Ann Nelson’s Retirement

It’s been a busy week for parties, but today’s celebration to honor Ann Nelson was special. Sending a longtime employee off to retirement is bittersweet. We honored Ann after 24+ years with Horst Engineering in our Part Marking department.

Part Marking is one of those unsung processes in any aerospace manufacturing operation. It is often a final step or nearly final step in our sequence of operations. Most of the parts we produce are physically marked per customer and industry requirements with a part number, vendor code, customer code, government cage code, and/or serial number. If the part isn’t marked, then the packaging is marked. Traceability from “cradle to grave” is a hallmark of aerospace products.

Pictured L to R: Mariette Pelletier, Ann Nelson, Adeline Livingston

In the history of our company, no one has marked more parts than Ann. Our primary methods include:

  • Dot-Peen Marking
  • Vibro-Peen Marking
  • Electrolytic Etch Marking
  • Ink Marking
  • Roll Marking
  • Stamping
  • Engraving
  • Laser Marking

In her early days, she worked part time from home, where we installed a small compressor. Eventually, she joined us full time at our East Hartford plant site. Over the years we have invested in new technology. In addition to marking our own parts, we perform part marking as a service for a handful of other aerospace manufacturers. She left her legacy at our 71-year-old #familybusiness as many others before her have.

It is tradition that longtime employees are presented with a custom Gerstner & Sons machinist chest made in Ohio, by another multi-generation family business, but we opted to do something a little different. Instead of a machinist chest, she was presented with a custom Gerstner & Sons jewelry chest crafted from American Cherry and finished with a protective acrylic top bearing the Horst Engineering logo mark.

Ann has passed the torch to the next generation by cross-training colleagues to carry on the important Part Marking process, and we thank her for her years of service. Maybe this story will come full circle and will end where she started. We hear that the old compressor in her garage is still working and that in a pinch, she can come out of retirement to do a rush part marking job from the warmth of her living room. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that! We wish Ann the best.

Pictured L to R: Ann Nelson, Scott Livingston

Posted in Front Page, General News |

Family Day 2017

The Horst Engineering Family of Companies hosted an amazing Family Day event on Saturday 09 December at our Cedar Street plant site in East Hartford, Connecticut. This was the fifth time since 2002 that we have opened our operations to welcome the families of our employees. We held similar events in 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2014.

This event was been a labor of love for our Family Day Committee and was the culmination of four months of work. More than 120 spouses, significant others, children, siblings, parents, and grandparents joined more than 30 employee volunteers for a celebration of manufacturing. As our family enterprise approaches its 72nd year in 2018, we couldn’t be more proud of our role in “helping people fly safely” and “making stuff.”

We enthusiastically tag our social media posts with #madeinconnecticut #madeinmassachusetts #madeinnewengland and #madeinusa

The employee driven Family Day Committee did a fantastic job planning the open house. Manufacturing Month is October, and Family Day has traditionally been held as a kickoff on the last weekend in September, but this year’s event was delayed for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was our 02 October “Go Live” on Epicor ERP. The success of that major system upgrade from our former ERP system (after 18 years) was the result of more than three years of hard effort and preparation.

For each of our Family Day events, we have unveiled a unique precision machined product or products that demonstrate our capabilities. Past products in our Family Day Hall of Fame include:

  • Keychain
  • Pen
  • Golf Tees and Golf Ball Display
  • Yo-Yo
  • Airplane
  • Top

With a December date, the committee decided on a holiday theme. That made this year’s precision machined products unique in many ways, and the team outdid itself by producing four separate products.

  • Snowman Ornament
  • Christmas Tree Ornament
  • Dreidel (that can also be an ornament)
  • Snowflake Ornament

Click here for the full Family Day brochure that explains the history of the Christmas Tree, the Snowman, and the Dreidel. Click here for more Dreidel history, how to play the Dreidel Game, and lyrics to the Dreidel song.

The walking tour included stops at all of our major manufacturing process where our guests witnessed demonstrations of real work being done. At each station, the attendees picked up one of the detail components required to assemble their products. The last stop was final assembly and inspection where they put all of the parts together. This was a creative and fun way to teach and demonstrate, particularly to the children, how we do what we do. The assembly process was no easy task. Guests were given a “traveler package” that included typical work instructions and they had to follow the directions to complete their product, with final acceptance coming from our “inspector.”

