Vanguard Products Achieves ISO 9001:2015 Status

Since its inception and implementation in 1992, the ISO 9000 standard has been the most globally recognized and utilized quality standard. ( History And Improvements Of ISO 9000) The standard has had many evolutions since its beginnings as the BS 2570 standard, but the overall goal has been consistent:  to ensure the quality of an end product by establishing institutional preventative actions and requiring documented procedures for the production of the product.

 

Even though Vanguard Products had been utilizing these principals for decades in the production of our products, we realized early on that formal impartial third party recognition to the ISO 9001 standard was important to illustrate our commitment and history of producing quality, consistent products.  As a result, we have achieved and consistently maintained our ISO certification for over 10 years.

 

Updated ISO Certification

ISO 9001-2015 Certification

Recently, a new version of the standard has been implemented that adapts the specification to the changing new manufacturing environments which are driven by the complex supply chains, global competition and economies, and instantaneous information access.  These requirements are detailed in the new ISO 9001:2015 standard, and include:

 

  • The establishment of robust management systems
  • Increased top level management involvement and alignment of quality strategies with the overall business strategies
  • Implementation of a risk based quality management system to act as a preventative tool and provide opportunities for continuous improvement

 

These new attributes allow potential customers to be confident that an ISO 9001:2015 certified company has performed the necessary due diligence to service their needs on a quality, timely, consistent, and long term basis.

 

As we move past our 50th Anniversary year into the future, we at Vanguard have quickly embraced this new standard and are pleased to announce that we are one of the early manufacturers to incorporate these philosophies into our quality management system and to achieve ISO 9001:2015 certified status.  View our ISO 9001:2015 Certification

 

We look forward to applying our consistent quality philosophy to your engineered elastomeric needs in both our general rubber and EMI shielding products.

Posted on: February 21st, 2017 | Posted in: ISO Certification

Understanding the Importance of EMI Shielding in Medical Devices

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) are disturbances generated internally or externally that affect electrical circuits through induction.  They can affect all types of electrical equipment and can come from both natural and man-made sources. The disturbance can cause equipment to malfunction or even stop working.

In everyday life, EMI isn’t a problem that requires us to be all that concerned, as a large number of consumer electronic products are well designed for minimization of the effects of EMI.

Medical devices can be a different case, however.  Historically, these types of devices are difficult to shield from EMI, and the companies that are producing these products have had great difficulty satisfying both the FDA and FCC with respect to EMI issues.  When medical devices are affected, it can be damaging and even life threatening. For example, a ventilator can change breathing rate causing a patient distress due to EMI. Things as simple as cell phones, solar magnetic storms, thunder storms, and even ignition systems can cause problems with EMI. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged the problem and sought to find solutions as well as informing the public about the problems associated with EMI in medical instruments.

The good news is that shielding can help protect sensitive devices from EMI. While this is a good idea for any type of electrical equipment, it is imperative for high-tech devices that are used in medical scenarios such as hospitals and laboratories. Vanguard Products Corporation manufactures EMI shielding products and general rubber products to help with EMI concerns.

Vanguard’s EMI shielding products are used to reduce EMI exposure to electronics and equipment in conjunction with proper enclosure design. Applications currently include blood analyzers, DNA analyzers, and other laboratory type of equipment.

Visit us at the 2017 MDM West/Electronics West/Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show, booth 3378 at the Anaheim Convention Center from February 7-9 to see how we can help minimize EMI shielding issues in your medical electronics.  http://www.vanguardproducts.com/whats-new.html

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets, Medical Devices

Wrapping Up 2016 with a 50th Anniversary Celebration

2016 was a milestone year in many ways, and for us, it marked 50 successful years in business. For half a century now, we’ve been providing full service manufacturing and engineering services to industries as diverse as electronics, construction, food and beverage production, and more. Over the years our capabilities have grown, and our commitment to quality has never wavered.

From the humble beginnings in the family basement in the 60’s to our sophisticated manufacturing today, it is interesting to look back at some of the things that our company has been involved in over the years.

