It’s been fun to be on the shop floor in the past six months. Project leaders have permanently stationed themselves in front of R&D machines, working away at developing new features that reduce the amount of consumables used, package more SKUs with the same machine, and connect manufacturing processes together for less operator involvement. It’s inspiring to watch, and we feel blessed to have those in the industry that are pushing us to provide this kind of innovation!
This midpoint in the year gives us a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come in six short months and point to where we’re going next. If you know us by now, we can’t stop. Being an engineering focused company, it’s the inherent ingenuity that keeps our minds reevaluating our technology for what we can improve on and how we can deliver more to the manufacturers like you producing foam and mattress products.
Josh, our Project Manager, explains the developments: “Over the last six months we’ve really poured a lot back into our machines. [We have] a passion to impact the end product that is delivered to the customer. We pursue any avenue in which we are able to come alongside our clients and allow them to take the next steps into delivering a more optimal product to their customers.”
And of course, we wouldn’t be C3 without the fun sprinkled in among the work days. This year we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary – and with that came other milestone anniversaries of beloved employees.
Through the ingenuity and fun, here’s a look at where we’ve been the past six months.
Check Your Work: New Machine Release of the FD1000 Force Deflection QA System
Early in the year we launched our newest machine, the FD1000 Force Deflection QA System. This small testing unit reaps big rewards for manufacturers. Instead of relying solely on lab tests for foam quality, this machine sits in-line with your production and performs a quick test to double check that your line produced what it was supposed to.
Sure, we all would like to believe that we’re experts at making the right product every time, but manufacturing data trends tell us otherwise. When accounting for human error, out of spec raw material, or a plain old mistake, there’s about a 7% chance (industry average) you’re packaging product that is not up to spec and sending it to customers. This machine is an easy and inexpensive way to track this and make the right improvements.
Learn more in Issue 1 of ENG*NUITY magazine.
More Product Variety Packaged in the Same Machine
Our compression team engineered a new roll cage option to package more products within the same packaging machine. For both the BC2496 Block Compression System and CF1396 Compression Folding System, variable roll cages replace the traditional cage, allowing for more dimension options for packaging products.
In the BC1600-VC, the variable cage addition for the block compression packaging machine, the roll cage adjusts 11 inches (279 mm) to create a wider range of package sizes. The cage diameter flexes from 16 – 27 inches, giving you more options in the same machine footprint.
The CF9500-VC replaces the standard roll cage of the CF1396 with a variable cage that adjusts 9.5 – 15 inches in diameter. This add-on is ideal for an operation that manufacturers multiple SKUs of mattress products that require different packaging sizes for each.
Making the Most of Your Consumable Inventory
Two machine options, one for lamination and one for compression, each debuted this year to make the most of the consumable products you use in operations. For lamination equipment, automated gap control saves you in glue consumption. On compression equipment, the traversing stretch addition allows you to use the same SKU of film for multiple product dimensions without switching rolls.
We engineered the automated gap control add-on because we noticed our customers were using the same coat weight on every layer. Usually, this is done because one layer requires more glue application to reach a desired coat depth, and because other machines can’t account for the variability on the fly, all layers had to have the same amount applied. This is problematic, not only because you’re using more glue than you need, resulting in higher spend on consumables, but also because applying too much glue to layers that don’t need it means longer cure times for it to dry.
The gap control unit adjusts on the fly in production, so each layer can have its own perfect coat of glue to reach the ideal glue depth. This means less glue consumption, less cure time, and a better bond for each layer of your mattress build.
As Josh concluded, “R&D projects can be extremely challenging at times but it is in those times that you really see our team bond together and grow as an entire unit. These are some of the most impactful projects we do as we are able to learn from the various influences around us – our team, our customers, our vendors.”
We have more to go this year. Stay tuned as we unveil our newest machine in lamination equipment that might give you the perfect blend of automation.
