Simpson World HQ Visit & Tour, Part 1

Last Thursday, 1/15/2009, I visited the world headquarters of Simpson, a well-respected racing safety products manufacturer, in New Braunfels, TX.

The plant Maintenance Manager, Jaime Piña, right away told me it was absolutely fine to take pictures and ask any questions.  This 80, 000 square foot facility is one of their 2 manufacturing plants.  Here, in New Braunfels, they fabricate the following:

  • parachutes
  • safety belt harnesses
  • window webbing
  • a full line of helmets, both motorcycle (M2005) & special application/racing (SA2005)

The Simpson facility in Torrance, California fabricates the following:

  • fire safety suits
  • racing & crew/street shoes
  • safety racing gloves
  • other crew & street shirts & pants

In a “past life” as a management consultant, I had the opportunity to visit many different types of manufacturing plants.  By the time I had gotten to the Simpson plant (about 4:00pm), about ¾’s of the plant personnel had already left for the day.  For those that were still there working, they were serious about their work, but relaxed about getting it done right.

The atmosphere of the plant was:

Let’s get this job done well & right for our customer, regardless of how long it takes.

The front 1/3 of the plant was devoted mostly to the parachute, web strap, harness products fabrication.

The ladies that were still there were sewing the various clasps and inspecting & packing that work for those orders.

The middle 1/3 consists of a variety of product staging and warehouse storage.

The last 1/3, and the area of most interest to me (and I think, to you), is dedicated to helmet fabrication.  Simpson has over 30 helmet model configurations – all designed, tested, made/assembled here.  From the initial nickel mold, to finishing out & packing, complete Simpson helmet fabrication is handled here.

As an interesting side note, at yesterday’s SASCA autocross, I was privy to a ride-along in Robert’s vintage 1962 Triumph Spitfire.  I was happy to see he was using the Simpson safety harness system, from their Platinum line.  I jumped in, got all buckled & cinched into that 5-point harness.  It felt very good & secure.

Robert said he had shopped around to find the right kind of safety harness restraint system & was very happy to purchase & install the Simpson brand.  I’m happy to have experienced it in a live situation, even though I was well secured in place for less than a minute.

Racing Ready knows racing safety is important.  Simpson strives for safety in their products, and most people notice that with the most noticeable safety device – their helmets.  The Simpson process of helmet manufacturing will be described in the next post… Simpson Tour Part 2!

Dan

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