Category Archives: Daman Operations

New Year, New Packaging

Everyone wants to protect their assets and it’s important to Daman that our customers’ packages show up on-time and in-shape.  Product protection starts with proper packaging.  A thorough evaluation of our packaging processes and materials stoked action to improve our system starting this New Year.

Our goal is to improve the integrity of our packages and ensure they are delivered without damage.  Achieving this goal helps us all save time, money and resources without the hassle of having to set up returns or replacements.

To make this transition, Daman’s Shipping Team worked with several vendors to find the best solution.  Packaging Logic, a local vendor in LaPorte, IN, is now supplying Daman’s upgraded materials which include new boxes, wrapping, caps and fillers.   We believe these changes will minimize the likelihood of our customers receiving damaged goods. Customers can be confident that our packages will arrive intact—delivering more peace of mind.

New Boxes

  • Daman houses several different box sizes with variable depths to reduce cube size and packaging dunnage (additional space).
  • Our new boxes are upgraded from a 200# C singlewall material to 275# C singlewall and ECT 48 BC doublewall materials.
  • The materials upgrade makes the packaging more durable, increases the bursting strength (puncture and tear resistance), and offers increased vertical compression.
  • The box also features an extended, more durable glue tab to prevent boxes from bursting open at the glue tab.

“These changes were implemented to meet UPS and FedEx enhanced packaging guidelines because of the way they handle packages,” states Brian Schmitt, Sales and Engineering Manager at Packaging Logic, Inc.  “In addition, there are potential soft savings for some of the smaller box sizes by reducing the amount of expensive filament tape being used to go around the box in several different directions and the labor associated with it”.



old versus new box


box seal

New Wrapping, Caps & Filler

  • Wraps and liners have been upgraded to 200#C corrugated material, and now provide better tearing and puncture resistance, especially when stapling the end caps, or in the event the package is dropped.
  • The end caps have been redesigned with flaps that offer better performance if dropped on the ends.
  • The extra material thickness from the flaps reduces the likelihood that the staples will tear out from the wrap.
  • Fillers now have cookie-cuts for easy, clean tearing to ensure an optimal fit when eliminating dunnage in the packaging.
  • The new end caps, pictured below, are redesigned for better reinforcement during shipping.

Brian Schmitt states that, “By utilizing the void space on the existing end caps, we are able to design these flaps into that material void without increasing the overall end cap size.  It’s there, so why not use it”?


“If only one customer receives a damaged part, that’s too many”, states Mike Linsky, Shipping Manager at Daman.  Our motivation is to serve our customers with the highest quality products, even after they’ve endured the rigorous demands of shipping.

The difference may not be obvious, but it’s there and it’s better.  We hope you will experience the benefit of these changes.  Comments and feedback on the new packaging are welcomed and appreciated.  We look forward to serving you better in the New Year!

Emergency Response Team at Daman

Daman recently implemented an Emergency Response Team (ERT) training program to aid in providing a safer workplace for its employees.  ERT’s are trained to provide emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an Emergency Medical Service can provide further treatment.
Fourteen employees across three shifts volunteered to become trained and certified in AHA Heartsaver CPR/AED and Basic First Aid.  While the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only requires specific types of industries to have medically certified personnel available at all times, Daman chose to provide this additional training for its employees after assessing the added benefits it provides.
With the assistance of OnSite Health LLC, a local agency that works with businesses to incorporate plans to improve health and wellness in the workplace, Daman is now able to add another layer of protection proactively for its most valuable asset: its people.  Daman’s HR team and Onsite Health worked several months to assess safety risks and benefits of an ERT program.
Krysten Shoulders, Human Resource Director, says, “It’s the right thing to do.  Offer the training as a voluntary program for employees, and even if they do not want to be on the emergency response team, they can take away the knowledge for personal development reasons.  It’s a win either way when we’re able to help each other in a crisis”.  Now that it has opened up to all employees, as a group initiative, the response to participate has been well-received.
“Our nurses have seen the gamut of injuries and illnesses in the workplace, anything from a simple splinter, seizure, heart attack, anaphylactic shock, lacerations, to severe burns, amputation, etc… Having a team at the ready can make the difference between life and death”, states Connie Bryan, founder of Onsite Health LLC.
Ongoing, monthly mini-sessions will be held for Daman’s ERT to learn more about how to identify, assess and place plans of action to improve the safety standards within the company.  All departments, from HR, Admin, Engineering and Production are participating in creating an enhanced vision of safety moving forward.
Daman maintains compliance with OSHA standards and regulations to ensure safe working conditions for employees.  As a Lean company that continually drives improvement efforts, the ERT program is a step towards achieving safety goals with improved awareness resulting in a safer work environment.
The investment of time and resources is considered well spent given the benefits it provides.  For more information on how your company can take advantage of workplace wellness programs, contact Connie at Onsite Health to talk about the options.


