E-07: Equilibar Podcast

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E-07: A North Carolina “Basement” Success Story

What started as an engineer’s basement invention has grown into one of the world’s most in-demand pressure regulators.

https://NCMEP.podbean.com/mf/play/46e8iu/E-07-v01_Equilibar_Podcast-012220.mp3
 
Equilibar
Pressure control technologies are an integral part of many products and industries. They assist in supplying important operations with the appropriate amount of fluid or gas.Our next guest’s valves and regulators have been dubbed gold standard within pressure control technology manufacturing.
I sat down and talked with Jeff Jennings, inventor, founder and president of Equilibar. Jeff founded the company in 2007. What started in his basement grew into a company whose products are in-demand across the globe. Jeff obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University and has been in the manufacturing industry for over 20 years.
The company is located in Fletcher, North Carolina, a town located 25 minutes south of Asheville, NC. Nestled in between the ancient Appalachian Mountains, Equilibar designs innovative flow control, sanitary, back pressure and vacuum control devices.
On this episode of Clocking In, we discuss the founding of Equilibar, how the internet assisted the expansion of Equilibar’s customer base, Jeff’s invention of patented pressure control products, how Jeff helped found the DuPont State Forest and more.
LINKS
NCMEP
Equilibar
ABOUT
PHIL MINTZ
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.
JEFF JENNINGS
Jeff Jennings is the founder and president of Equilibar. Jeff has more than 30 years of engineering experience in manufacturing. He graduated from Clemson University in 1985 Magna Cum-Laude with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Jeff was the founding president and board member for Friends of Dupont Forest from 2001 to 2007 and is currently a member of a state-appointed committee on the DuPont State Forest Advisory Committee.
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PRODUCTION TEAM
Talent/Host: Phil Mintz
Executive Producer: Teresa Bradford
Producer: Shelby Kimes
Sound/Audio Engineer and Editor: Mike Reep
Graphic Designer: Casey Hembrick

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Medical Devices—Developing a Market Expansion Strategy Webinar Series

Hundreds of manufacturers across North Carolina answered the call to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for first-line responders and others in need. Although there is still a need for PPE, many manufacturers wonder what will happen when the pandemic ends. We can’t predict if, or when, the high-demand for PPE will subside, but we can help you prepare. 
Join us for the Medical Devices—Developing a Market Expansion Strategy webinar series. We will address your potential concerns surrounding the selling of PPE and other medical devices. Topics will include:

How to apply for a 510k from the FDA so you can continue to sell your PPE after the Emergency Use Authorization expires
How to implement ISO 13485 so you can sell your PPE internationally 
What you need to know about exporting your PPE outside the US

There is no charge to attend these events, but registration is required. After you register, a link to join the webinar will be sent. Please bring your lunch and join us for one or all of our webinars.
 
Schedule of Webinars 
 
EUA has expired…what next? Explanation of the 510K process September 21, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST
No one knows when it will happen, but eventually it will. Learn how to make sure your medical device can continue to be sold in the U.S. once the pandemic is over. In this webinar, Darren Reeves, president of DP Distribution & Consulting, will discuss:

What will happen to my devices made during the pandemic but have not yet sold?
What must I do for any medical device to continue?
What must I do for class II medical devices (e.g., Surgical Masks, N95s and Surgical Gowns)
What is a 510(k)?
Steps to achieve a 510(k)?
How long does it take?
What does it cost?

 
How can I implement an ISO 13485 based QMS? October 5, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EST
For companies that want to move their management systems to the next level or that want to sell internationally, ISO 13485 is the international standard that may be required.  Most countries will require this certification.  In this webinar, Darren Reeves, president of DP Distribution & Consulting, will discuss what ISO 13485 is and how to get certified.  Topics include:

What is ISO 13485?
What is the process?
What is a notified body?
What are the main sections of the standard?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?

 
I want to sell my medical device outside of the US. What do I need to know? October 19, 11:00 a.m- 12:00 p.m. EST
You made it through the pandemic. You followed the appropriate U.S. regulatory pathway and achieved any required marketing approvals. You have successfully grown your customer base and are now ready to expand into other markets. How do you do that? In this webinar, Darren Reeves, president of DP Distribution & Consulting, will discuss:

Different countries have different rules. What quality system is required?
Focus on E.U.
What is the MDD/MDR?
What is a CE mark?
What are the steps to a CE mark?
What is an authorized representative?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?