36 Cedar Street

  • Station 1 (Main Aisle Outside of Quality Assurance)
  • Station 2 (Milling)
  • Station 3 (Turning)
  • Station 4 (Multi-Axis Turning)
  • Station 5 (Kitting/Crib/Auto Crib)
  • Station 6 (Video Tour of our 41 Burnham Street Plant where our Swiss Screw Machine and Accounting/Finance functions are located)
  • Station 7 (Part Marking & Assembly)

41 Cedar Street

  • Station 8 (Thread Rolling)
  • Station 9 (Centerless Grinding)

36 Cedar Street

  • Station 10 (Cleaning and Deburring)
  • Station 11 (Milling)
  • Station 12 (Quality Assurance/Final Inspection)

At each station, employee volunteers enthusiastically explained their roles and showed off our advanced manufacturing equipment and technology. There were so many “oohs” and “ahhs” as guests were wowed by the cool technology. We are always promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers, so it was fitting that we would promote it within the community closest to us. We displayed finished products throughout the factories, including parts for aircraft engines, cabin pressure systems, landing gear, Cross Spikes™ , and even rockets.

The event included refreshments, a “Guess the number of candies in the jar” game, raffles, and prizes. There were 252 candies in the jar…and the closest guess was 251. It was an awesome day for everyone involved.

Special thanks goes to the Family Day Committee for the time and effort that went into the planning and execution. Thank you to long time supplier, Poly-Metal Finishing, Inc., for their help with the anodizing process. The committee received strong support from our Senior Leadership Team, from our Management Team, and the event wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of the Livingston Family who have been in the business of manufacturing since 1946.

Photo Credits: Alan Grant, Digital Creations

For more photos, click here to see the album on our Facebook page.

Posted in Front Page, General News |

Check Out the Latest Edition of Cross Spikes™ News

Click through and check out the latest edition of Cross Spikes™ News.

Check out the archive for all of our past Horst Engineering and Cross Spikes™ News.

Posted in Front Page, General News, Team Horst Sports |

Richard Sachs Seat Post Binder Bolt-A Collaboration Years in the Making

We are excited to announce a collaboration with Richard Sachs, the renowned bicycle framebuilder. Richard is a longtime friend of Horst Engineering. He is a past sponsor of Team Horst Sports, so this is not the first time we have partnered with one of the foremost craftsman in the cycling industry.

For more than 15 years, the Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team has set a standard of excellence that is hard to beat. Richard’s personal history in custom bicycle framebuilding dates back to 1972. Simply put, he is one of the preeminent voices in the world of bicycles. Richard approached us about manufacturing a custom seat post binder bolt that would be worthy of the frames that he wished to install them on. He shared examples of the imported stock inventory that he had used for years, but wished for something that raised the bar. He also wanted it to be produced locally.

Our team worked with Richard to build more than a bolt assembly. Through a collaboration that includes SILCA and NixFrixShun, Richard put together a “survival kit” for his loyal customers and for other craft builders. The custom seat post bolt binder bolt assembly that we built for Richard will become the new standard for lugged frames, and we expect that many enthusiasts will upgrade now that his vision has become reality.

To bring Richard’s design to life and make something better than anything previously built; we used aerospace grade stainless steel and our best processes. Consistent with the work we do on fasteners for aircraft, rockets, and submarines; we precision machined both the bolt and nut complete from solid stainless steel bar stock. The pitch diameter of the bolt was held to a super precise tolerance prior to cold forming on our dedicated thread rolling equipment. Rolled threads result in a part that is 30% stronger and has a superior surface finish. Similar processes are used to manufacture our patented Cross Spikes™ product line. The care put into this one component demonstrates that whether you are making parts for airplanes, or for bicycles, the details matter.

Richard announced the collaboration at last weekend’s Philly Bike Expo. Follow Richard at www.richardsachs com,, and on Instagram: @therichardsachs

The Richard Sachs Seat Lug Survival Kit is now available to ship. Check it out!

Posted in Front Page, General News, Team Horst Sports |

Verge Northampton International Cyclocross

Once again, Horst Engineering is sponsoring the Verge Northampton International Cyclocross. Look for us at the race expo in Look Park on Saturday and Sunday the 11th and 12th of November. This Northampton, Massachusetts venue is great for cyclocross. There will be a food truck festival and beer garden for spectators and participants. We donated Cross Spikes™ as prizes for every category. We will also have a full inventory of Cross Spikes™ available for purchase on site.

Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad will be well represented across several race categories. Many Cross Spikes™ sponsored ambassadors will be racing in the Men’s and Women’s Elite fields. Check it out.

Posted in Front Page, General News, Team Horst Sports |