In the last 50 years, Vanguard has:

  • Worked with our customers to bring air conditioning, lighting, and electricity to the world
  • Brought quality coffee, wrinkle free clothes and various other innovations to the marketplace through our work in the small appliance industry
  • Helped advanced the defense of the US with our work with the military and military contractors, including work on Marine 1, the President’s helicopter
  • Aided in the exploration and commercialization of space travel with our work on the International Space Station and the various commercial launch companies. We’ve also been involved in the pursuit of the next frontier–Mars
  • In the medical arena, we’ve worked with our customers to develop implements for cranial surgery, provided products for various surgical implements to decrease recovery time, helped develop products that allow children with respiratory ailments and paralyzed patients to breathe easier, and provided cutting edge products that allow children and adults with severe diabetes to lead more normal lives. Additionally, we’ve done substantial work in the medical analytical field from blood to DNA analysis.  We’ve also provided numerous products to our customers in the dental and vision care industries to improve safety
  • Manufactured products used by our customers to aid the booming cellular and computer industries
  • Worked with our customers in the green energy fields in the development of efficient solar power systems and electric vehicles
  • Added style to the fashion industry and theater through our work on Broadway sets and fashion jewelry
  • Provided key products to allow clean water to be brought throughout the world
  • Supported farming through our work with suppliers to the agricultural and dairy industries
  • Helped the hobbyists around the world in their leisure time endeavors, from RC cars and planes, to hunting and fishing, to canoeing and paddleboarding, to beer making and virtual reality gaming
  • Along with our customers, developed new innovative products for the food services industry

 

At Vanguard, though it is good to look back, we are always focusing forward. In the next year, we will be pursuing our ISO-9001/2015 certification, and looking to new markets and applications. We are looking forward to what the next 50 years will bring!

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Keeping Up with REACH Restrictions in the Chemical and Material Sector

Across the globe, regulations continue to change to meet the growing need for safety in the chemical and material market. The European Union, through its European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), has adopted the REACH regulation, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Though REACH came into being back in 2007, regulations have continued to evolve as more chemical research and information becomes available. If a substance’s risk is deemed unmanageable, it can be banned.

Chemicals LabelFor manufacturers, importers, and downstream users in the European Union, the burden is on these companies to ensure the products they are working with or handling follow REACH guidelines. There are a couple of categories to be especially mindful of – Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), and Substitute it Now (SIN). SVHCs include carcinogens and mutagens, and  toxic bioaccumulative agents. Over the years, the list of SVHCs has grown from about a dozen original chemicals to include 163 different substances, most of which are found in shrink boot adapters, backshells, resistor fixed single-surface mounts, and other products.

The SIN list includes a staggering 830 substances that are commonly found in resistors, power management products, wires and cables, rubber and plastics, and many EMI shielding gaskets. All together, we can expect to see about 1,000 substances on the REACH substance list in the coming years.  Inclusion on the SIN list indicates that ECHA has determined that these materials may be harmful, and it is, more or less, their warning to designers to try and avoid the inclusion of these materials in their product, as it is likely that they may be moved to the SVHC list at some point in the future.

In addition to REACH regulations, the EU mandates that all electrical products meet RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations. Notably, this restriction limits the amount of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium in electronic devices.

Therefore, it’s important for manufacturers to select materials that comply with REACH and RoHS regulations. Even if the manufacturers themselves are not in the European Union, it’s important to consider the needs of potential customers around the world during product development.

At Vanguard Products, we take great pains to insure that products in both our EMI shielding gaskets and in our general rubber goods are fully compliant with the current SVHC and RoHS restrictions.  We also have a vision toward the future by limiting our use of substances that are on the SIN list, as they are highly likely to be restricted at some point in the near future, causing our customers potential issues and expensive requalification.

For example, Nickel/Graphite has been promoted extensively in the EMI/RFI shielding community for use in electronics products.   With an eye to the future, we have avoided using this type of material in our Ultra-Vanshield product line, as it would appear to be targeted in the near future by ECHA for reduction or exclusion, as numerous nickel compounds are currently on the SIN list.

In many tubing applications, “rubbery” plastics, such as PVC, commonly need to include significant amounts of plasticizers that have been included on the SVHC listing in order to achieve their rubber-like feel.  These plasticizers can be dangerous as they can leach into the fluid flowing within the tubes.  Our Vansil and Vanprosil  silicone products do not need to include these plasticizers, and as such, are more easily compliant to the SVHC regulations.

The bottom line is that when choosing materials and specifying products, it is important to keep in mind not only the current restrictions, but what the future holds.  Selecting Vanguard Products for either rubber applications or EMI shielding applications makes that task much easier.

Posted on: November 2nd, 2016 | Posted in: REACH Regulations

Should We Be Worried About the Safety of Wireless Electronic Accessories?

With the newest phone releases still getting mixed reviews in terms of functionality, one aspect that’s important to consider is safety. The biggest change arguably is the abandonment of the standard earbuds in favor of wireless ones – getting rid of the headphone jack altogether in the new model.

For most people, the biggest drawback to this change is the increased possibility of losing your earbuds. But for those of us who work in the electromagnetic shielding field, there’s the question of possible health risks associated with these wireless accessories.

