Category Archive: Industry News

New Year, New Videos! See What We’ve Been Doing at CGR

Water jet cutting, kiss cutting, custom die work — it was all on display at our Wisconsin Open House this past October.

wisconsin-open-houseOur team was on-hand to help guests get acquainted with some of these state of the art machines, and took the opportunity to chat about some of our most successful recent projects.

See for yourself by viewing the videos below about some of the projects we’ve worked on, shot live at the open house.

Increasing Production Rates by 33%

Seeking continuous improvement can sometimes present serious challenges — especially when it comes to equipment.

For this automotive customer, CGR assembled a diverse team for a tightly organized Kaizen meeting to help evaluate the existing process step-by-step.

As a result, we were able to develop five new, carefully controlled systems to fit the existing machinery that cut costs and enhanced production rates by 33%!


Solving Tolerance Challenges

Working with specific requirements and tight tolerances can be a challenge for many companies. For this client, the product was being crafted with an acid-etched die. Our Account Manager and Quality Manager reached out to fine-tune the tolerance standards for this customer, and the team also updated equipment in order to streamline production.


Reducing Material Costs with Kaizen Events                                              

In a recent project with a large automotive customer, CGR was asked to reduce costs while ensure production would not be delayed. CGR formed a Kaizen team to evaluate their current manufacturing process and developed several cost-saving ideas regarding tooling.

With some re-engineering of existing configurations and proactive cost evaluation, we were able to cut annual raw material costs by $26,000.


Lowering Costly Field Failures

Repair costs in the field are expensive, stressful, and dangerous. One OEM’s gaskets were failing, so CGR found a superior material choice and design. By incorporating a laminated gasket with a metal core and bonded rubber compound, the team enhanced critical sealing performance and reduced costs in the process.


Producing Stronger, More Durable Gaskets

Difficult installation processes are one of the greatest gasket challenges, especially for large engines and power generators.

For this OEM, our product development team designed a multi-layer gasket for essential sealing performance with ease of installation in mind. The design has become one of today’s industry standards.


Solving Performance Issues through Custom Assembly

New EPA regulations meant that a hose manufacturer had to alter its assembly construction, and the changes came with a variety of challenges. From increased production costs to new leaking issues, their technicians were faced with a struggle.

We worked with new materials, new equipment, and an automation assembly machine to get the job done.

With over 100 pieces of professional equipment and a long list of success stories, the CGR Team is ready to tackle any gasket challenge. See more of our work on the Case Studies page, or reach out to the team today to learn more.


3M and Tesla Make Good Partners

Tesla Motors creates some of the world’s most sought after vehicles.  These are premium electric vehicles that have become very popular among car enthusiasts.  They do not operate with a lot of moving parts.  Instead, these cars basically run by a bank of batteries.

3M is a national company known for producing items such as Post-It Notes, Scotch tape and the like. But  it’s their most recent endeavor that has the business world talking.  The company works with one of the most prestigious electric automobile companies in the world.  That’s right:  3M has worked with Tesla  since 2008.  Between the two companies, they have worked together to develop some amazing and innovative products.  In fact, parts produced from 3M have replaced items used in traditional cars, such as nuts and bolts.

3M has recently worked to develop a lead-free metal-alloy tape that is attached with a high performance adhesive.  This tape is placed inside the wheel of these all-electric cars where it is more likely to stay in place.  In addition, the company has also developed solar-powered lights and battery kits.  The battery for these lights can be recharged by using it in the sun, and at night the battery can then be used to turn on the light.  The light it emits is equal to a 100-watt incandescent bulb.

The partnership of Tesla and 3M has become stronger over the years.  In fact, their relationship has taken shape even more since 3M’s work when it comes to the Tesla Model S.  3M makes more than a dozen parts for the latest Tesla model including its latest products including LED light bulbs and window films.  The two companies together have designed products that are not only earth friendly but also on the cutting edge of technology.  The partnership between these two companies is one of the best in recent business history.

Manufacturers Are Optimistic About 2014

The leading buying association for midsized manufacturers, Prime Advantage, conducted an annual survey of its member companies’ CFOs. Overall, expectations are up compared to last year. Prime Advantage found that 46% of the CFOs feel more optimistic about the US economy outlook for 2014 than they did the year prior. While, only 14% said that they felt less optimistic. Almost all CFOs felt that the US manufacturing would either improve or remain the same for this year. CFO’s are also very confident about their own companies, with 89% projecting that their companies will do well this year.

