManufacturingAs the nation remains cautiously optimistic over steady job growth, Ohio’s manufacturing industry, especially the auto sector, continues to add jobs as it rebounds from the worst of the recession. Manufacturing and Ohio have a long, successful history, and it is the driving force in the state’s economic re-emergence. Spurred by major growth in automobile demand, the reshoring of foreign jobs to American soil, and innovative initiatives to foster continued improvement, Ohio is gearing up to show the nation, and the world, what the new face of manufacturing in America will be.

Back to one of those innovations: after months of talk of a “skills gap” between trained workers and manufacturing positions, Ohio is now rolling out a work training voucher program. With manufacturing one of the targeted industries, employers will be able to provide extra training, improvement programs and trade certificates. The goal is not only to open up the industry to people who otherwise might not have been able to work in it, but also to help current employees adapt and evolve as their jobs do. It’s a great time to be a manufacturer in Ohio, and here at Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we’re ready to show you what we can do.

A New Look at the Manufacturing Skills Gap

Manufacturing skills gapThe skills gap is not a new topic for us here at Ohio Valley Manufacturing. Just as it is a double-sided coin for the industry at large – manufacturing jobs created by strong growth, but few skilled workers to fill them – so have we discussed the issue in the same light. As this article describes, with 2.5 million new jobs slated to open up in coming years to due retirement alone, it’s definitely not something to talk about anymore without action as well. Solutions are plentiful from all corners, but there some interesting ideas discussed in the article. Let’s look at a few key concepts:

Education: Not, specifically, the existing education system. Vocational training is approaching an all-time low, yet it is critically important for filling these positions. Much of the duty lies with manufacturers themselves to make sure that educational programs are offered – whether through the school system or not – to properly train the next generation of manufacturers.

Don’t find employees – make them. A program that could quite possibly prove to be revolutionary is outlined in the above piece. Rather than searching out trained, traditionally “qualified” recruitees, a new program is locating those with the most potential to learn a new skill or trade, and placing them in training programs. The program centers around a specific group with the greatest success in that area: U.S. military veterans. Whether through the program or not, it provides a new angle for manufacturers to take in seeking their next generation of workers. Someone who has shown themselves to be a hard worker and a quick study may likely be easier to find than someone with the specific training that is thought to be required.

We look forward to engaging with the next wave of manufacturing through these methods and others.

Framing the Issue

Our regular readers certainly know the close ties between Ohio Valley Manufacturing and the automotive industry. One of our greatest assets as a heavy gauge blanking and stamping specialist is our ability to manufacture frame rails for heavy trucks and other types of vehicles. As the framework for the chassis upon which these trucks are built, unparalleled quality is a requirement for these pieces. The equipment that Ohio Valley Manufacturing uses in our everyday course of operating is especially well-suited to this type of project – more so than other companies. And with Ohio Valley Manufacturing, you know that the work will be done in-house by our team on our equipment, with our proven track record behind us.

Although many smaller cars have gone the way of an integrated frame and body, it is still more efficient and practical to build larger vehicles like heavy trucks on a chassis and frame. Everything literally rests on the design and integrity of these frame rails, which must not only be strong enough to bear thousands of pounds of additional construction, but also shipping loads and containers. Load bearing is only the beginning: frame rails must be resistant to twisting and torsion as well. Throughout all of this, the comfort of passengers and the safe transport of cargo is also a factor in creating frame rails that can withstand the bumps and potholes of thousands of miles on the road. All in all it’s a job that not everyone can do, but that Ohio Valley does better than just about anyone.

Robotics: Built to Work

Americans young and old have grown up with some idea about what robots are and what they can do. Many older Americans may remember “Hal” from “2001: A Space Odyssey” or the “Robot” from the classic TV show “Lost in Space”. Younger generations have fallen in love with the more sleek and loveable “Wall E” from the animated film by the same name. At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, not only do we love robots, but we are utilizing their programmed skill and precision to provide our customers with consistent speed, stability and reliability.

Over the past few years, we have been handling all Robotic Welding in-house. This robotic work includes the design and building, as well as checking fixtures and production.

In the upcoming 10 to 12 months, we will be adding robots onto our press line to stack parts. These robots are designed to stack parts (pick and place) from the production press. This provides our valuable and skilled workers additional safety measures in the pressing process. In addition, it also reduces costs to our customers. With robotics in place, Ohio Valley Manufacturing has the advantage of being equipped to handle high-volume automation.

We can proudly say that not only are our robotics American-made, but they are Ohioans as well. All of Ohio Valley Manufacturing’s Material-Handling Robots are built by our staff here in Mansfield, Ohio. The roll-out of our new Stacking Robots is all designed and built by our in-house engineers and employees.

The addition of robotics to our processes is to provide our customers with cost-effective solutions. With regard to robotic welding, we offer precision welding for the following industry segments: On & Off-Highway Truck Parts, Material Handling Equipment, Trailer Parts, Outdoor Power Equipment, Agricultural, Automotive, and Petrochemical. All of our products are done at industry standards such as ISO 9001 – 2008 and are TS Compliant.

Down Mexico Way and North to Canada – Ohio Valley Manufacturing Sales

Ohio_Valley_Manufacturing_Mexico_and_Canada

Its summer and vacations are in full swing.  Whether it is a trip to the beach, a camping venture into the mountains, everyone is thinking of ways to get away and relax.  At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, many of our custom made products have been making their way south not only in the summer months, but also throughout the year.  Our products aren’t heading south for vacation, but get right down to business as they are implanted into our customer’s products.  Ohio Valley Manufacturing has been fortunate to have added this additional market for our products.  We now have several heavy truck customers that are located in Mexico.

This move didn’t happen overnight.  We have been expanding into the Mexican market over the past few years.  Our Mexican customer base is Tier 1 and Tier 2 Automotive and Heavy Truck manufacturers.  In particular, we’ve been supplying Air Springs for heavy trucks to customers in Mexico.  With our close proximity to Canada, we are planning to expand north. 

According to the U.S. State Department, the closeness of Canada with the U.S. is reflected in “the high volume of bilateral trade–the equivalent of $1.6 billion a day in goods–as well as in people-to-people contact. About 300,000 people cross between the countries every day by all modes of transport. In fields ranging from security and law enforcement to environmental protection to free trade, the two countries work closely on multiple levels from federal to local.”

Ohio Valley Manufacturing is excited about an expansion into the Canadian market.  With total America exports to Canada at almost $280 billion (from U.S. State Department and U.S. Census figures) and of that some of the top industry segments being automotive accessories, other industrial machines and engines and parts, we look forward to becoming more integrated into the export network in Canada.