Mueller Electric Blog

Paul Kestler

Recent Posts

Wages & Process Improvements helped U.S. Automakers

Posted by Paul Kestler on Jan 25, 2017 10:52:16 AM

In 2007, U.S. auto manufacturers faced a $30 per hour labor cost gap as compared with their Asian rivals. A decade later, the cost differential has declined to around $10 per hour.  According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the average hourly labor cost, including benefits, was $58 at GM, $57 at Ford and $48 at Fiat Chrysler (March 2015).  Entry-level auto workers are being hired at $15.78 per hour, plus benefits, so the trend indicates further declines in average rates.

There's no end in sight for competitive, political or economic pressures, so regardless of what the future holds, automotive manufacturers and suppliers will continue to aggressively seek ways to lower costs, improve efficiencies, automate processes, and outsource.

Fortunately, humans remain an important and necessary part of many manufacturing processes within the auto industry. "We" serve to run and monitor automated processes, perform tasks not easily turned over to automation, and  apply interactive intelligence.  Part of our responsibilities as workers and managers is to participate in the Continuous Improvement Process, which seeks to find and implement incremental improvements.  This may not seem like very exciting work, but incremental improvements add up and become quite powerful over time. 

At Mueller Electric, we identify and serve these opportunity areas. Mueller offers many standard and custom-built products that provide incremental improvements.  One such example is aimed at reducing automotive plastics painting costs by better controlling electrostatic discharge, which can have a direct impact on finish quality.  Mueller's electrostatic discharge grounding cables are value-priced, reusable, cleanable (or disposable) and most importantly, have proven field success in manual, semi-automated, and automated plastics painting processes.

If you're involved with automotive plastics painting (or a critical plastics painting application), let us evaluate your process, current grounding method, and cost. For more information, please download our Paint Transfer Efficiency Guide or contact us at 800.955.2629. 


Free Guide Grounding Plastics  for Painting




Mini Test lead Adapters for PC Board Test, Repair & Development

Posted by Paul Kestler on Nov 16, 2016 12:46:38 PM

Having the right tool always makes the job easier. This is particularly true when working with circuit boards at the component level. Many engineers and technicians rely upon these useful miniaturized adapters to perform their test, repair and development work. If you're lacking any of these helpful tools, Mueller Electric's kit provides a convenient solution. Eight micro-tool adapters have been grouped into one Micro-Scale Kit, held neatly in a fabric Velcro wallet.

One end of each micro-tool plugs into any standard test probe. The opposite end of the micro-tool is the miniaturized instrument.


The Micro-Scale kit includes:

  1. Standard probe to magnetic end
  2. Standard probe to insulated alligator clip
  3. Standard probe to insulated hook grabber
  4. Standard probe to insulated plunger
  5. Standard probe to battery current measurement probe
  6. Standard probe to insulated needle probe
  7. Standard probe to insulated male breadboard pin
  8. Standard probe to insulated female breadboard pin


To Purchase the Bonus Pack, containing the

BU-P5519A Premuim Test Lead set AND the

Micro-Scale Kit, click on the blue button.


Get Micro-Scale Special Offer


Contact Mueller Electric




Topics: Test & Measurement

Electrostatic Discharge for Plastic Painting Efficiency

Posted by Paul Kestler on Nov 11, 2016 9:54:49 AM

For most things in life, there's a direct relationship between effort and results. If you want to improve your golf game, you need to play regularly.  If you want to be an authority on Einstein's Theory of Relativity, then you're going to have to hit the books.  But occasionally there are some low-effort shortcuts available that make positive contributions to our everyday lives.  Perhaps they are not life transformative, but when they come along, you scoop them up as a freebie.

If you do plastics painting, you're already well-aware of the many variables that impact quality...which can be particularly challenging if the parts need to be visually perfect. Spray equipment, paint, flow rates, dispersion patterns, technique, and parts preparation are all important variables in the process.  There are, however, other subtle variables that can negatively impact part quality if not properly addressed.  Electrostatic discharge is one of those variables.

 Most plastic painting processes address electrostatic discharge in some way. Those who don't control this variable risk inconsistent paint application and the dreaded "R" word...rework.  Commonly used grounding methods include the use of clip & wire assemblies, foil underlining, and parts carriers with integral grounding mechanisms.  If you're using a clip & wire assembly, or foil underlining, then this is where the "freebie" aspect I mentioned earlier comes into play.  Foil underlining is effective, but prone to failure with tears and messy paint build-up.  Clip & wire assemblies work well, but many users are burdened with buying individual components and assembling themselves.  Pre-built, ready-to-use clip & wire assemblies, customized to your specific process and needs are readily available.  Mueller Electric has been in the grounding business for over 100 years and offers a wide range of solutions.


Mueller ready-to-use grounding assemblies offer:

  • A customized solution that fits your exact need (clip selection, wire selection, wire length, cleanable/reuse)
  • Cost Savings. The assembly is oftentimes LESS expensive than buying the individual parts and assembling in-house yourself
  • Rework & Scrap reduction with reliable connections

Here are a few commonly purchased Plastic Painting Grounding Solutions by Mueller Electric:

  • AI-000422 Assembly: Quick-disconnect clip design enables the clip to gently slide off the painted component. Large conductive contact area, ensuring a solid grounding connection and firm, non-damaging grip
  • AI-000443 Assembly: Recommended for fully-automated part painting processes that require a rugged connection on the discharge end of the assembly 
  • AI-000441 & AI-000448 Assemblies: Used in applications requiring highly-reliable, extra-firm clip connection on both sides of the assembly to prevent inadvertent disconnection

For more information, contact Mueller, or download our Grounding Cables for Painting Guide.  Mueller offers free samples to test/validate your process, delivered OEM direct or through your preferred supply chain partner.

For more information on grounding, read our whitepaper Static Electricity and Grounding in Industry


Download Painting Efficiency Guide

Topics: Painting Plastics