Fueling the optimism about their own companies is that they all forecast a positive customer outlook. All CFOs who responded expected to see growth from their key customers and 54% reported a higher new order pipeline, with only 3% not expecting the same growth.

Another area that CFOs are hoping will boost their business is the cutting of operational costs and advancements in their R&D to provide new products and services.  62% of those surveyed stated that seeking new markets was a top priority. Further, 65% of the member companies are confident enough in their companies to increase hiring for this year and 75% are planning to increase wages.

Strong optimism for midsized manufacturers is a effective barometer for optimism across many industries and the economy at whole. With increased hiring and advancements in R&D, we can expect to see a strong year for US manufacturing.

A Record Year for Auto Sales

Last year was a record year for the auto industry, which seems to have finally bounced back from bailouts and recession woes. Americans were out in full force buying new cars and trucks, a far cry from the near hopeless automotive sector of 2008. The most popular vehicle of the year proved to be Ford’s F-150 truck, which sold 763,402 models in 2013, about 40% of the entire truck market. Overall, 15.6 million vehicles were purchased in the U.S., prompting an 8% increase in auto sales year over year. These strong sales were not only good for the automakers themselves, but our economy as a whole.

Jerry Hirsch of the LA Times notes that “Car companies and parts manufacturers have added more than 173,000 jobs over the last four years and now employ more than 826,000 workers in the U.S., according to federal jobs reports. That’s still down from the 1.1 million before the recession, but it represents vital growth, economists said.” That’s big news for a nation that has been struggling with unemployment for the better half of a decade. More demand has sparked production across the country, employing workers and bringing new business to manufacturers throughout the supply chain. Interest in new cars and trucks does not seem to be waning either: this year’s Detroit Auto Show had the highest attendance record in its history.

3M to Increase R&D Spending

It is no mistake that 3M is one of the most successful American-born companies. Formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M now employs 88,000 people worldwide with about $30 billion in annual sales.  The manufacturing giant makes more than 55,000 products such as adhesives, laminates, medical supplies, car accessories & cleaning supplies, and optical films. 3M is responsible for game-changing products: waterproof sandpaper, masking tape, Post-It Notes ©, Scotch© Tape, and more. It’s one of the 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and number 97 on the Fortune 500 list.

We are proud to work with such a successful company with such humble American roots.  3M is a supplier of CGR Products and the partnership enables us to provide the best possible products and services. But it’s not just 3M’s past that makes it a great company: 3M is constantly innovating and researching new ways to come up with newer and better products. Each year, they spend billions on research and development to redesign existing products and invent brand new ones. In 2010, 3M reformulated Scotchgard to eliminate the use of perfluorochemicals and make it safer for the environment. Current CEO Inge Thulin plans to increase R&D spending to increase organic growth and focus on new and more profitable business ventures such as products for the renewable energy arena. New products from 3M could mean more for CGR Products and our customers, too!

An Exciting New Venture for General Electric

$3.38 Billion is a huge bet, but General Electric is willing to take the gamble on Lufkin Industries, an oilfield services provider. Oil and gas is GE’s fastest growing business contributing about ten percent of its total revenue. To expand further into the energy industry, GE purchased Lufkin to develop a more competitive edge by broadening their drilling capabilities.

Lufkin has advanced artificial lift drilling technology that lifts hydrocarbons in low pressure oil reservoirs and improves the efficiency of naturally flowing wells. Essentially, Lufkin’s artificial lift capabilities will increase output and lower operational costs for GE, who only had the capacity for electric submersible pumps pre-acquisition. These capabilities are worth the multi-billion dollar investment to GE, and will certainly help GE Oil & Gas become a lucrative business.

The recent oil and natural gas boom in North America has proved lucrative for many companies, and GE is expecting the same success. According to, “exploration in shale, the hardened rock formations behind a surge in energy production, is expected to increase by 10 percent or more a year for up to a decade.” As drilling and fracturing technologies develop, it becomes possible to obtain fossil fuels from reserves previously believed too difficult or expensive to reach. GE also announced their new global research center for oil and gas in development planned to open in Oklahoma City that will concentrate on resources like shale gas.

GE’s well-rounded approach to the energy industry should prove rewarding for the diversified technology giant. Their already comprehensive portfolio will continue to grow with this acquisition leaving them to succeed and dominate another industry.