Video Mount Products (VMP), a supplier of mounting applications across a wide variety of industries, approached Michigan Manufacturing International (MMI) in [month/year] for help with its FRM-series products. VMP was in need of material that had the weather-resistant properties, paintability and extensive service life of galvannealed steel or stainless steel, but at the same time wouldn’t price them out of their market.
Galvannealed steel, a commonly available and popular option for the manufacture of satellite mounts, does not flake off from its galvanized coating when formed, stamped and bent. The very fine matte finish acts like a primer, allowing paint to adhere easily, and it is very rust proof. While this was VMP’s specified material choice, MMI realized using galvannealed steel would be too cost prohibitive for the market in which VMP planned to sell the product. Additionally, galvannealed steel is difficult to source in China, where MMI has its manufacturing plant.
To solve VMP’s challenge, MMI proposed a novel idea: replace the desired galvannealed steel with specially treated carbon steel. The treatment involved a series of new mechanical processes that would allow paint to adhere to the galvanized steel, while still retaining the weather and corrosion resistance desired for outdoor use.
The new treatment was the brainchild of MMI’s North China Supply Manager, Jarbo Lu.
“I happened to know carbon steel, after acid cleaning and phosphating, has the same matte finish as galvannealed steel, allows paint to adhere easily, and is very rust proof,” he explained.
To come up with this cost-effective alternative, Lu worked closely with the home office team to fully understand VMP’s needs and goals, such as what properties and qualities were desired in the final product, and what functionality and features the product would have.
The new process and materials recommended by MMI resulted in lowering the overall cost of manufacturing the FRM series. Saving 5-10% allowed the project to come in within budget while still meeting all of the product requirements.
“MMI’s suggestion to use this new painting process, rather than the galvannealed steel material we originally specified, allowed the per-unit cost to get down to where VMP could sell the unit at a profit,” said Keith Fulmer, President of Video Mount Products.
VMP was not only happy with the final pricing, but also has high praise for the process of working with MMI.
“MMI worked with us on the sample to make sure that we were happy with the product at every step of the way,” Fulmer said. “All feedback regarding quality was listened to and addressed immediately. Communication between MMI and VMP was easy and thorough.”
“MMI’s suggestion to use this new painting process rather than the galvannealed steel material we originally specified allowed the per-unit cost to get down to where VMP could sell the unit at a profit.” –Keith Fulmer, President of Video Mount Products