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Interface COVID-19 Update from CEO

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses and people around the world, I want to personally update you on the actions and planning we have taken to ensure Interface’s business continuity for all our customers, team members and partners around the world.

Based on guidance from the medical experts, the World Health Organization, the CDC and other US state and federal officials, we have strengthened our business continuity plans with specific steps to account for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As a US-based manufacturer, we have taken steps to provide continuous cleaning and support for our team members to lessen any production impact at our Arizona headquarters.  We are continuously engaging with our distributors, representatives and supply chain partners around the world.  In our planning, we also have provided technical support and capabilities for our office teams to work remotely as a precaution.

Please rest assured, we are ready to maintain the high-quality application engineer support and customer service.  In the current situation, the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners are vital. We are limiting employee travel, both international and domestic. In addition, given many of our customers have implemented similar travel policies, we have instructed employees to leverage technology and conduct internal and external meetings virtually as much as possible.

This is an extraordinary time for everyone. We are monitoring the changing situation daily. We are committed to maintaining our business operations and ensuring you continue to receive the highest quality service without disruption.

Thank you for your continued trust in Interface.

Greg Adams, CEO at Interface, Inc.

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Faces of Interface Featuring Scott Dunne

A critical factor of becoming a successful engineer is becoming proficient at working with your hands. For Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager at Interface, training his brain and perfecting the use of his hands has been a passion since childhood and helped to elevate his role in the design and manufacturing of Interface’s leading force measurement products.

Growing up, Scott’s grandmother worked for Western Electric where she made telephones. From time-to-time, she would bring home parts or fully assembled phones for him to take apart and put back together. This simple example of bonding moments with his grandma fueled his desire for a career in engineering.

After high school, Scott attended the Newark College of Engineering (now known as NJIT) to pursue a degree in engineering. He was successful in earning a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and went on to start his career in the automotive industry with Adrionics.

At Adrionics, he assembled cables for harnesses that stretched from the back of the car radio to the steering column, most of which was done by hand. He worked there for a few years before moving into the power supply industry. While working at RTE Power-Mate, Scott made high-volume power supplies for the gaming industry. He later worked at TDI Power where he focused on low-volume, high-reliability power supplies for numerous industries.

After nearly 10 years in the power supply industry, Scott joined Ohaus Corporation, a manufacturer of digital scales and load cells. This was his first job in the force measurement industry and he quickly developed an enthusiasm for it. Scott rose through the ranks and eventually became the manufacturing engineering manager. When a major conglomerate purchased Ohaus, Scott was selected to help move the production line from New Jersey to Changzhou.

After an 18-month assignment in China, Scott returned to the U.S. and he and his wife decided it was time for a change, including a move out of the cold and into a warmer environment. He and his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he pursued a career with Interface because a former co-worker handed him a catalog from the company before he left New Jersey.

His experience building load cells made him the perfect fit for Interface and he was hired as an operations manager overseeing the production line in January 2000. After 14 years in this position, Scott became the product supply manager where he supervised Interface’s supply chain. As the Production Engineering Manager today, he is helping in the training and onboarding of Interface team members by sharing his depth of knowledge and experience in working with load cell technology.  He recently conducted a Load Cell 101 training for team members, which was sold out during every session.

“Ever since I began my career in engineering, I have been fascinated with the entire production and even sales process. One of the best things about working at Interface as a production engineer, I have a hand in everything from the start of the design to the final manufacturing of a variety of load cell and force measurement technologies. With this responsibility, I have the distinctive opportunity to learn more from a sales perspective in team meetings as to what our clients need today and even in the future. My position allows me to do what I love while expanding my knowledge of our industry.” Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager, Interface

In his free time, Scott continues to work with his hands doing woodworking. He is also a self-described “hockey nut,” and follows the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes closely. He enjoys watching and attending games with his family.

Faces of Interface is an ongoing series shining a spotlight on Interface’s talented team members across the organization. Scott recently contributed a great post, Strain Gages 101. To follow Faces of Interface and to stay up-to-date on the company, please visit www.interfaceforce.com/blog/ and subscribe to the posts and newsletter.

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

As the leader in manufacturing force measurement solutions for more than 51 years, the day of carrying out monotonous tasks on the manufacturing line by hand is a history not worth repeating.

Innovation is a core value at Interface. It is essential in helping us advance and grow our production experience and responsiveness to our customer’s advanced application use of our load cells, torque transducers, and thousands of other products that we manufacture.

Continuous Improvement SME Lance Gerdes shares his insight into how a focus on innovation is leading to the introduction of automation tools and robotics onto the manufacturing floor at Interface’s 50,000 square foot headquarters in Arizona.

It is difficult to look back fondly on the days that lacked automation of production line tasks. Line work was straining and tedious during those days, as most technicians would agree. Fast-forward to today, companies who are incorporating new technology are typically experiencing process improvements, increased efficiency, reduced overhead, improved quality output and better run facilities overall.

Results speak for themselves. Manufacturing facilities equipped with automation can significantly reduce time spent on repetitive work, freeing up time for technicians to focus on other areas that advance production and get products to market.

Interface recently invested in a line of collaborative robots to upgrade our facilities. With responsibility for the specialized 1923 Wireless Load Cell product line at Interface, looking back there are many of the typical tasks our technicians used to carry out that involved full days of certain repetitive tasks by hand. The days where my technicians were forced to focus on these tasks represented a significant barrier to peak productivity. Times have changed and so has Interface!

Today with the introduction of automation, we are operating more efficiently than in those dark ages without robotics. We are using collaborative robots to handle tasks, including the application of RTV, which is a silicone sealant used on load cells to protect them from environmental factors. In the past, the technician would be responsible for applying this adhesive in addition to hand-tooling. By automating the adhesive step of this task, those technicians are averaging 50% more efficiency in their workflow.

“Robotics used to facilitate automation is a “must-have” addition to every manufacturing floor.” Lance Gerdes

The return on investment is easily achievable in a year or less. Interface has seen as high as a 15% production increases across the board. As a champion of continuous improvements in our manufacturing, I am excited to see our production results. This success is now leading us to look into more tasks that can be automated using collaborative robotics.

One concern regarding the rise of robotics in the industrial sector we constantly get questions about is the use of robotics as a replacement for our human workforce. This could not be further from the truth at Interface. If anything, robotics will eventually increase the skill set of our current technicians and open up new job openings for Interface as we grow. As we get more advanced collaborative robotics integrated into our work, it improves our capabilities. We will need operators for this automation equipment. And, as we become more efficient and increase profit margins, we’ll have the capacity to grow Interface’s products and services. A win for more jobs, more solutions, and more happy customers!

Robotics and automation are changing the way manufacturing floors operate for the better. At Interface, we look forward to researching and applying new ways that each department can implement automation and robotics technology.

Contributor:  Lance Gerdes, Continuous Improvement SME, Interface

More than half of Interface’s team members work in production. The average tenure for our team is nearly a decade. Our diverse talent in skill and capabilities serve more than 4,500 global customers in various markets each year. For more detailed insights on the inner-working of the Interface manufacturing floor, Interface’s revolutionary products and profiles on our excellent team subscribe to the InterfaceIQ blog at /blog/.