 
Webinar Dates:

EUA has expired…what next? Explanation of the 510k process
Monday, September 21, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. EST
How can I implement an ISO 13485 based QMS?Monday,
October 5, 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. EST
I want to sell my medical device outside of the US. What do I need to know? 
Monday, October 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST 

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E-13: Switching On Manufacturing

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E-13: Switching On Manufacturing

Raleigh-based electronic switch manufacturer, Electroswitch Electronic Products, strives for quality and innovation.
https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/vcvmsp/E-13_Electroswitch_Podcast-090320.mp3
 
Electroswitch Electronic Products
In business, flexibility is a strength, especially in times of uncertainty. The range of standard and custom products our next guest can design and produce has helped his company find their way through the pandemic. We talk with a manufacturer who takes pride in its product line’s versatility and quality.
In this installment of Clocking In, I sit down with Kyle Martin, the vice president and general manager of Electroswitch Electronic Products. Kyle’s experience covers a broad range of industries with concentrations in design, manufacturing and continuous improvement. Kyle has previously held leadership positions with Bob Barker Company, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Americal Corporation, Chesapeake Display and Packaging, International Jensen/Jensen Sound Labs, and United Technologies. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master’s Degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University Technologies. Kyle serves as the Advisory Board Chair of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
The Electronic Products Unit of Electro Switch Corp is recognized for quality and best-in-class lead-times for their industry-leading switch brands including Stackpole, Shallcross, CRL/Centralab, Eaton Miniature, ASM, OakGrigsby, Gaynor and CW Industries.
In this episode, we discuss how the pandemic has affected the production at Electroswitch Electronic Products, the variety of their products, the importance of electrical switches and how Kyle’s background has prepared him for the leadership role at Electroswitch and more.
LINKS
NCMEP
Industry Expansion Solutions (IES)
Electroswitch Electronic Products
ABOUT
Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.
Kyle Martin
Kyle Martin is the vice president and general manager of Electroswitch Electronic Products in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kyle previously held leadership positions with Bob Barker Company, Goodyear Tire &Rubber just to name a few. Kyle serves as the Advisory Board Chair of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master’s Degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University.
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PRODUCTION TEAM
Talent/Host: Phil Mintz
Executive Producer: Teresa Bradford
Producer: Shelby Kimes
Sound/Audio Engineer and Editor: Mike Reep
Graphic Designer: Casey Hembrick

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Triangle Brick

NCMEP Partner Helps Brick Manufacturer Achieve Safety Milestones
Bricks. Bricks. And More Bricks.
Man has utilized bricks for building construction for more than seven thousand years, making them one of the oldest known building materials. The first bricks, made in areas with warm climates, were made of mud and dried in the sun for hardening. The first big breakthrough in brick making, some 3500 years later, occurred when the Romans learned how to fire bricks in kilns without the heat of sun. However, it took an exceptionally long time for the bricks to cure. The Romans typically made their bricks in the spring and then stored them for two years before using them—an incredibly slow and laborious process.
Fast forward to the year 2020 where Triangle Brick, site of North American base operations for the German parent company Röben Tonbaustoffe and one of the leading brick manufacturers in the US, can produce 500 million bricks per year—10 million per week (the same amount used to build the Empire State Building) or 60 thousand bricks per hour.
And, every single brick they manufacture, for either residential or commercial construction, boasts of innovation—meets or exceeds ASTM standard specifications, proprietary color blending, use of recycled materials and more.
Utilizing Automation and Technology
Triangle Brick, with North Carolina roots dating back to 1959, is one of the most highly automated brick manufacturers in the country and has plants in Wadesboro and Moncure, North Carolina and Clay County, Texas. Howard Brown, CEO of Triangle Brick said, “We utilize automation and technology to transform every step of the brick manufacturing process—from mining to manufacturing to distribution and service.” In addition, their plants feature some of the world’s highest capacity industrial robots for their entire process, from end-to-end.
Triangle Brick Begins Safety Culture Journey
With a maniacal focus on innovation, continuous improvement, efficiency and sustainability, Brown wanted to take the company’s safety performance to the next level as well and focus on its safety culture. “We weren’t satisfied with being second best in any part of our business, so we started by recognizing that we, as leaders, have to change the way we think with regards to safety.”
The first step was to contact NC State’s Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), the administrator for the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Brown, an NC State graduate himself, knew of the organization’s environmental, health and safety services and capabilities.
Employee Engagement for Positive Change
IES got to work and performed a safety assessment on each of the company’s manufacturing sites, providing a gap analysis on what was working and what areas needed improvement. Additionally, some employees participated in interviews with IES to discuss safety challenges and offer their own ideas for improvement. Brown said, “Understanding the current state of the safety program and culture and identifying areas of strength and the greatest opportunities for improvement was a critical step in determining where to focus our efforts.” The employee engagement aspect of the safety improvement program was very successful.
“The data from the gap analysis and feedback from our employees left no question about where work was needed and became the basis for our safety program improvement plan,” said Brown. In addition, IES helped us craft a list of action items to work on. Brown, the CFO, the head of manufacturing and the head of each manufacturing plant met weekly for over a year to check progress, make necessary adjustments and ensure work efforts were delivering the intended results.
Continuous Process for Tangible Results
“Having a safe work environment is critically important for our employees. And it also makes good business sense,” said Brown “We need to make the necessary commitment to safety at all levels of the company.” In the process, Triangle Brick has learned that these safety investments have paid for themselves, time and again over the past few years with fewer recordable incidents. The company has also realized approximately $100K in economic impact ranging from cost savings, to improved productivity, reduced down time and better throughput. “And most importantly,” Brown said, “The program is effective because everyone in the company—the CEO, the CFO, plant managers, supervisors and employees—now takes a personal interest in our safety culture and accident prevention. The strong expression of employee ownership of the updated program is tremendous and it shows.”
“IES has been a great asset to us,” said Brown. “They came in, talked to our employees, looked objectively at our program and made fact-based recommendations to help us improve. I would recommend them to any organization looking to update their safety program.”
 