With most mobile devices, we have the option of using a wired headset with headphones and microphone that allow us to communicate without holding the actual device so close to our heads. Though the radiation emitted from these devices is minimal, there’s little way of knowing the long-term effects of low-level exposure implanted so close to the brain. Now that the wired headset are phasing out, users will have to choose between holding the phone to their ear, or using Bluetooth ear buds – but are they any safer?

According to a few sources, the risks associated with wireless earbud use are the same as those with any other listening device – potential hearing loss if the volume is too loud, and distractions while walking or driving. The researchers so far contend that there is no increased risk of cancer from this type of radiation exposure. In fact, they argue that using the wireless Bluetooth option actually reduces the amount of electromagnetic radiation exposure as opposed to having the phone directly against your ear.

However, this is far from an open and shut case. The Environmental Health Trust has published a number of pieces examining the effects of electromagnetic fields on mammals. Researchers found that in addition to disrupting sleep patterns, wireless radiation in combination with exposure to other carcinogens can increase the risk of cancer development. So while on their own, electromagnetic fields may not cause cancer, they may contribute to more cases in individuals who are exposed to other factors – and with so many potential carcinogens in the air and even in our food already, adding another susceptibility can be a major problem.

With conflicting reports about the safety of these types of products, it’s important to consider appropriate shielding measures in electronic devices. Our Ultra-Vanshield products are used by manufacturers to limit the electromagnetic radiation emitted from common electronic devices such as computers and telecommunications equipment. Though we can’t say that this solves the possible problems associated with cellphones and Bluetooth devices, we will continue to do our part to improve the safety of consumer technology. In the meantime, we’ll continue to research this topic and work to solve noted problems.

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 | Posted in: Ultra Vanshield Sponge Product Line

What’s New with NASA’s Orion Project?

By now, most people are aware that efforts are underway to bring humans out of low Earth orbit, past the Moon, and on to Mars. But few people are aware of the extensive research and testing that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the safety of astronauts on those future missions. In order to make the trip a reality, new technologies must be designed to cope with the harsh environment of outer space.

One of the most important components of a space mission is the spacecraft itself – and a trip to Mars requires a very special craft. As such, NASA has been working with Lockheed Martin and other vendors to develop this spacecraft, called Orion.

The Orion crew capsule resembles early crew modules from NASA’s history, taking on a conical shape. It will be mounted on a rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS), which will propel it into space.

One of the biggest hurdles of space flight is getting through Earth’s atmosphere and being exposed to high heat and radiation during the journey. For this reason, it’s critical to conduct extensive research and testing to determine the right material combinations for this type of mission.

Not only is it important for the craft itself and its occupants to be adequately protected, but the electronic systems must also be taken into consideration. It’s therefore necessary to select electromagnetic (EM) shielding to guard against disruptive electromagnetic frequencies. And, similarly, it’s important to consider the possibility of electrostatic discharge (ESD) impacting the circuitry, and to find reliable ESD protection.

As a supplier of EM and ESD shielding materials, Vanguard Products is proud to have a role in ensuring a safe mission for the Orion team. We look forward to watching the project’s progress and eventually sending humans on long-distance flights through space, knowing that we had a hand in that success.

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 | Posted in: aerospace grade o-rings, EMI Shielding Gaskets

The Importance of Non-Leaching Materials in Water Treatment Applications

Now that we’ve reached the start of summer, one thing that’s on most people’s minds is water. Whether you’re heading to the local pool or reaching for a cool beverage, this time of year, you can never seem to have enough water. But how can municipalities ensure the safety of their water?

Any water that’s accessed through a tap has already undergone extensive processing. Wastewater and drinking water treatment plants go through billions of gallons of water every day. But even as bacteria and contaminants are filtered out, there’s still a concern of other pollutants leaching into the water from the system itself. To combat this issue, it’s important for treatment systems to use non-leaching materials, including silicone tubing and seals.  Even after the water reaches your home, there are several places where harmful contamination can be picked up from places in your homes. PVC, a commonly used material for piping and flexible tubing, has been known to leach concerning chemicals, and several countries in Europe are moving to ban its use wherever possible. Unlike metal pipes that can corrode or leach heavy metals into the water, silicone offers a safe alternative even when exposed to high temperatures.

And after processing, silicone materials are often used in other applications. In laboratories, for example, there is always a need for high-purity water for medical and scientific purposes. Any contamination at all could throw off results, so employing a system that won’t introduce foreign particles is essential. And of course, standard drinking water must also be kept clean to keep residents healthy. Recent headlines have shown the dangers of old water infrastructure leading to lead contamination throughout the country – which is why it is so important to take stock of all of the materials throughout the water supply chain.

