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FAQs

Company Info

Product Questions

Ordering and Shipping

Testing and Quality

Company Info


Q.

Where and how does EPCO produce more than 800 different bow and stern eyes made of 304 and 316 stainless steel?

A.

EPCO's manufacturing facility consists of a 25,000 sq. ft. completely air conditioned steel building located on 3 acres in Fort Wayne, In. EPCO's strength is its skilled and experienced employees who know how to make quality bow/stern eyes and ship them on time. They know what products their customers use and take pride in making them for them.

The employees have a broad array of equipment that is required to produce their bow/stern eyes and related products.
The equipment list includes

  • precise and high speed threaders
  • manual, automatic and CNC benders
  • automatic parts washer
  • computer controlled manufacturing systems
  • automatic, high speed product packaging
  • computer controlled customer-specific labeling
  • custom (logo) part marking
  • automatic and CNC machining
  • automatic parts assembly
  • a cross section or miscellaneous secondary pieces that provide tapping, drilling, broaching, grinding, buffing/polishing, sawing, forming, punching, welding, assembly and more

Q.

How is EPCO able to provide uninterrupted product availability?

A.

"Made in the USA" is the primary reason. EPCO makes its more 800 different 304 and 316 in the USA.  EPCO has a reliable vendor base that has provided for its production needs for many years and works to insure that EPCO is supplied. Historical and long range material forecasts are used to plan for material needs. EPCO is not dependent on suppliers that may be affected by any of the international uncertainty that is unpredictable. EPCO is never "waiting for the boat to come in."

Q.

What makes EPCO different from the import products companies?

A.

The EPCO Value Story,  EPCO Express Shipping Program, EPCO's Return Goods Policy, ISO 9001:2008 Registered Quality System company, 800 different styles, customer-specific product label, EPCO Limited Lifetime Warranty, Salt Spray Test Data and Bow Eye Tensile Test Data. All the products that EPCO produces meet or exceed the requirements for that product as defined by ABYC H-40 (PDF).

Q.

What is the U.S. Senate Productivity Award that was presented to EPCO?

A.

Each United States Senator is allowed to recognize one company per year from its state for that company's achievements in productivity, commitment to innovation, quality, employee involvement, customer service, and to companies that serve as an example to those who say that America can't compete anymore. In 1988, former Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana presented the U.S. Senate Productivity Award to EPCO and its employees.

Product Questions


Q.

Does EPCO produce products and components that comply with ABYC H-40?

A.

All the products that EPCO produces meet or exceed the requirements for that product as defined by ABYC H-40 (PDF).

Q.

How can I get product information from EPCO?

A.

Q.

What grades of stainless steel does EPCO use when producing their bow and stern eyes as well as the plates and hardware?

A.

EPCO uses both 304 and 316 stainless steel in the manufacture of its bow and stern eyes. The same material is used for the plates and hardware. The 316 has a higher nickel content and may exhibit better corrosion resistance properties. The higher nickel content makes the 316 more expensive.

The 304 material appeared to have a higher tensile strength than the 316 in the pull tests reported to EPCO.

See the Salt Spray Test Data for more information on corrosion resistance performance of the 304 and 316 material used by EPCO.

See Tensile Test for more information on the tensile edge and side pull results for 304 and 316 stainless steel used by EPCO.

Q.

How can my company be assured that when we order 304 or 316 stainless steel bow/stern eyes and components it is actually getting what it ordered?

A.

As part of EPCO's ISO 9001:2008 Registered Quality System, EPCO requires that all stainless steel materials supplied to it have a material certification accompany the shipment. The material certifications provide laboratory analysis of the material supplied. The material certifications are kept on file at EPCO.

All EPCO bow/stern eyes are engraved with either 'E304'or 'E316' on the interior surface of the curved portion of the product to designate the stainless steel grade of that bow/stern eye. The bow/stern plates have the same engraving on the bottom side of the plate. All 316 nuts have '316' engraved on one side. The 304 nuts are either not engraved or have '304' engraved on one side.

Q.

How can our production people know whether they are using 304 or 316 stainless steel EPCO bow/stern eyes and components?

A.