 

DOWNLOAD THIS SUCCESS STORY (PDF) ⭳

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E12: Molding The Future of Manufacturing

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E-12: Molding The Future of Manufacturing

The award-winning injection molding manufacturer in Greensboro, NC, Core Technology, continues to expand despite the pandemic.
https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/2jsw3k/E-12_CoreTechnology_Podcast-080720.mp3
 
Core Technology Molding Corporation
The pandemic has brought an abrupt end to the last 10 years of business and economic growth in the United States, resulting in many manufacturers suffering short and long-term damage. In spite of the situation, we talk with a North Carolina manufacturer that has found opportunities in the face of this adversity.
In this segment of Clocking In, I sit down with Geoff Foster, CEO, president and founder of Core Technology Molding Corporation. Foster has been involved in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Applied Engineering Technology from North Carolina A & T State University. He later went on to be awarded the US Patent # 6,024,591 for a Sealed Electric Connector for Ford Motor Company while working for AMP Corporation in Greensboro. Geoff founded Core Technology Molding Corporation in 2006 and has since turned it into a highly recognized growth company winning many awards including the 2015 and 2018 North Carolina M/WBE Outstanding Achievement Awards and the 2017 BMW Minority Success Story of the Year. In 2019, Foster was named the Greensboro Entrepreneur of the Year.
The company, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, manufactures injection molding solutions for its customers across 150 countries in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, consumer goods, gaming, medical device and outdoor lawn equipment industries.
In this episode, we discuss the founding of Core Technology, how the company has found a way to expand in spite of the pandemic, how the company’s supply chain has been affected by the pandemic, how Foster, being an adjunct professor at NC A & T State University, has given his organization a pipeline to talented, young professionals and more.
LINKS
NCMEP
Core Technology Molding Corporation
ABOUT
Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.
Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster is the President and CEO of Core Technology Molding Corporation and founded the company in 2006. Geoff earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Applied Engineering Technology from North Carolina A & T State University. He was employed as an Engineer with AMP Inc. and Tyco Electronics in roles of Quality Engineering, Product Engineering, Product Manager and Global Product Management. He was awarded US Patent 6,024,591 for a Sealed Electric Connector for Ford Motor Company. Foster went on to complete his MBA at Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Business in May 2001.
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PRODUCTION TEAM
Talent/Host: Phil Mintz
Executive Producer: Teresa Bradford
Producer: Shelby Kimes
Sound/Audio Engineer and Editor: Mike Reep
Graphic Designer: Casey Hembrick

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NCMEP is a Proud Supporter of Coolest Things Made in NC

NCMEP is proud to announce its participation as a supporting organization for the NC Chamber’s “Coolest Thing Made in NC” contest. The contest, designed to celebrate the innovation, creativity and importance of our state’s manufacturers, opens for nominations on August 6 and closes on August 20, 2020.
The Coolest Thing in NC contest and awareness campaign not only celebrates the contributions of the manufacturing industry, but also the opportunities offered by a career in manufacturing.
Join the fun and nominate your favorite made-in-NC product. After a public nomination and voting process, the NC Chamber will announce the winner on October 2 and which product manufactured in North Carolina is truly the “coolest thing made in NC.”
Any product manufactured in North Carolina is eligible for this contest. (You may nominate a product made by your own organization.) Company headquarters do not have to be located in North Carolina. You may submit your nomination, view the prize package and find additional promotional tools on the contest website » 
 

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