Reshoring Manufacturing: Why It Simply Makes Sense

According to a survey earlier this year[1], 26% of the nation’s employers plan to reshore jobs by the end of 2014; companies from Apple to Ford to Walmart are once again investing in America, returning their business to U.S. soil.

The trend is known as reshoring, and it’s taking on momentum in a major way. While one of the reasons for it could be considered pure patriotism—and American consumers’ desire for Made in the USA products—there are substantial reasons, based on economics and logistics, that make reshoring highly preferable to outsourcing. Just ask the countless American manufacturers who sent business (and almost six million jobs) overseas between 1999 and 2009, only to find that it was far less profitable than they’d expected.

What many of these manufacturers realized the hard way is that outsourcing is fraught with problems. According to this article on how the practice went “horribly wrong,” many companies quickly found that outsourcing “changes the business model and introduces many challenges.” One of these many challenges—and ultimate problems—is the long, complex supply chain involved when a company outsources.

An international supply chain is very difficult to control and manage. Foreign subcontractors are far away, often have less experience, and can even be involved in major safety and human-rights violations. Any money saved was often ultimately lost when trying to fix the problems that occurred. The quality of products and services suffered greatly, as did many companies’ reputations.

Add to that the fact that American labor is now almost equally competitive, economically (check out this infographic), and you find that outsourcing just doesn’t make sense.

At Vanguard, we fully support the reshoring initiative. But we don’t take part in it—because we never outsourced in the first place. All of our products and parts are made here in the U.S.—unlike a good portion of the products made by our competitors—and we have always kept production here.

Many of our clients and the industries we serve, including the military, food, and medical industries, require domestic traceability, and we can provide that. And because we never sent work overseas, we’ve maintained expertise and won’t have to relearn production.

As our elastomeric molding and businesses continue to grow, we will continue to proudly make and sell American products. We applaud all of those manufacturers who are investing in America, and we look forward to seeing the reshoring trend continue.


Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 | Posted in: Manufacturing

We’re Hitting the Road – Past and Future Trade Show Success

As a manufacturer, there’s a lot more to being successful than simply producing quality products. Of course that’s a huge aspect of it, but it’s not everything.

In order to be truly successful and provide the most value to your customers, it’s critical to get out there, interact with your industry peers, and constantly learn about the latest technology and trends. This is how a manufacturer grows and evolves.

One of the best ways to do this is by regularly attending and taking part in industry trade shows. These trade shows allow attendees and exhibitors to showcase their products, connect with current and potential clients, attend educational seminars, and learn about the direction of their industry. They’re invaluable.

At Vanguard, we place great importance on these shows. Take, for instance, the EMC Europe 2014 conference, September 1-4 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Here, at the “leading EMC Symposium in Europe,” we worked closely with EG Electronics, our Scandinavian distributor, to exhibit our EMI shielding products to thousands of attendees, while learning much about the industry in the process.

Next, on October 29-31, we’ll be taking our EMI line to Shanghai for EMC/China 2014. At “the largest EMC/EMI/Certification/Safety exhibition China,” formally known as the China International Conference & Exhibition on Electromagnetic Compatibility, we will team up with EG Electronics-Shanghai, our Chinese distributor. Over 4,500 attendees will have the opportunity to view our EMI shielding products, and we are sure it will be a great success.

Of course much of the success of both events is due to the scope and prestige of the shows themselves. However, we’re proud to know that a great part of the success lies in the products. Our EMI Shielding Gaskets and Conductive Gaskets are counted on worldwide for their virtually limitless applications and custom configurations. Clients in electronics, avionics, telecommunications, the military, automation, computers, and more rely on the advantages of Ultra-Vanshield protection.

Their myriad advantages range from lower compression force, ease of use, and weather and environmental sealing, to better aging and overall resistance, and much more. We’re excited to introduce them to more international customers, and in general, excited to continue to reap the benefits of trade show exhibiting.

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 | Posted in: EMC Europe 2014, EMC/China 2014, EMI Shielding Gaskets

Vanguard Knows: Hearing (clearly) is Believing!

If you have ever been to a concert or sporting event in an arena or outdoor stadium, you know how important a quality sound system is. If you cannot hear the music, or the announcer, it can ruin a long planned and oftentimes expensive outing. When it comes to size, these systems are often massive in size and power: hundreds of different speakers, with miles of cables, all powered by thousands (if not tens of thousands) of watts. Additionally, modern systems include wireless microphones and monitors that rely on strong and uninterrupted signals.