Expanding Stainless Steel Capabilities

Aluminum and ductile iron have been the standard in the manifold world for years, but stainless steel is quickly becoming more common in the hydraulic manifold industry. Its strength, durability, and excellent corrosion resistance make it the optimal choice for certain applications such as subsea, mining, and corrosive environments. Other applications include oil and gas, washdown, semiconductor, and the food industry.

- Daman can produce most of its standard products in stainless steel, including cavity body applications, and we are continuously expanding our stainless machining capabilities.

- In many cases, Daman can use readily available 17-4h1150 stainless steel in place of ductile iron. It is much stronger than its more popular cousins 304 and 316. On the Rockwell C scale, it has a hardness of 28 and a yield strength of 105,000 PSI.

- Some things to consider when choosing your material are pressure, application, and the environment where the manifold will be used. Working pressure should be considered in accordance with ISO 4413.

- Our stainless steel products are passivated to maximize the natural corrosion resistance of the material. This process removes surface contamination that can potentially form rust or initiate corrosion.

As stainless steel takes on a larger role in the hydraulic manifold industry, Daman will continue to invest in equipment, tooling, and training for the expansion of our stainless steel offerings. >>Read more

The Evolution of Daman – Part 2

A Cultural Conversion

home1997 was a year of tremendous change at Daman. Construction was beginning on their new 45,000+ square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant in the 1800 block of Home Street. At the same time, knowing there was a drastic need to change the way they were doing business, the executive team took a giant leap of faith. They made the ultimate decision to embrace a concept inconceivable to them, known as LEAN, introduced to them by Doug Atkin of Crowe Chizek, Daman’s accounting firm. Little did they know that LEAN would be the catalyst to start a cultural conversion at Daman.

The pitch that Atkin made to the executive team sounded too good to be true. It promised improved throughput to the point of continuous flow, reduced chaos, improved quality and reduced cost. Supposedly, this could be accomplished by focusing on processes, technology and people. First, he recommended that Daman reduce inventory, finish work in progress, run fewer parts, and scariest of all…no more forecasting. It was the exact opposite of everything they learned in school and throughout their careers.

Eliminating Waste

In 1999, the Kanban inventory control system was implemented after Daman used up 60% of their inventory. The core of this system, developed by an industrial engineer at Toyota in the 40’s, involves identifying which steps in production add value and which do not. Many processes that were not formerly perceived as being wasteful are removed.The most common seven wasted resources identified are: transport, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over processing, and defects.

IMG_5263Kanban is a scheduling system for just-in-time production that utilizes pull methodology. The way it works is that a small inventory of manifolds is kept in designated bins. When an order is placed, the item is pulled and the Kanban (red and blue) card is scanned. Once the bin is empty, an electronic signal is sent and the manifolds are scheduled for production. It is the rate of demand that controls the rate of production instead of forecasts which push too much product into the market.

By 2001, custom manifolds were added to the Kanban or Daman Trigger System. Daman determined that once programming, processing, tooling and fixturing were established, custom manifolds could be treated the same as standard products which allowed custom parts to be shipped within 24 hours.

Change in Leadership

Larry Davis and Dave Mischler had been leading the company effectively and consistently for many years, when in 1996 they were named Executive Vice President and Vice President, respectively. In 2003, Jack Davis officially named his son, Larry, president of Daman Products while Jack became the CEO. Larry and Dave went on to purchase the company from Jack when he retired in 2007.

