Selecting the right partner is critical to the success or failure of your miniature aluminum extrusion. The answers to these important questions will help you make the best possible choice.
1. What industries do you most commonly serve?
It is important to ask your extrusion partner if they have direct or related experience in your industry, or with the production of a part of similar style or complexity to yours. In its more than 50-year history, Minalex has worked with diverse market sectors, such as aerospace, military, consumer products, medical, automotive, lighting, sporting equipment and many others. Minalex has broad multi-industry experience, which allows for a wider range of custom extrusion capabilities and possibilities.
2. How precise are your tolerances, and what are the size limitations of your extrusions?
Tolerance allowances are often a strong determining factor when selecting an aluminum extrusion partner. Minalex has precision capabilities of +/- 0.001″ tolerances; 0.018″ walls and 0.060″ holes. Extrusions can be manufactured up to 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter, with a weight per foot of up to 1.5 pounds (0.6803 kg).
3. What are your minimum quantity order requirements?
Many aluminum extruders work in quantities of 1,000, 5,000, 50,000, or higher. Minalex doesn’t require a minimum order quantity. Because every order is unique, and every miniature aluminum extrusion profile is customized to specification at Minalex, an order can be as small as one unit.
4. What industry and quality certifications does your company currently have?
Your aluminum extruder should meet or exceed the quality and compliance requirements for the industries it services. Minalex, for example, is AS9100 and ISO9001 certified, with AMS Specs, MIL Spec, QQ Specs, and ITAR certification, as well as being recognized by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for environmental stewardship.
5. What post-extrusion services do you offer?
It is always beneficial to recognize the full range of capabilities of your extrusion partner, and the efficiencies and advantages they provide. Often, aluminum extruders offer additional ancillary support services to remove unnecessary complexity from the supply chain. Minalex offers additional capabilities, which include precision cutting, deburring, tumbling, finishing and CNC machining.
6. Will you work with us during all phases of our project?
Some extruders may work with a client in the early development phases of a component, if there is a commitment or clear opportunity to obtain a larger future order for commercial production. Minalex, as a custom extruder, has a long tradition of working with clients not only in the initial prototype phase, but through to the development and testing phases of each project. Many elect to continue working with Minalex for consistency of quality and service throughout the entire manufacturing process. When production circumstances warrant, customers always have the option of shifting production to an alternate provider, such as one that manages large volume orders only.
7. Do you keep an inventory of stock extrusions in-house, and what is your standard lead time?
Some aluminum extruders may stock common or very basic aluminum extrusions, however this is typically not the case with aluminum extrusion producers like Minalex that produce custom-to-spec components. With an extensive library of over 22,000 custom die profiles, Minalex is able to bring new component orders into production in a highly efficient manner with lead times determined by each project’s unique specifications and circumstances, as well as current production pipeline.
8. What is the longevity of your employee, client and supplier relationships?
This answer speaks volumes about the value a company places upon people and the service they provide to their clients. Minalex employees have an average tenure of over 23 years, with clients and supplier relationships averaging more than 30 years. All employees are cross-trained to provide the best service across the company’s broad capabilities, with redundant expertise to ensure continuity of operations.
9. What kind of interaction or input can I expect from your team?
Some aluminum extruders are set up to produce precisely what you ask for, no questions asked, and minimal interaction. If your requirements are deemed beyond their particular capabilities, they will simply pass on the project. Minalex approaches each client relationship with the goal of a positive outcome. It is common to work in close partnership with a client to determine the optimum approach to constructing a part. Sometimes, with minimal variation from the original spec, Minalex’s engineering team can identify ways to reduce cost, improve performance, or even accomplish both.
10. Where are your products manufactured?
Even if an aluminum extruder has a location in the United States, it should not be assumed that all aluminum extrusions are manufactured within its borders. It is always a good question to ask. At Minalex, all aluminum extrusions are proudly “Made in the U.S.A.” at the company’s New Jersey manufacturing facility.
Getting the right answers is just the beginning.
The custom miniature aluminum extrusions Minalex produces every day can be very complex and challenging, but our overall business strategy is one that’s simple and straightforward: Build and maintain as many outstanding relationships as we can throughout our industry, with our clients, and in the world beyond. And it’s reflected in our corporate culture where satisfying the needs of others is our primary goal.