This is not to mention the fact that the cellular and wireless traffic in a stadium or concert venue is so heavy that it sometimes seizes up the wireless networks in the area. It seems like everyone in the stadium has to tweet, snapchat, or otherwise update their status and share their experience with their friends during the performance or game. Further, security and service personnel use wireless systems to communicate among themselves to ensure security, and to make sure that you can get your hot dog or cold beer without delay. The prevalence of electromagnetic signals in these venues makes this a challenge that brings many of the biggest names in sound to Vanguard for help.

EMI/RFI shieldingWhen it comes to maintaining the integrity of their signals, Vanguard’s line of fabricated EMI/RFI shielding products is the choice of the indoor and outdoor sound industry. Our EMI/RFI shielding products help provide superior shielding for a number of reasons, including:

  • Ultra-Vanshield dual elastomer gaskets
  • Microbridge™ technology
  • ISO 9001:2008 certified production
  • Wide variety of materials including silicone, fluorosilicone, and EPDM
  • Resilient inner core free of metal fillers
  • Very low compression force
  • Keep moisture outside of all electronics

On top of these benefits, Vanguard also provides in-house cutting, bonding, and O-Ring fabrication, and everything we make is proudly Made in the USA!

If you want to learn more about why the biggest names in event sound choose Vanguard’s EMI/RFI shielding products, visit our website or contact one of our experts today! Don’t delay, because if your customers can’t hear it, they won’t stick around very long!

Providing for the Public Safety: Elastomeric Seals and Shielding

At Vanguard, we serve a variety of industries with our expertise in elastomeric goods.  One industry we are particularly proud to be a part of is different applications of products for public safety.  For places where dependable and durable elastomers and reliable sealing are necessary, our products are one of the tools that these customers use to design their highest levels and keep people safe.

For instance, rescue workers including fire rescue, ambulance drivers, and EMTs utilize some of our products in the seals around the doors of fire trucks and ambulances to provide seals that ensure that their critical equipment are protected from the extreme environment at a fire or emergency scene.  Similarly, military aircraft and ground vehicles have stringent sealing specifications and standards for the extreme conditions involved in warfare and flight, and our specialty elastomer and shielding gaskets are often used to meet these requirements.

Additionally, our customers use our EMI and weather seals to supply law enforcement workers with infrared cameras for security.  Airport screening devices use our seals and shielding to protect the sensitive electronics that detect threats coming into our country.  For any electronic monitoring devices, the need for shielding and sealing is great in order to ensure that the electronics work flawlessly and dependably in even the most strenuous conditions.

One other application of our silicone related to public safety is in the breathalyzer and monitoring systems that keep drunk drivers off our streets.  The sanitary specifications on the silicone used in those applications is high, and the safety of our streets is something we’re glad to be a part of.

Not every company can say that their products assist in the effort of maintaining safety to the public and to those who serve our country, and we at Vanguard are proud that we can produce the quality of products that are entrusted to secure our safety.

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 | Posted in: Elastomeric Seals and Shielding

Sealing Solutions for Winter Weather

If you’re like most people, once Thanksgiving hits, we know that the winter months are finally here, and the need for “winterizing” the house heads to the top of the to-do.  Hopefully you’ve already taken some preliminary steps to save on energy and heating bills, and make your home cozy for the colder months.  One of the biggest things among the myriad of lists recounting winterizing tips is to ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent leaks.  Old windows and ill-fitting doors are notorious for driving up energy bills in the winter because of their failure to efficiently insulate their openings.

Higher end windows and doors use a variety of different techniques and materials to improve this insulation – double-paned windows, advanced materials, and other technologies are advancing window technology and energy efficiency.  One of the most important factors is the quality of the seal around the frame – you can have the best coated double or triple-paned window, but if it doesn’t have a good seal, it’s ineffective.

Vanguard has been working with the better window and door manufacturers for years in fighting this “Battle of the Draft.”  At Vanguard, we know seals.  Our materials, engineering capability, and manufacturing flexibility position us favorably to provide our OEM customers with exactly the type of sealing solution that fits their needs.  We have developed numerous cost effective silicone sealing approaches that ensure low compression set/low compression force sealing, and enhanced thermally insulating silicone compounds.

Whether to keep the warm inside your home, or the rain out of an outdoor electrical enclosure, Vanguard has the right combination of experience and expertise to solve your sealing problems.  Contact us today to talk to our experts about the right fit for your needs – and stay warm!