Empowering Employees

A fundamental part of LEAN, Atkin told them, focuses on employees, empowering them to work autonomously, trusting them to make decisions and to eliminate waste whenever possible. The executive team thought that’s what they were doing when they decided to create independent, self-contained work stations called cells on the manufacturing floor that would be run by a team and have a team leader. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask for any input from the people on the shop floor who, in turn, had no idea how to run their newly created cells. This caused a lot of conflict between employees, cell teams and shifts. If it weren’t for the absolute commitment of the entire leadership team, the LEAN journey would have ended here.

When they realized their mistake, a teambuilding consultant was hired to help Daman learn to work as high-performance teams. This process took longer than anticipated. But, once the employees began to take control of their projects, there was a dramatic improvement in the commitment, energy, enthusiasm and pride of the entire staff.

Continuous Improvement

Bins in tableMany innovative improvements initiated by employees were being made throughout the shop. Tables used to move heavy manifolds that could be raised and lowered with the simple push of a button were built. Powered torque wrenches were counterbalanced and suspended at working height to eliminate repetitive shoulder injuries. Recessed bins were cut into table tops to keep things organized, reduce clutter and save space.

In 2008, Larry heard the familiar racket of concrete saws and jack hammers coming from the shop floor and went to investigate. Cell C was undergoing an organizational process, or 5S. They needed pneumatic lines and electricity moved deeper into their cell. The lines couldn’t go overhead, and they couldn’t lay on the floor because it made moving skids impossible. Their solution: trench the 12” thick concrete floor. It was at this moment that Larry knew Daman had reached a turning point. The level of ownership assumed by the employees and the obvious trust they felt that they could saw up the shop floor without fear was exciting and inspiring.

In 2010, the Creative Team, was formed to explore new ideas for product development. Made up of people from every department at Daman, they have learned to collaborate, inspire and work together effectively. The team adopted a 9-step stage-gate process roadmap to either advance or eliminate ideas. It begins with a market assessment, and is followed by idea generation, concept development, financial analysis, prototype development, production set-up, marketing test, product launch, and concludes with post-launch feedback.

Daman University

Daman TourMany mistakes were made along the way, and as a result, many important lessons were learned—profound lessons that Daman eagerly shares with others in Daman University. Community and business partners are invited to participate in programs which include touring Daman and learning how LEAN and the continuous improvement philosophy and practices have shaped their culture.

Improving Education

The competitiveness of the U.S. is closely linked to the success of our youth in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Believing there is a need to improve the capacity and diversity of the STEM workforce pipeline, Daman sponsored its first NFPA Fluid Power Challenge in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame where they continued to host it through 2013. In 2014-15, Daman sponsored the event at Ivy Tech in South Bend.

DamanFPCChallengeDay1Hundreds of seventh and eighth graders from the area participate in this hands-on challenge where they design and build machines used in real-world applications. Originating in Canada, the challenge was meant to inspire middle school age children to choose more math and science courses in high school. 2016 marks the seventh year that Daman is proud to be part of the NFPA Fluid Power Challenge.

Awards and Recognition

In 2003, Daman won the Small Business of the Year Award from St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce. In 2004, Daman was a Spirit Award Finalist—Entrepreneurial Award of Distinction—sponsored by the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. This award recognizes outstanding emerging and established companies within the state of Indiana for their achievements in innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. In 2005, the Indiana District Office of the Small Business Administration honored Larry Davis as Indiana’s Small Business Person of the Year.  Daman’s other awards include: 2008 One of 50 Indiana Companies to Watch, 2009 AME Manufacturing Excellence Award–Great Lakes Region, 2011 Contributions to Education–Corporate Award, 2011 Samaritan Award, 2012 Safety Achievement Award, and the 2013 Inc Magazine Fastest Growing Companies award.

What’s Next

There were never any hard lines drawn in the sand, no artificial goals or 5-year plans for Daman. The journey they began in 1997 was, and will always be, an adventure of discovery and betterment for Daman and their customers. They will continue to focus on what they can do better tomorrow.  The mission is to help customers succeed, provide better opportunities for their employees, and to be innovators in their industry.

>>Read Part 1