Even in household filtration systems – including water and ice dispensers in refrigerators – any time water is being brought from one location to another, consider the materials being used during transport. Silicone is a safe material that can fill many roles in the water processing sector.

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 | Posted in: food grade o-rings, Silicone Tubing

Eliminating Harmful BPA from the Food & Beverage Industry

As food and beverage processing continues to evolve, there’s a focus on flexible, durable products that can withstand pressure and protect the products inside. For this reason, plastics are a common material for fluid conveyance and other parts used in processing.

Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a plasticizer used in products involved in the food processing sector . It has been in use for almost 50 years and was a top choice for use in plastics due to its ability to be easily molded, create shatterproof products, and allow those products to be lightweight. Scientists have since found that BPA can leach into foods and drinks, leading to hormonal disruptions. These disruptions result in higher rates of neurological, immunity, and reproductive problems. Exposure to BPA has also been linked to childhood asthma, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Silicone has recently become popular on the market due its natural elastic properties without the need for plasticizers. Silicone doesn’t use BPA, or other plasticizers like BPS, or BPF, making it an ideal material for food and beverage processing applications. Throughout food manufacturing plants, silicone can replace plastics in conveying systems, molded parts, and seals. Vanguard Products Corporation produces silicones that are perfect alternatives in these roles, and many are certified to NSF-51 for safety when they come in contact with food and drink products. Silicone is a much safer alternative for health-conscious food manufacturers and consumers. We strongly recommend using this material rather than plastic-based products for food and beverage production and handling.

To speak with an expert and discuss the benefits of silicone in food handling, call Vanguard at 203-744-7265.

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 | Posted in: food grade o-rings

The Rise of Home Brewing and the Need for Safety in Beer Production

As more people are turned on to natural foods and beverages and locally sourced products, we’re seeing a general rise in the number of home beer brewers. With craft beers becoming more popular and new flavor infusions coming out daily, it’s no wonder that people are inspired to create their own one-of-a-kind brews. In fact, even as the general market for beer is declining, we’re seeing a rise in demand for craft beers.

But before you get started, there’s a bit of research and investment that must be done. In addition to the necessary ingredients, the infrastructure for the entire process must also be carefully thought out and put together beforehand. And when choosing materials for any type of food or drink production, it’s vitally important to look for products that are designed for that particular use.

Silicone Tubing for Food and Bev

Translucent Silicone Tubing Next to Red Silicone Tube

Increasingly, we’re seeing demand for translucent tubing products, which allow brewers to keep an eye on fluid flow. And because our tubing products are manufactured domestically, customers know that they are not getting a product that will leach dangerous chemicals into the beer.

As an added measure of defense, we offer tubing products that are NSF-51 certified, which pertains to the safety of the product at elevated temperatures in contact with food and beverages. So even at high temperatures, brewers can rest assured that no dangerous toxins will contaminate the beverage. Since boiling is an important step in the brewing process, it is very important that home brewers are using NSF-51 products that are resistant to heat.

To learn more about food grade silicone products that can be used in home brewing, visit our site to view our capabilities.

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 | Posted in: NSF-51 listed materials

What Medical Designers Need to Know When Specifying “Medical Grade” Rubber Products

As Medical Design & Manufacturing West (MD&M West) fast approaches, we’re looking forward to educating attendees on what to be aware of when specifying rubber products for the medical field.

We encourage medical designers to beware when specifying “medical grade” rubber products. The key is to understand the intended use of the product before specifying it as “medical grade.”

Why is this important? Using the term “medical grade” when specifying rubber products can lead to over paying for products when it really isn’t necessary. In determining the appropriate material for any particular application, you should discuss the application parameters with your supplier. Below are some sample questions to help get started:

  1. Is the product going to be used in an “invasive” sense, meaning will the rubber product come in direct contact with the inner body cavity or with fluids entering the inner body cavity directly?
  2. Will the product be implanted for more or less than 28 days?
  3. Will the product have contact with food or fluids entering the bloodstream or digestive tract?
  4. Will the product be in contact with fluids exiting the body only?
  5. Will the product be in contact with skin?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your application actually requires medical grade rubber products.

Want to find out whether your medical device requires medical grade materials? Vanguard Products will be on hand to answer questions and guide you toward the best options at Booth 3295 at MD&M West from February 9 to 11, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. The event will include numerous other educational opportunities throughout the week, and we look forward to learning about the latest industrial trends while also sharing our knowledge about material selection.

MDM_MTW_West14_4c

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 | Posted in: Trade Shows