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Awards of Excellence


Pridgeon & Clay, Inc. Wins Product Development Award

Monday, November 12, 2012

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano


CLEVELAND, OH—November 12, 2012—Pridgeon & Clay, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, has received the 2012 Ulbrich Award for Competitive Excellence in Product Development as part of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Awards of Excellence in Metalforming.  Pridgeon & Clay won the award for its stamped bearing bracket, which was originally cast and machined.  The company is one of the largest independent, value-added manufacturers and suppliers of automotive stamped and fineblanked components in the United States. 

Pridgeon & Clay approached NTN Bearing Corporation with an improved design for the bearing bracket to the constant-velocity joint.  The part was originally cast and machined to maintain tolerances of 30 microns in order to hold the bearing assembly.  The OEM customer wanted to reduce weight and cost.  With a volume of 31,500, NTN had an existing design for a stamped bearing bracket that required machining after stamping.  Pridgeon & Clay pursued turning the design into a progressive stamping including trim operations in order to eliminate machining. 

Serious questions surrounded whether a stamped part could maintain the tolerance.  Pridgeon & Clay proved to the customer that the existing design and processes were not capable of holding the tolerance.  Pridgeon & Clay and NTN engineers developed tolerance requirements that could be met in a stamped part and then undertook a study to determine the effects of parts significantly out of round and tolerance.

It was found that the stamped part exhibited greater elasticity than was expected—the material flexed to accept the bearing.  Where a cast metal part would crack, the bearing could tolerate parts up to 80 microns out of tolerance before failing.  Pridgeon & Clay pursued trim dies as a means to completely form the part.  Machining was kept as a backup option, but Pridgeon & Clay’s design tooling engineers ultimately determined that a 16-station progressive die in the company’s 1250-ton press could hold the tolerances for the part.  The dies were designed with change-outs so that several parts can be made on the same die set.

Moving from a cast part to a stamped design removed more than $8 from the cost of each CV joint assembly.  In addition, the increased strength of 5 mm stainless steel required material a fraction of the weight of cast design, resulting in significant weight savings for the OEM.

The Product Development Award is one of eight Awards of Excellence in Metalforming, presented annually by PMA.  Sponsored by Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, Inc., North Haven, CT, it acknowledges a manufacturing company that demonstrates outstanding innovation in developing and manufacturing a product that best uses metal in place of a nonmetal competitive material, or that develops a product using flat-rolled material that was previously manufactured using more costly manufacturing processes.  Along with recognition in industry publications and at events, Pridgeon & Clay will receive a $1,500 cash prize.

PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM tradeshows, and MetalForming magazine.

Editor’s Note:  For more information on PMA’s Awards of Excellence in Metalforming, visit