Category Archive: Uncategorized

How Automation Makes Ohio Valley a Leader

Since the industrial revolution manufacturers have been finding ways to improve their operations. Take, for example, the assembly line. It was an innovative process to work smarter. It is the same for automation—working smarter allows a manufacturer to offer more to their customers. More automation is entering the market making it easier for companies of any size to take advantage of it.

Although some may see automation’s role in replacing workers with machines as a problem, we haven’t found that to be the case. In fact, the increase in business we have experienced since automating has caused us to hire more people to handle the jobs that machines will never be able to do. By letting the machines do the rote production work, our staff is able to build relationships with customers and expand our design services. In this way we are able to work closely with each customer to ensure that designed parts meet their exact needs. As our design services have expanded, we have been able to grow as a supplier to manufacturers in the automobile, truck, appliance, recreational vehicle, agriculture, suspension parts, and lawn and garden industry.

It is tough for manufacturers to meet the demands of these industries. But, the move into automation made it possible to increase our capacity to meet their needs. With the right equipment, and the experienced team behind it, Ohio Valley consistently produces accurate, high-quality parts every day, for every customer, at a competitive price. We pride ourselves on our ability to work with each customer to get them an outstanding design and a finished product that exceeds their expectations.

As a trusted and reliable source for heavy gauge stamping and precision blanking services, we have formed long-lasting relationships through a very diverse customer base.  The customers we serve require the highest-quality parts for demanding applications. Our phenomenal growth over the last 15 years can be directly related to the continuous improvements of our operations. Automation and computerized technologies have allowed us to build our reputation in the industry as one of the top Tier 2 suppliers in the country. As we continue expanding and increasing our capacity even further, we are able to add Tier 1 suppliers to our customer base.

There is no need to fear the machines. Modern technology is making it easier to add, improve, and expand capabilities that keep American manufacturers competitive in the global marketplace. Here at Ohio Valley we understand the benefits of manufacturing automation and have embraced them. The precision we attain and the quality of the parts we produce could not be produced through manual operations.

As we continue to look toward the future of the industry we will maintain the goals we consistently work to achieve—meeting the needs of every customer through the highest quality and customer service. Contact us today to see how Ohio Valley can meet your needs.

Finding the Right Fuel to Power American Industry

At Ohio Valley, like many businesses, we like to keep tabs on the issues that affect our industry interests.  One issue in particular affects an interesting cross-section of industries that we’re involved in, and so we’d like to address it here: the ethanol debate.

A concern for both the farming and transportation industries, the ethanol fuel debate has many on edge, especially as a result of the EPA’s November call for a cut in ethanol requirements for gasoline in 2014.  The basic idea is this: in an attempt to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, corn-based biofuel known as ethanol can be blended into fuel that will burn properly in most motors produced since 2001.  There are different “blend levels” known as E15 (15% ethanol) and the more ambitious, but less widespread E85 (85% ethanol).  Since ethanol and traditional fuel burn differently, the transition from one source to the other would be gradual by necessity, with the interim requiring motors that are capable of burning fuels of different blends equally as well.

The tension comes from farmers who benefit by producing more corn, and big oil, which benefits from producing more oil.  Some think the solution is to promote the E85 option more aggressively, others advocate for offering both fuels and allowing the consumers to dictate demand.  Whatever the outcome for refiners and farmers, the fuel sources for our nation will likely continue to be debated – and not just between ethanol and oil.  Other renewable options like hydrogen, solar, and electricity are all being explored to various degrees of success, perhaps most notably by companies like Tesla, whose electric cars are gaining popularity.

Whatever the energy future, we’re sure farming and transportation needs will continue to endure, and we’ll be here to provide quality manufacturing services for farming and transportation vehicles alike, no matter what fuel source they use to get around.

Lightweighting in Vehicle Manufacturing

One of the biggest buzzwords currently in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry is “lightweighting”.  This refers to the attempt by auto and truck design and manufacturing companies to come up with the lightest weight vehicles possible, in order to be as fuel efficient as possible.  There are many schools of thought as to the best approach for lighter vehicles – in the auto industry, many companies are substituting aluminum, carbon fiber, and other composites to try to save weight and maintain durability.  Designers are scrutinizing every piece of the vehicles, from the frame to the engine, for new and innovative ways to make lighter parts but still provide the same loadbearing and safety capabilities as heavier vehicles.

