Pennsylvania manufacturer taps into regional resources

J.A. Reinhardt & Co., Inc. is an engineering and manufacturing company located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains in Mountainhome, PA. It designs, engineers and manufactures highly sophisticated thermal and mechanical products, such as heat exchangers, avionics chassis, complex electronic housings, microwave antennas and beryllium products for the aerospace industry.

02/01/2007


J.A. Reinhardt & Co., Inc. is an engineering and manufacturing company located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains in Mountainhome, PA. It designs, engineers and manufactures highly sophisticated thermal and mechanical products, such as heat exchangers, avionics chassis, complex electronic housings, microwave antennas and beryllium products for the aerospace industry.


Through its long-standing strategic partnership with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Inc. (NEPIRC), an affiliate of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, J.A Reinhardt achieved international quality certification and secured low-cost financing for plant expansion and capital equipment.

Quality certification is a competitive advantage for a manufacturer. Major industrial firms require suppliers to meet international and national, industry-specific quality standards.

NEPIRC started work with J.A. Reinhardt in 2000 to help the company achieve its ISO 9001 certification. “We saw that the marketplace was changing. We realized that we would have to do business in a different way,” said Gary Reinhardt, president and CEO of J.A. Reinhardt. “Our customers required that we have an ISO quality system, and we reached out to NEPIRC for assistance.”

“We bring our experience of having worked with a number of companies in similar industries,” said Eric Esoda, director of operations with NEPIRC. “This way we avoid recreating the wheel.”

NEPIRC helped J.A. Reinhardt prepare its ISO documentation and develop internal audit procedures. NEPIRC also performed a pre-assessment audit of the company. “We want to make sure that the company is in good shape the moment the ISO registrar walks through the door,” said Don Olszewski, a NEPIRC program director with extensive experience in quality systems and continuous improvement. With the ISO 9001 certification, J.A. Reinhardt is now able to bid on government and commercial contracts and gain market share.

“The ISO certification process forced us to rethink our business,” explained Reinhardt. “We instituted new procedures and controls and documented what we have been doing for years. As a result, the company is more structured and organized.”

NEPIRC has continued to provide internal audit training for J.A. Reinhardt to keep the company up to date on the quality standards. “We transfer knowledge to our clients so that they can transfer it internally,” said Olszewski.

Financing expansion

Small manufacturers may be hard-pressed to get all the capital they need to expand facilities or make major equipment purchases. Through its revolving loan fund, NEPIRC has been able to assist J.A. Reinhardt with its expansion projects. The financing allowed Reinhardt to cut the cost of obtaining the capital he needed and, at the same time, purchase the latest technology.

“NEPIRC gave us funds at a very attractive interest rate and helped us through the process,” said Reinhardt. “We were able to acquire high-speed, CNC horizontal machining centers, which give us the speed, quality and precision to meet our customers' requirements.”

The origins of NEPIRC's revolving loan fund as a small business loan program can be traced back to a grant from the Economic Development Administration in the early 1990s.

“We decided to start our own fund and run it the same way as the EDA program,” said Esoda. “Our goal is to provide money at interest rates consistently below open market rates.”

NEPIRC can fund up to 30% of any project. This funding helps to attract traditional bank financing and other forms of state, regional or local economic development assistance. A company also must put in their own equity to demonstrate their commitment. NEPIRC builds up money in the fund as loans are repaid.

NEPIRC has established partnerships with economic development agencies in the area, such as the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance. “Whenever possible, we hook a company up with other economic development agencies to further lower the gross interest rate,” said Olszewski. “Our purpose is to make the project feasible and leave the manufacturer with enough working capital to continue operations without being financially overstressed.”

The changing workforce

NEPIRC also provided assistance to J.A. Reinhardt in the human resources area, offering diversity training and developing a performance-based incentive program. The center conducted a series of diversity seminars for the company's managers. “We are more sensitive to our changing workforce, which has been a big plus from a training standpoint,” said Reinhardt.

While there has not been much turnover, the company's workforce now includes more women as machinists and group leaders.

The workforce is also getting younger. According to Reinhardt, the challenge is getting young people at the high-school level to enter the technical trades. His company conducts internal training and works with the Monroe County Vo-Tech, a vocational technical school in the area.

Change has also come about in the way J.A. Reinhardt communicates internally. “There is much more of an upward flow of information,” said Reinhardt, whose father and uncle started the company in 1947. “We rely on the people on the floor doing the work. By listening to them, we have become more efficient.”


Author Information
William J. Desciak is the executive director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Inc. He can be reached at (570) 704-0007 or via email at bill@nepirc.com . NEPIRC, a not-for-profit consulting firm, provides specialized business assistance to small and mid-sized companies. Information about NEPIRC can be found at its Website: mfg@nist.gov . The Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides economic assistance to promote regional economic development, innovation and competitiveness. Its Website is




Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me