How Designetics Got Its Start
The automotive industry has long been a pioneer in the development of new manufacturing methods to increase productivity and worker safety. And sometimes along the way, new companies – and even entire new industries – are born out of the need for new materials or processes. That’s the story behind how Designetics got its start.
The Challenge: Increase Production and Ensure Worker Safety
More than 30 years ago, automotive manufacturers began looking for a better way to assemble automotive glass to vehicles. Windshields had traditionally been mechanically fastened, but advances in commercial adhesives now made it possible to chemically bond glass to metal. But the methods in use were ineffective and unsafe. They involved manually masking off the area where fluid would be applied and using crude methods, such as rags or even socks, to apply the fluid. Once the fluid was wiped on the glass, a straight edge was used to “clean up” the line of fluid. Not only was accuracy difficult to maintain, but this application method led to drips, spills, and fluid splashes – not just onto the assembly line but also onto the workers.
Production was slow, scrap was high, and the fluids required for chemical fastening were extremely dangerous, putting workers at tremendous risk. Manufacturers needed a better way to apply fluids to glass – one that would provide a smooth, accurate coating, increase production rates, decrease scrap, and support worker safety.
Designetics Develops a Better Method, and a New Industry is Born
Facing these exact challenges, Libbey-Owens-Ford, a manufacturer of automotive glass, turned to Wally Krueger to help them solve the problem. Krueger was a mechanical engineer by trade and had already worked with LOF to implement several manufacturing improvements. He reached out to Craig Williams, who had a strong technical and business background, and together, they set out to create a safe, accurate, and repeatable process for dispensing fluids on glass.
In Krueger’s garage, they worked on prototypes of a new fluid applicator that would dispense an even amount of fluid onto the substrate and tested different kinds of applicator tips to regulate the fluid flow. When they found the right solution, they enlisted family members to make the applicators for their client. Designetics was born.
With Williams making sales calls and growing their customer base, they eventually outgrew Krueger’s garage and acquired their first building – a whopping 1200 square feet. By the early 2000’s, they had moved to their current, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, where Designetics operates a vertically integrated production process, manufacturing both standard, catalog-spec fluid applicators and dispensing systems, as well as custom solutions to meet virtually any fluid application challenge.
Today, Designetics provides handheld fluid applicators and automated systems to customers who use them in all sorts of industries – from appliance manufacturing to agriculture equipment, shoes, and marine equipment. Our applicators are used with a wide range of fluids and viscosities, and we continue to expand our product line and create new solutions for our customers. Whether this means creating fluid applicators from scratch or creating automated solutions, we sit down with each client to map out their production process and find ways to help them improve repeatability, productivity, and worker safety. And it all started with a single customer request, a bit of tinkering, and a garage.
Designetics Cares: Giving Back – It’s Our Way
Designetics may have created new methods – and an entire new industry – for applying fluids to substrates, but that’s only one source of our pride. While we’ve developed countless fluid application solutions and been awarded many patents, integrity is a touchstone in everything we do. And giving back – to our community, our employees, and the world at large – drives us. This is why we founded Designetics Cares, a nonprofit charitable foundation. Through Designetics Cares, we focus on our communities and their children, and strive to transform the lives of Designetics employees and the next generation in our community, through education, success, and personal health initiatives.