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IndustryNet Blog

What to look for in a contract manufacturer

Posted by IndustryNet on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

100000169conveyorsBusinesses can gain many advantages by using a contract manufacturer. They can choose a company that is highly skilled and quality certified for fabrication or formulation.

Contracting firms avoid risky capital investments in new equipment and can pass on the costs of hiring and training additional personnel to their production partners.

One downside of employing a contractor is the increased shipping costs that stem from the use of a distant source. The extensive time and travel required to inspect facilities and monitor quality can also become drawbacks.

Businesses must also carefully scrutinize their providers to maintain the security of their intellectual property. The following companies in six different industrial sectors illustrate how contract manufacturers can minimize costs and address quality, logistical and security concerns for their clients.


Located in a suburb of Chicago, a global transportation hub, Andrew Technologies Inc. of Wheeling, Illinois, is ideally positioned to reduce both shipping and travel costs for their clients. Certifications in both ISO:2008 and ISO: 13485:2003 reflect the excellence of their quality management system for the manufacturing of circuit boards and circuit board assemblies. As a member of the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC), it trains and certifies its staff to IPC standards.

As a supplier to aerospace, the nuclear industry, and the military, lives depend of the quality of products fabricated by Scott ElectroKrafts Inc. It holds certifications in AS 9100 Revision C and ISO 9001:2008. It maintains IPC-certified trainers on staff and to ensure the safety of their products, is RoHS compliant. Located in Andover, Connecticut, connected to New York City by Route I-95, Scott is well positioned to take advantage of the transportation opportunities available in the New York-Newark area.chip manufacturing

Prototyping is essential in the design of electronics. The engineers at STI Electronics Inc. in Madison, Alabama, provide the expertise to accomplish this vital step, shortening the time to market for their customers. It is an IPC 7711/21-approved development center, featuring a 26,000-square-foot manufacturing lab. STI's technicians and associates are all certified to the highest IPC standard: IPC J-STD -001ES.

There are few things more annoying or frustrating than trying to connect equipment with a defective cable. Clients of Whitesburg Electronics Inc. of Laceys Spring, Alabama, have confidence that the cables their customers receive will be fully functional. Established in 1977 as a privately held company, Whitesburg is celebrating 30 years of excellence. In addition to manufacturing cables and harness assemblies, Whitesburg's services include design engineering, testing and prototyping. They serve both military and commercial customers.


In their 77-year history, Royal Chemical Co. of Twinsburg, Ohio, has safely maintained the confidential information involved with over 5,000 formulations, a security record that is challenging for offshore manufacturers to match. Five facilities strategically located across the country reduce shipping costs. Royal's facility exceeds both OSHA and EPA standards, easing regulatory concerns for its customers.

Serving Fortune 500 companies, Haviland Enterprises Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides both contract manufacturing and packaging services. The company also offers a full range of analytical services. Haviland performs blending and filling operations for powder and liquid products, utilizing both bottles and pouches.

rollerfactoryColor flows from Dystar L.P. in Dalton, Georgia. For more than a century it has been an innovator in the textile industry. Its products have now expanded to special chemicals for paints, coatings, paper and packaging, and food and beverages.

With the convenience of 17 production sites, Dystar offers a dazzling array of colorants to customers around the globe.

The chemists at LabChem Inc. in Zelienople, Pennsylvania are problem solvers. Whether a customer requests the use of alternative materials, nonstandard formulations, or specialized analyses, they are ready to meet their needs. LabChem also provides private labeling and specialized containers. The company is ISO:9001:2015 certified.


The U.S. strictly controls flavorings by the regulations contained in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. It is essential that firms seeking contract manufacturing in this sector seek out companies experienced in every aspect of the law. Blue Mountain Enterprises has been in business in Arcadia, Indiana, since 1988.

It has specialized in savory flavors such as those used in chili or spicy chicken tenders. Upon opening a culinology lab that blends the culinary arts with food science, Blue Mountain has developed flavors for a broader range of products, including microwave meats, hummus and chocolate.

Since 1947, Sterling Extract Company Inc. in Franklin Park, Illinois, has been developing vanilla and other extracts. It offers natural and artificial flavors to the baking and confectionery industries. The creative and analytic chemists at Sterling will custom blend flavors and provide samples on request.


Like flavorings, medical devices are controlled by federal regulations. The possibility of litigation makes the choice of a qualified manufacturer imperative. KMC Systems in Merrimack, New Hampshire, is ISO 13485-certified, and its quality management system adheres to IEC 62304. The system also encompasses FDA current good manufacturing processes, calibration and metrology, FDA QSR Parts 820, 803 and 806, and Part 11 compliant software development.

Surya Electronics Inc. of Glendale Heights, Illinois, has been a full-service provider of printed circuit boards, including those incorporated in medical devices, since 1983. It is certified to ISO 13485. It offers both design and engineering services. Every project includes a manual design inspection, regardless of who performed the original engineering.

In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Five Star Companies perform contract manufacturing services for implants, instruments, prototypes and special designs. They hold certifications to both ISO 13485 and ISO 9001:2008. They emphasize lean manufacturing and six sigma practices. The manufacturing division is audited annually by leaders in the industry such as DePuy, Johnson and Johnson, Zimmer and Symmetry.

Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing Co. in Wausau, Wisconsin, operates an FDA-registered facility and is ISO 13485 certified. Its services encompass assembly, building, testing and fulfillment. Wilson-Hurd's products include disposable printed electrodes, hydrogel printed sensors and cables.


The Will-Burt Co. in Orville, Ohio, offers powder coating and quick turnaround prototyping services. It operates under both ISO 9001:2015 and the ISO 14001 environmental management system. Will-Burt is committed to providing cost savings and on-time delivery for its customers, through continual improvement of processes.

Custom fabrication is the specialty of Evans MacTavish Agricraft Inc. of Wilson, North Carolina. Its modern manufacturing plant employs computer numerical control (CNC) to produce parts precisely to customer specifications and offers custom welding of all metals.

With 30 years of experience, this company will tackle any application a customer can propose.

Product Mfg. Inc. in Canby, Oregon has structured its internal quality control system to ISO standards. Its 22 machine shop uses CNC and manufactures products from both standard and exotic metals. The company fabricates articles from golf ball to golf cart size and serves the Pacific Northwest.


American Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, makes and packages both human and veterinary pharmaceuticals. It provides its liquid dosage products in sizes from one ounce to one gallon. It fills plastic and aluminum tubes from 7.5 grams to 8 ounces.

Leading_Chemical_Companies2Products include ointments, topicals and antibiotics. It samples all incoming materials in a controlled environment and personnel trained in cGMP perform the analysis of finished products for quality.

From its base in San Diego, California, Ajinomoto Althea, Inc. partners with clients worldwide in the clinical drug development process. They are a leader in aseptic filling of syringes and vials and work with recombinant DNA to produce biological products. Their procedures comply with both FDA and European cGMP standards. Their devotion to excellence extends to serving their customers in a cost-efficient and timely manner.


According to data gathered by IndustryNet, sales of plastics contract manufacturers rose 15.28 percent over the past year, in contrast to a rise of 2.26 percent for contract manufacturing as a whole and 0.05 percent for all manufacturing sectors. It is clear from these statistics that many businesses see an advantage in availing themselves of the benefits of these manufacturers.

The following companies show the variety of services and products offered.

HTI Plastics Inc. of Lincoln, Nebraska, manufactures high quality plastic products through the molding process. HTI works with its clients from the inception of a project through its completion. It concentrates on continuous improvement and timely delivery. Services to their customers include food packaging, medical device packaging and custom injection molding.

HTI is ISO 13485:2003-registered, ISO 9001:2008-certified and USDA-approved and registered. It complies with and is a registered facility of FDA 21 CFR 820. It also complies with cGMP. HTI participates in the Annual Food Safety Audit by NSF Cook and Thurber.

Alphapointe supports youth and adults who are blind or visually handicapped in Kansas City, Missouri. Operating under ISO 9001:2008, Alphapointe fabricates plastic products for both commercial and government customers, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and Express Scripts. It uses FDA-approved top grade polymers to manufacture containers for prescriptions and supplements.

Meridian Products Corp. of Dallas, Texas, is an ISO 9001:2008-certified manufacturer of plastic products. Its extensive services cover the manufacturing and delivery of merchandise and include assembly, decorating, custom packaging, warehousing and distribution. Meridian works closely with customers throughout planning phases to address all the critical requirements of a product.

Contract Manufacturing and Packagingcreative packaging

Contract manufacturing and packaging is another significant source of sales growth in the industry. The production of store shelf-ready merchandise is attractive to businesses interested in saving time, money and labor.

A complete promotion and fulfillment house, Jonco Industries Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin meets this demand. From prototype to delivery, it shepherds a product from concept through production and into the hands of consumers.

Leading brands look to Accel Inc. in New Albany, Ohio to assemble their products. Its services encompass everything from thermoforming to gift wrapping.

Their customers include such diverse companies as Beechnut, Honeywell, Victoria's Secret and Abbot Nutrition. It holds an ISO 9001:2008 certification. Founded in 1995, Accel has seen constant and exceptional growth.

Locating a contract manufacturer

To learn more about these top contract manufacturing companies, as well as hundreds of thousands of other U.S. companies, visit IndustryNet. IndustryNet providies information on 400,000 U.S. manufacturers as well as suppliers of over 10,000 industrial products and services.


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