Posted on: December 6th, 2013 | Posted in: rubber sealing

Vanguard Products Goes to Broadway

Out of all of the different places that you might expect to find our products, we bet we have an example of one place that will surprise you:  the set of a Broadway play.  That’s right – a few years ago, Vanguard was contacted by a set designer for a big project for the set design of the play “Hairspray”.  The designer needed a huge set backdrop of a “wig” of material that would mimic the behavior (in light reflection, color, and “bounciness”) of hair.  After trading ideas with the designer, we came up with the shape, color, and material that would suit the project best, to both mimic the behavior of actual hair, and hold up under such a vast construction.

Several thousand feet of tubing and 2,250 lbs. later, the design came together as a unique and convincing piece, and one of our more unusual projects here at Vanguard.  You can find out more here from the set design company, and here for other interesting behind-the-scenes facts about the show.


hairspray 1

It’s not often our work is in the literal spotlight, and we thought it appropriate to highlight it here on our blog as well.  While most of the time our products do their jobs behind the scenes, whether in wiring,
gaskets, and other inner workings of electronics and machines, it was a welcome change to see our handiwork at center stage.  We love to explore the vast capabilities and applications that our products can provide – contact us today with your ideas about how we can make our products work for you.


Posted on: October 23rd, 2013 | Posted in: Silicone Tubing

The Implications of Air Quality

Air quality is a widely used metric in a variety of portions of our lives. Its composition, particulates, and purity are all of concern for several applications – weather services regularly measure the air in a variety of ways to gather information about our atmospheric conditions and pollution levels; hospitals monitor the quality of the air in patient rooms and “clean rooms”; manufacturing floors for the semiconductor industry are stringently measured for air quality concerns. Even something as inconspicuous as the makeup of the air we breathe can have significant implications for these and other industries.

The measurement process is a complicated procedure, and the accuracy of the measurements is crucial for a successful and useful end result. One problem that often occurs is that, for a number of reasons, the sampling tubing used can cause buildups on the walls of the tubing of the very particulates that are being measured. This can cause some wildly inaccurate readings of air quality, as the ratio of particulate to the volume of air sampled is a critical factor in these readings.

At Vanguard, we have developed some special silicone materials that help in getting accurate readings when used as part of the sampling mechanism, such as in the sampling tubing. These silicone materials have special additives in them to combat the buildup of particulate on the sampling walls through phenomenon such as static buildup. Further, these compounds are made from materials that will not add chemicals or particulate to the airstream, leading to extraordinarily accurate readings.

While it’s easy to ignore the air around us, knowing its properties and being able to regulate them affords us some pretty amazing things – the manufacture of semiconductors in your smartphone, the accuracy of information on your local weather channel, and the preservation of many old or brittle artifacts in museums, to name a few. At Vanguard, we breathe easy knowing we provide one solution in the process for air quality measurement, and have a hand in its many expansive applications.

Posted on: August 29th, 2013 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Vanguard Products and Gourmet Delights

With the winter weather come thoughts of tropical climates and 80⁰ getaways.  For many of us, that means plans to take cruises.  With these plans come thoughts of the gourmet foods that, safely aboard, we can sample (or in some cases, over-sample at the expense of a few pounds) around the clock.  Invariably, thoughts about quality and timeliness of the food are big factors when considering what cruise-line to take in the Caribbean or Aegean: lukewarm rubber chicken is not an option!

Come to think of it, you might even wonder how luxury cruise-lines (or banquet facilities and restaurants) can possibly cook your medium-rare prime rib or Chilean sea-bass so perfectly, and do so while providing for dozens, if not hundreds, of other guests?

The task is quite daunting and would be impossible if not for the development of high tech cooking systems.  Modern-day ovens achieve the optimum level of cooking and temperature at the same time for various food types, allowing chefs (whether onshore or offshore) to prepare massive numbers of servings ahead of time, without losing any of the gourmet quality or flavor you rightfully expect.  There are even newer oven systems that allow for this level of quality to be achieved via microwave. Imagine gourmet lobster-tail delivered at your gas station or local convenience store!

As you can imagine, the assembly of these cooking systems is complex: from the electronics right down to the mechanical design of the oven.  Failure, especially on a cruise ship with thousands of people out at sea, is not an option.  Paramount in the mechanical design of these systems are the seals.  Such seals need to allow the systems to maintain even-keeled, consistent heating, and must also be able to be cleaned quickly (in some cases while the ovens are still hot).