For the trucking industry, alternate materials aren’t as much an option because of the need to bear higher loads, at higher tolerances.  This means that many are using higher grade steels, with higher tensile strength – but at thinner gauges.  Stronger steel, however, is tougher to manipulate.  The higher grade the steel, the more pounds of force need to be behind the machine that makes the part, and many designs call for steel that is stretching the boundaries of what many manufacturers are capable of.  Fortunately for us at Ohio Valley, our specialty is in heavy gauge stamping, and our 4000 ton press can handle what most others can’t.

As designs call for stronger steel gauges, and the lightweighting trend continues, Ohio Valley Manufacturing will be ready to accommodate our customers with their heavy gauge stamping needs.  Make sure to check back here at our blog for more insight into how this trend is affecting the agricultural and construction industries, or in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts and get in touch with us on social media.

How PRAXIS Improves Our Processes

At Ohio Valley manufacturing, we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to innovate, optimize, and streamline our business and our customer service.  Back in 2011, we implemented one of our greatest strategies to accomplishing these goals, and we’d like to take some time to explain just how valuable it is for our business and our customers.

The previous problem was this: all of our business functions and transactions, including shipping, receiving, inventory, production, job scheduling, maintenance scheduling, and more were tracked and sorted separately.  The time and resources spent managing all of these various processes and schedules was an area we chose to focus on streamlining.

Enter PRAXIS, our proprietary software that is a powerful tracking and reporting database and workflow package.  It encompasses both MRP functions for inventory control, and ERP functions for streamlined flow of information between departments, and easy resource and production tracking.  PRAXIS was designed in-house, which means that not only are we experts at its use, but it is also entirely customizable.  PRAXIS is fully integrated with all of our machines, and provides real-time traceability for all of our processes, and also tracks AQP reporting, die reviews, and EDI processing.  It offers our customers the option for barcode labeling and shipment notifications via text, email, or ASN, and offers Ohio Valley a solid advantage over our competition.  With a central database from which to monitor all of our internal processes, and that capability to customize and grow with our business, PRAXIS is one of our prouder achievements, and another demonstration of how we seek to build our business in a way that helps us streamline our process so we can streamline our service.

Rising to the Challenge: Ohio’s Economic Recovery

As the U.S. economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession, the workforce has its eye continually on the unemployment rate, job opportunities, and trends in hiring and job opening in order to reestablish the stability lost in the past decade.  Job seekers and students of the economy alike might be impressed with the economic performance and trajectory of Northeast Ohio in these times.  According to one recent study, despite the slower predictions in the national recovery, Ohio is expected not only to recover the jobs lost in the Recession in 5 years, but potentially experience a labor shortage over the next decade or so, as a result of retirement, newly created jobs, and turnover.

Manufacturing will be right near the top of this activity, right behind the robust medical industry, with high employment projections, and turnover rates.  A portion of these manufacturing jobs will be the result of a technical workforce approaching retiring age, opening up technical jobs to a new generation of skilled employees.  Part of the burden we at OVM share with other manufacturers is attracting and creating these technically skilled workers, as we’ve blogged about before.  This period of turnover will be crucial to continued success of one of Ohio’s economic backbones, manufacturing and production.

As we continue to watch and participate in our region and our country’s recovery, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on our progress, and note with pride when Ohio helps to lead the way forward.

The Structure of Safety in American Manufacturing

American manufacturing has been a regular part of the news cycle lately for many reasons: the several proposed “manufacturing renaissances” and other similar terms that are thrown about in conjunction with the automation and high tech manufacturing, the observed re-shoring trend, immigration considerations, trade considerations, and many other reasons.  Since June was National Safety Month, we thought it might be an appropriate time to talk about one other great advantage American manufacturing has that has also been recently thrown into perspective: labor and wage safety.