Vision/Strategy: On the Business
Tradeshow Season: Foam Expo & Interzum
This year C3 showcased at two trade shows, Foam Expo in Novi, MI and Interzum in Cologne, DE. At both, we debuted a new booth design to engage visitors and provide an appealing, open space for people to learn more about our machinery and engineering strength.
At Foam Expo, we had a “new” theme: new booth, new account managers, and new machine! You met our newest Account Manager, Roman, who’s servicing domestic customers, and Tanner, our “face of film,” who helps facilities manage their film purchases with C3. You also met our newest machine, the FD1000, and saw it test foam products live on the floor. It was a fun week, and we enjoyed seeing the new developments in the foam industry.
We took our second trip to Interzum in May and were astounded by the growth and activity in the international foam and mattress market. There seemed to be a strong theme of compression packaging being a necessity rather than a marketing trend. Many visitors were interested in roll packaging to ship their products further and more efficiently, and they enjoyed seeing our CF1396 Compression Packaging Machine run live in our booth. We also had a number of discussions around the lamination process and how to take advantage of automation in the manufacturing line.
Mark Desjardin, our Business Development Leader, shares his reaction to our tradeshow season: “Tradeshows are a marathon of listening and entertaining. Somehow they are the most exhausting weeks with some of the best relationship building opportunities. Tradeshows create a residual ripple effect that keeps us busy for years to come, and this year was no exception.”
Celebrating 25 Years
On March 1, 2019, C3 celebrated 25 years in business. CEO and Founder Joe Van De Hey shared a little about the history of C3 and what motivated him to start his own business: “I always said that we could do it better. I just felt that if I could do it for somebody else, I should be able to do it for myself.”
Joe believes a big part of C3‘s success is the collaborative work environment here with people who are excited about their work. “It all comes back to culture,” he says, “it comes back to having the right people that know how to work together to get the job done and have the same passion as you do. I think that’s the key, is the passion.”
Speaking of having the right people, this anniversary wasn’t the only big milestone achieved in the first half of the year. In early June, we celebrated four employees reaching their own significant work anniversaries: Lois celebrated 25 years, while Grant, Zak, and Josh all celebrated 5 years with C3.
Vision/Strategy: Community Partnerships
C3 continues to support the efforts at Harbor House for Domestic Abuse in Appleton, WI. In March we facilitated another donation of 30 mattresses to the shelter. These beds are used for women who leave the shelter and need help with basic items for a new home. We also partnered with N&M Transfer Co, who donated a truck and driver for us to make the delivery.
If you or your company are interested in helping by donating bedding products to Harbor House, including bed bug covers, sheets, mattresses, or pillows, please contact us.
C3 expanded our Business Development and Shipping and Receiving Departments early this year. With the addition of Tanner Van De Hey in business development for film sales, and Kyle Walters, who oversees our Shipping and Receiving Department.
Kyle’s role allows us to revive our Shipping and Receiving departments to provide more efficiency with products entering and shipping from C3. With two locations, consumables inventory, and a growing manufacturing department, Kyle’s responsibilities help us better allocate our resources to the right projects. A major improvement for the team this year is kitting our incoming parts for machinery builds. This alignment with purchasing and receiving brought efficiency and tracking to our operations team, ensuring they had the parts they need when they needed them to finish a project. We’re happy to have Kyle’s leadership and organization as part of our team!
We also hired 10 interns for the summer to extend our administrative, marketing, and engineering departments. These interns are enjoying a summer of hands-on project work with direct mentorship from department leads.
We’re looking to fill two positions in the next six months:
If there’s someone you think would be a perfect fit in one of these areas, let us know.
We’re always looking for fun ways to ignite interest in manufacturing and engineering careers here in the Fox Cities. If you have ideas on how we can help, we’d love to hear from you, too.
If you’re curious about anything we’ve mentioned here, give us a ring at 920.749.9944 or contact us.
Thank you for supporting our business!