In addition, these ovens need to be “food friendly” and resistive to animal fats. Finally, in the case of the new microwave systems, they must be capable of shielding against microwaves escaping the systems.

Vanguard has solutions for all of these requirements, and has been reliably supplying these applications for decades.  We have numerous listings to NSF-51, so our products are well recognized by the industry, and our materials have some of the longest life, heat resistance, and fat resistance available.  So next time you enjoy the “midnight buffet” while out at sea, or savor a well-prepared tasty banquet meal, thank Vanguard in small part.

Contact us today for further details about how we can manufacture these types of seals for your business.
Posted on: March 11th, 2013 | Posted in: NSF-51 listed materials, seals for high tech cooking systems

Vanguard Blog – Rubber Sealing for Naval Electronics

Vanguard – Rubber Sealing for Naval ElectronicsAmong many things to be proud of about our state, Connecticut serves as home to some of the largest maritime defense bases and manufacturers in the United States. While there are many bases from which U.S. subs operate, the Naval Submarine Base at New London has been given the simple and telling moniker, “Home of the Submarine Force.”  We are proud to also be home to the Coast Guard Academy, and a number of hi-tech submarine and marine equipment manufacturers supporting the defense of our nation on the open seas.  Being a Connecticut company ourselves, and being that we manufacture a full range of sealing and shielding products for maritime applications, we thought it might be a good time  to talk about the perils of shipboard galvanic action, and how Vanguard shielding products help prevent galvanic action from occurring.

Galvanic action, in essence, is a process where combinations of materials essentially become batteries due to contact between electrochemically dissimilar metals. When this happens, a conductive path is made by which electrons and ions move from one metal to the next.  During the process, the material from which the electrons and ions are moving becomes “sacrificial”—physically losing material until degrading to the point of failure.  In practice, “galvanic action” can occur between the highly conductive EMI shielding gasket and the metal enclosure, and usually causes the electronic enclosure (typically made of aluminum or steel) to corrode and degrade to the point where the structural integrity, especially from a sealing standpoint, is literally eroded.  The process is initiated and accelerated through the presence of an electrolyte.  In the case of maritime applications, the electrolyte is abundant—salt water or salt fog in the air.  Since maritime US forces are equipped with some of the most advanced, sensitive electronics known to man, and given that seawater is abundant, it becomes obvious why there’s a need to guard against galvanic action in naval electronics systems.

Vanguard’s Ultra-Vanshield and Microbridge dual function EMI shielding gaskets reduce the galvanic potential by reducing the exposure of the dissimilar metals to the electrolyte.  This, combined with the appropriate selection of conductive material from our extensive conductive materials options, can virtually eliminate the potential for galvanic action between the shielding gasket and the enclosure on which it is installed.  Whether extruded or molded, our gaskets and rubber sealants have been proven seaworthy time and again aboard seafaring vessels. Whether you make your way on a Nimitz-class carrier, a Los Angeles-class attack sub, or a munitions supply ship, you can depend on Vanguard to safeguard your electronic operations systems from the wind, weather, and brine you encounter every moment. For more information on our customized and standard electronics protection solutions for naval applications, call us today or email us at Vanguard Products.

EMI Shielding Gaskets and Vanguard

At Vanguard, we know a thing or two about EMI shielding and conductive gaskets. Customers from around the world come to us not only because they’ve learned how no one does EMI shielding quite as well as Vanguard, but because our shielding gaskets can be cost-effectively customized to your exacting requirements. Sizes range from 0.010 in cross section to 3”. In addition, we also offer custom finishing services that include PSA application, cutting, bonding, and a wide variety of other secondary operations. Some of the biggest names in telecom, computers, high-speed electronics, automotive control systems, military electronics, and avionics wouldn’t think of trusting anyone other than Vanguard with their EMI shielding and conductive gasket needs.

We pride ourselves on the fact so that so many of our customers are long-term clients. It boils down to trust in our quality, selection, and 45 years of expertise.  Vanguard can offer you high precision, not to mention cost effective production in our ISO 9001:2008 certified facility. We employ only the best grade silicone, fluorosilicone, and EPDM available to create your EMI shielding gaskets. Perhaps most importantly of all, you know you’re getting the best because everything we make is made in the USA. No off-shoring, no outsourcing: you get EMI Shielding gaskets that are 100% Made in America.

If want to learn more about our broad range of standard EMI Shielding gaskets and Conductive gaskets, visit our website or contact one of Vanguard’s experts today.
Posted on: February 4th, 2013 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets, EPDM, fluorosilicone