In light of the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh, and the rising wages for Chinese workers, we have an opportunity to appreciate anew the virtues of the manufacturing climate in the U.S, where conditions are regulated and livable wages are secure.  While standards inspections, ISO surveillance audits and the like might be routine to the point of dull in the U.S., their necessity is often outweighed by their apparent inconvenience – but global issues like these throw us back into a proper perspective.

Safety is a critical part of the manufacturing world.  Employee health and wellness ought to be highly and proactively sought after by manufacturers, as a point of pride, and not simple necessity.  This is why we at OVM implement a robust safety training programs for our employees.   Our classes include drug training, haz-comm, personal protective equipment, confined space training, hearing conservation, electrical safety practices, and lockout/tagout procedures.  Additionally, we have further training for safe operation of all of our power presses, and a course in power industrial truck training.  This training ensures our employees’ comfort with each skilled operation they perform, which ensures that they have the knowledge and experience necessary for ISO and other quality surveillance audits.

Safety is imperative for employee wellness, and safety training ensures that each employee has both the knowledge to do the job safely, and the comfort do it efficiently – which in turn is good for the health of the business.  This cycle of safety and efficiency is the continuous upward trajectory that we at OVM are glad exists in our nation, and are committed to pursue and promote.

Trucking Trends, and a Tradition of Innovation

If you work in the trucking industry, you know about the Mid-America Trucking Show that just happened last month, and you would also know that one of the most talked about subjects at the show was fuel efficiency.  Selective catalytic reduction(SCR) has now been adopted by all the major trucking companies, and as the filling stations with the option are becoming more widespread,  more are opening up to alternative fuel options like LNG.

We think it’s great that companies are working to innovate and stay current and competitive in our changing global market, but we also think it’s worthwhile to celebrate our roots and mark our progress.  For instance, one of our customers who attended that show, Hendrickson International, just celebrated 100 years of business.  We love to see companies, and especially our customers, that relentlessly pursue quality and innovation rewarded with great milestones of longevity like this.

It’s our pleasure to work alongside people who are as committed to innovation and progress as we are.  We hope to celebrate a century of business ourselves someday, and to help our customers do the same by providing them with the best work we can, in the most innovative and effective ways possible.

Keeping It In-House: Ohio Valley Manufacturing’s Tool and Die Services

Tool Die Design and Manufacturing ServicesHere at Ohio Valley Manufacturing we are proud to say that we handle every step of our tool and die manufacturing in-house. We oversee the entire process, from the first computer model designed by our skilled engineers and the prototype parts, to the shipment of the finished product to our loyal customers, and all of the necessary testing and inspection that is required in-between.

We do this because quality control, and our quest for perfection, are so important to us. The engineers and employees at our fully staffed tool and die center ensure that our customers are getting the best possible product. Since we do all of the work in-house there is no chance of confusion from dealing with outsourced work and we are able to ensure that our quality products are made quickly and efficiently by our skilled manufacturing workers. In addition, we are able to cut down costs significantly, ensuring that our customers get an amazing product, at a fair price.

In the future, we will continue our commitment to making quality tools and dies for our customers. Keep an eye on our website for up to date information, and as always, feel free to contact us with any inquiries about our products.

Passing Audits: Both ISO and Our Customers Approve

Our regular readers know that we’re proud of our ISO certification and quality standards. We had some pretty big developments in those areas in June that we’d like to talk about a bit more. The first was that, surprising no one, we passed our annual ISO audit to maintain certification. While this process is not as intensive as the full re-certification, it’s not something to take lightly. Every step of every process needs to meet the organization’s standards – not a problem for Ohio Valley, where quality is an everyday part of our process.

ISO wasn’t the only group visiting our facilities for a look at our quality assurances. Manufacturing firms and suppliers often like to inspect their own suppliers’ operations to ensure that a sound and efficient system is in place. In June, we had not one, but two such new partners come to Ohio Valley Manufacturing. As with our ISO audit, meeting their standards was business as usual, welcoming them to tour and inspect each and every one of our departments to ensure that they were entering a business relationship bound for success. Learn more about Ohio Valley Manufacturing’s quality processes here: