More than a few times a year we're tasked with coming up with product names. Typically, these names are for industrial products that serve a specific manufacturing purpose. Last year we were asked to name several friction welding processes. Many of the competitive names in the field were basically acronyms of the specific process being named. This was great for us. Let me explain why.
When engineers name products they tend to be very literal and very specific. They tend to be so close to the process that they might not generate a name that non-engineers who are not deeply involved in the process will understand. Acronyms are like the morse code of engineers. If you're in the loop, you get it, otherwise you smile and walk away not knowing what they're talking about. This industry norm of naming really benefits our clients who rely on us to coin names or terms for them to stake their claim. In this case, the client, wanted to name their unique process for solid state welding; specifically Friction Stir Spot Welding and Friction Spin Welding. Their competitors were using acronyms that combined the literal terminology (FSW) and maybe a little twist to make it their own. We think differently, so our approach to naming the product starts well, differently.
In the case of the friction stir spot welding we felt that the real competition was the common process of spot welding. In this case, resistance welding. So having a name that is reminiscent of traditional spot welding that points to something unique would better capture the attention of the uninitiated as well as the friction welding veterans. And we realized that spin welding isn't like resistance welding. It's more of a "melding" of the parent metal since it doesn't produce a nugget that you'd fine with traditional spot welding. With this, we pitched the name SpotMELD. Says what it does, and in a way that's a wink towards traditional welding. From this, we then moved through their new product lines and stay true to 'saying what it' is while including the MELD to tie in the 'process differentiator'. Thus, spin welding became SpinMELD and so forth.
Did this work? Actually, really well. It allowed us to break through some noise in the media and stand apart from competitive offerings. And our client's customers even complimented them on the new product and specifically on the simple, clear cut name for it. And this simple approach stands out well in the SEO and social media world, was a snap to trademark, and is proving to be sticky with consumers. All good things.
Automatic Feed Company, the client we've enjoyed a thirteen year relationship with wanted to dress up their job site "tool box". And since we're a bit goofy they thought we might have a fun idea. We didn't disappoint.
This 'tool box' is really approaching the size of a sea container, complete with drill presses and other large tools inside...it's more like a mobile tool shop. We felt that taking a bit of a super-sized literal approach could be fun. Working with our large format vinyl supplier we produced a wrap to cover the tool box with a skin that made it look like a really large hand-carried toolbox. The result is below. Both the front and back look identical and the ends continue the subterfuge with a hand-written-looking phone number and web URL. It's like some giant dropped his toolbox on the worksite. It's certainly easy to see across the shop floor and it attracts all of the right kind of attention. So the next time you have an opportunity to place something on your customer's shop floor during a long equipment installation, consider doing something fun that reminder them you're on the job.
Since 2003, the Movember Foundation has transformed November into Movember to promote men's health issues. This year I'm, of my own free will and under no duress, coercion or peer pressure am donating my face — Hunter Coe actually invited me to join his COE team, and I'm glad he did. It's going to be fun and it's for a great cause. Please check out the Movember Foundation website to learn how you can join in. Next time you see me, chances are I'll be sporting "The Trucker" style mustache. Also, I'd appreciate any donations...please follow the button link below. Thank you, kindly.
You might enjoy travel, I certainly do. Then again, I'm the kind of person who falls asleep at take-off and wakes-up during the landing. My fellow travelers might not appreciate that since I've been told that I snore like some kind of Tyrannosaurus Rex with sleep apnea. But over a couple of decades I've learned a few things and I'd like to share one today. Trains RULE! Well, let me qualify that...trains to Chicago rule!
Chicago is a frequent destination for me. Coming from Eastern Michigan, you might think it's a quick drive across I-94, but not so. GPS mapping programs will estimate a drive from Grand Blanc, MI to Chicago to last about four and a half hours. But what the software doesn't know is that I-94 is hell in Winter, always, And I-94 ALWAYS has construction and is heavily travelled by freight haulers. This makes it the perfect combination of NOT getting there is under 5 hours, EVER!
The friendly skies offer a brief hour long flight with lots of options for travel times between Detroit and Chicago. But when you start stacking up the drive time to the airport, the delays in the security line and then the cramped flight itself you again end up at around five hours one way.
This bring me to trains. So when a friend first suggested the train a few years ago I thought, you've got to be kidding me, what an old fashioned, slow way to travel across country. And it turns out I was completely wrong! Not only do trains report their travel time accurately, which for my trips to Chicago is about four hours and forty-five minutes, they also cost about half of air travel. Business class on the train is roomier than most airport premium lounges and costs less than a coach air fare. Trains offer a dining car, free WiFi and absolutely no lines through security, ticket counters or other baggage checks. Oh, and they're pretty impervious to bad weather...they just push through while other sit on the tarmac or park in traffic jams. You simply buy your ticket online, show up, hop on with your bags and pick out a very roomy seat. Then work, sleep or take in the countryside...the views are fantastic.
So if you're up for something new, give the rails a try. Unless you find yourself seated next to me while I snore away the miles, you'll likely enjoy the change of pace.
Contributor: Nancy Lesinski
For most people, November brings thoughts of the impending holidays starting with Thanksgiving, our day of feasting and thankfulness. For me, November starts with my thoughts focused on FABTECH, the annual trade show and conference where new technologies in metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing are launched.
It’s a busy time for our marketing communications team as we support our customers with booth planning and management, traffic building ideas, video and print collateral, sales tools, press relations, you name it. This year has been especially exciting as we are supporting the launch of numerous new technologies.
Closely listening to the customer and understanding market trends is key to our clients' innovation process. It is really cool to watch as they develop new solutions and refine others to overcome particular manufacturing challenges. Much of their recent development has been focused on the handling of various lightweight materials, whether aluminum or the advanced higher-strength steels — both have required new ways of cutting, forming, joining on the shop floor.
To address this issue and expand upon its new high-strength straightener launched last year, COE Press Equipment (Sterling Heights, MI) is introducing its new SpaceMaster® Series 4 compact coil line, which can process these new lighter, high-yield, high-strength materials at up to 70 SPM in under 23 ft. of space! This is less than half the footprint of a typical press feed line, yet provides the flexibility to process a wide range of coil material and thickness.
Another client, LaserCoil Technologies (Perrysburg, Ohio), is introducing its new Multiple-Head Laser Cutting system, which can produce blanks from any type of coil stock (AHSS, CRS, Aluminum, pre-coated materials, etc) at speeds never before achievable, while improving quality and eliminating the need for press dies and maintenance costs. The flexibility and short changeover time of this technology is a game changer for the stamping industry.
Then, to handle the difficulties presented by the welding of aluminum, Coldwater Machine Company (Coldwater, Ohio) will be showcasing its innovative friction welding solutions for joining ferrous, non-ferrous and dissimilar materials. Coldwater’s SPOTMeld™ system can join multiple layers of aluminum sheet metal, which can help the automakers as they seek efficient manufacturing solutions for increasing use of lightweight materials.
I am inspired and grateful that I have the opportunity to work with such innovative companies who are full of really smart as well as really nice people. How many people get to say that they learn something every day while having fun along the way? My holiday season starts by giving thanks for that. And, given that there’s no overeating involved like at Thanksgiving — it’s also addresses MY lightweighting issue!
Served in various capacities within capital equipment engineering, robotics, project management, sales and marketing.
L&A collaborates with Industry Scope, Prior to L&A Nancy was Vice President of Public Relations for a full service B2B agency.