What do you wear when you work with molten metal? Handle emergency situations where flash fire is a hazard? Or handle fluids at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit? These are issues that safety clothing manufacturer Silver Needle Inc. thinks about every day. They make custom clothing that protects its wearer from extreme temperatures, with the help of Autometrix digitizing, pattern and cutting system.
Custom for Every Customer
Every customer’s needs are different and most of the products Silver Needle manufacturers are custom made. “A lot of the products on our website are very basic compared to some of our protective clothing that customers request,” said Silver Needle’s Technical Services Manager Adam Duhamel, “but they all started out as a customer request. You won’t find some of these things anywhere else.”
Because safety is paramount when handling very hot or very cold materials, Silver Needle spends a lot of time talking to their customers about what they need. Duhamel explains: “We need to understand exactly what our customers are doing with our products so that we can make recommendations and make sure they function as intended.” Once Silver Needle has a complete understanding of how their product will be used, they go to work designing and manufacturing the perfect coverall, glove, hood, or coat for that customer.
Competing with Overseas Manufacturing Facilities
Every piece Silver Needle makes is manufactured in the U.S. and sourced from fabric made in the U.S. to ensure compliance with the highest standards. This makes it hard to compete with cheaper imported fabrics and factories that are overseas. They rely on Autometrix fabric cutting machines to keep their costs down. “The speed makes all the difference in the world. We’re just trying to cut down labor time. This is what kills us, manufacturing in the U.S. Labor time and cost of materials.” said Duhamel. “We compete with high-visibility vests that are made overseas and sell for $4 or $5. We can’t turn our machines on and sit someone down to sew for that. This is where Autometrix helps us a lot – it keeps our time down, and the patterns are consistent every time. It helps to close that gap.”
A More Efficient, Less Expensive Way to Cut Hides
HideShot has all of these little features that make it so that you don’t have to worry about that stuff. You can throw in all these little pattern pieces that we use for fillers and it will fill in the hide within a minute, avoiding all the flaws
Adam Duhamel, Silver Needle
Duhamel is pleased with how PatternSmith has helped automate pattern cutting on most of the materials Silver Needle uses. Silver Needle has used the Autometrix HideShot system for years and recently upgraded so that the system would utilize the automatic nesting software available with the vision system. However, the company had been skeptical about using HideShot to automate nesting and pattern cutting on leather hides. “We were never completely comfortable that it would work because sometimes the hides have flaws in them – would it cut over the flaws?” After Autometrix customer service representative Gary Unitt came out to Silver Needle’s facility to explain how to use all of HideShot’s features, Duhamel was won over. “HideShot has all of these little features that make it so that you don’t have to worry about that stuff,” said Duhamel. “You can throw in all these little pattern pieces that we use for fillers and it will fill in the hide within a minute, avoiding all the flaws.” HideShot is saving Silver Needle hours of time, and the software’s nesting ability is more efficient than any worker trying to fit the pieces together manually. The software can literally try hundreds if not thousands of different combinations of patterns in under a minute finding the most efficient layout. This saves Silver Needle money, because they scrap less material. The cost savings adds up quickly when you are cutting expensive leather hides.
Autometrix is proud to support a customer like Silver Needle who goes the extra mile to make sure their customers are happy. And, we are thrilled that Silver Needle feels the same way about us. Take it from Adam Duhamel, who said “Everybody at Autometrix is great. We’re small, and we aren’t always treated like a major player in the industry. You treat us like we are top notch.” You *are* top notch, Silver Needle! Thank you for your business!