75 Years in the Custom Spring Manufacturing Industry
by John Higgins, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. Wire Forming Technology International - Fall 2014
Company continues to be an industry leader in the manufacture of custom compression, extension and torsion springs, and wire forms.
For 75 years, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. has worked in the custom spring manufacturing industry. Since its beginning, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. has been a family owned and operated business, always staying close to its roots in the community of McKees Rocks, right outside of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
From Crooner to Coiler
Joseph Vodvarka was going to be a professional tenor, but was worried that if he were to lose his voice someday, he would lose his livelihood. So in 1939, to have something to fall back on, he took up the trade of being a machinist, and soon realized this career path was a better opportunity for him to take care of his family.
So Vodvarka started Ace Wire Spring with a small coiling machine, making garter springs by hand. Vodvarka worked hands-on in the upstairs room of his house, which was converted into a small office and shop to produce the garter springs needed at the time. This gave Vodvarka the opportunity to educate his family about all aspects of the spring manufacturing Industry, while at the same time teaching them a valuable trade.
After some time and slight expansions into other rooms of the house, the company had outgrown its first location. In 1955, Ace Wire Spring built its own facility right down the road from the Vodvarka home. Vodvarka and his children, Joey and Linda, continued to work and be involved with the family business while it grew by increasing customers and staff.
A Changing of the Guard
In 1976, Vodvarka wanted to retire and sell the company. Vodvarka’s daughter, Linda, and her husband Rich Froehlich, bought the company and kept Ace Wire Spring as a family owned and operated business. The Froehlichs have a strong belief in family and carry over that value into the Ace Wire Spring culture when doing business. Customers benefit by receiving personalized customer service, engineering assistance and a quality final product suited to meet their needs.
This mind set helped the company outgrow its location again, and in 1986 Ace Wire Spring built a new 55,000 ft² facility. The new location was less than five minutes from the old office. Staying in the local community, where they and a large majority of Ace employees were based and had connections, was paramount in the decision making process of where to build. With this community feel and local ties, Ace Wire Spring employees were able to stay with the company for the long haul.
Many Ace Wire Spring employees have been at the company for over 20 years, with one craftsman still working part time after 68 years with the company. A lot of pride and passion goes into everyone’s work and that is evident in the custom spring and wire form products they produce.
“Passion, Perseverance & Persistence”
Customer communication is also very important. Design Engineers are available to help any customer with a problem, usually talking with them to find out what the exact need is. Finding the solution is more important than just manufacturing any springs, and the customer can feel that level of caring and commitment when working with Ace Wire Spring.
“My father instilled in me the 3 P’s of business: Passion, Perseverance and Persistence,” commented Linda Froehlich.
It is that way of thinking that has helped Ace Wire Spring grow over the past 75 years, and it is something Linda and Rich pass down to their son, Ritchy Froehlich, who is continuing the tradition of family owned and operated as the company’s General Manager.
Custom Precision Springs
Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. continues to be an industry leader in the manufacture of compression, extension and torsion springs as well as wire forms. The company’s 75 years of experience allows it to offer a wide variety of custom precision springs.
“We have a first-class team of on-site Engineers to assist customers with developing solutions for a large variety of applications, along with an on-site quality control staff,” said Froehlich.
The veteran craftsmen who work in the plant are trained in the latest and most advanced forms of mechanical and CNC wire forming machines and techniques. Combined together, they have over 100 years of experience and success within the industry.
“The benefit Ace Wire Spring delivers to companies time and time again is that we understand the customers’ needs, and meet or exceed their requirements while delivering a quality product,” Froehlich related. “Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. would like to thank all of its customers and vendors for making it possible for us to celebrate being in business for 75 years. We look forward to the next 75, where it’s always ‘SPRINGtime.’”