When you’re a leading manufacturer with a proud heritage of building innovative window and door products for more than 90 years, choosing a supply partner who shares your vision and values is a critical factor in maintaining your reputation for quality and superiority. Such were the circumstances that launched the long-standing relationship between Pella and Minalex, the leading manufacturer of miniature aluminum extrusions.
With headquarters and manufacturing facilities located in Whitehouse, NJ the fifty-year-old family-owned Minalex company supplies parts to a long list of clients in industries that include military, aerospace, healthcare, medical, lighting and many others.
The relationship between Minalex and Pella has been sustained by the window maker’s ongoing need for efficiency, precision and affordability in the research and development of next-generation products and the continuous improvement of current ones. Pella relies on Minalex to supply prototype aluminum extrusions for window tracks and slides during product-testing phases.
“We regularly produce aluminum extrusions with extremely tight tolerances on one or more dimensions of an extrusion, depending on the shape,” says Michael Casey, Vice President of Sales & Planning for Minalex. “This unique ability enables the product engineers to design and specify extrusions in situations where close tolerances are required.”
Among the many demonstrable benefits of close-tolerance miniature aluminum extrusions are the performance standards they achieve, a tight secure fit, and the elimination of the need for expensive machining of similar stainless steel components during the prototype phase.
Minalex is regularly called upon to provide small aluminum extrusion parts with tolerances that can be as exacting as +/- 0.001, walls as thin as 0.018”, and holes as small as 0.060”. Michael Casey continues, “With our ability to extrude in diameter sizes that range from as much as three-and-a-half inches all the way down to one-quarter of an inch, we can create one-off and short-run versions of track and slide designs in an endless variety of configurations on a very short schedule.”
Compared to aluminum, steel prototyping is viewed as cost prohibitive due to the time, labor and material needed to do a single or small set of prototyped pieces. Once Pella’s prototype testing with the Minalex supplied window aluminum extrusions have been completed, the conversion to scale-up manufacturing begins using steel components, which are favored for their long-term durability.
Along with its standard and custom extrusion capabilities, Minalex also offers a variety of value-added services, including precision cutting, deburring, tumbling, finishing and CNC machining. In addition to the parts they supply, the company believes longstanding client partnerships are one of the most valuable things they provide. Michael Casey concludes, “Now in our second half-century, what make us most proud are the relationships we’ve ‘manufactured,’ like the one with Pella.”