All EPCO bow/stern eyes are engraved with either 'E304' or 'E316' on the interior surface of the curved portion of the product to designate the stainless steel grade of that bow/stern eye. The bow/stern plates have the same engraving on the bottom side of the plate. All 316 nuts have '316' engraved on one side. The 304 nuts are either not engraved or have '304' engraved on one side.

All product that is still in the original sealed EPCO package will have a customer-specific product label if requested that will indicate the grade of stainless steel.

Q.

What production process does EPCO use to produce the threads on its bow and stern eyes?

A.

EPCO uses both roll and cut threading processes. The roll threads are produced by special dies by compressing and moving the metal on the bar in the area that is being threaded. No metal is removed from the bar during this process. The threads produced cause the steel in the bar to expand to the height of the maximum thread diameter and compress to the depths of the resulting thread. The bar stock that is used to produce a roll threaded part has a diameter less than the diameter of the resulting thread diameter. Compared to cut threaded products, roll threaded products are produced from smaller diameter bars, generate no chips, produce a stronger thread, can be produced at a faster production rate and offer a better thread finish.

Cut threading uses dies that cut and remove material from the bar stock. The diameter of the bar is the same as the resulting thread diameter. This process generates metal chips, requires die sharpening, has a slower production rate and is more expensive than roll threading.

Q.

What surface finishes for the bow and stern eyes does EPCO offer?

A.

EPCO provides both a natural finish, ultra sheen polished and an electro-polished finish.

The natural finish is the raw stainless steel that is received from the mill without having any additional surface finishing being done. Surface finishing procedures may be done to the bars to make the surface smoother prior to the threading of the bars. The smoother the requested mill finish, the higher the cost of the bars. This material may have surface impurities that are a result of the natural mill production process. Surface impurities can be a source of future corrosion.

Ultra sheen polished products are manually polished to a high luster.

Electro-polish is an electro-chemical process that ultimately removes metal and impurities (heat tint or oxide scale) from the surface of the stainless steel being treated. The surface of the stainless steel following this process is free of scale, free iron, and foreign matter that may be generated by factors outside the process and does not require a separate treatment for passivation. The amount of metal removed is controlled by the amount of current applied, the strength and type of chemicals used and the time that each is applied to the product. This process provides exceptional protection against possible future corrosion, because it removes impurities that other processes may leave on the metal. The electro-polish process provides a smooth, contaminant-free, corrosion resistant surface. This time-sensitive process is the same used in the surface treatment of many stainless steel medical devices. The individual handling of each part and the in-tank time required to get the desired surface finish translate to a higher unit cost.

See the Salt Spray Test Data for more information on corrosion resistance performance of the natural finish and electro-polished 304 and 316 material used by EPCO.

Statement of Compliance
All the products that EPCO produces meet or exceed the requirements for that product as defined by ABYC H-40 (PDF).

Q.

Where does EPCO get its bow and stern eyes?

A.

"Made in the USA" by EPCO employees in Indiana for over 40 years. EPCO produces and assembles its bow and eyes in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. EPCO is the only US bow eye producer and the largest in the world! Nobody knows bow eyes better.

Q.

What other products does EPCO supply?

A.

Mooring Eyes, Lifting Assemblies, Pontoon Plugs, Hatch Cover Pulls, Qest Plumbing Products, Fish'n Rail, www.zeroleak.com, custom machined parts—send a print or sample for a quote.

Q.

Can our company have its logo permanently displayed on any of EPCO's stainless steel products?

A.

EPCO can provide permanent company logo marking on many of its stainless steel products. The Hatch Cover Pulls, Bow/SternEyes, and miscellaneous parts can be permanently marked. There is a one-time charge for the logo. Prices for the individual logo markings are quoted on the size of the image, location of the marking and the quantity required. Normal lead time for one-time orders for established products is 6 working days after receipt of order. Blanket orders are shipped per confirmed schedule.

Q.

Can EPCO provide non-standard (not currently in production by EPCO) prototype bow/stern eyes?

A.

EPCO can make customer-specific bow/stern eyes from existing diameter bar stock. The turnaround time on prototypes is usually a work day or two depending on the specific part requested. A bow/stern or mooring eye design form (PDF) must be submitted with the prototype request. A delivery date will be provided after receipt of the request. There is usually no charge for this type of prototype. There may be a prototype charge for items that necessitates additional costs based on the requirements of the request.

EPCO currently produces over 800 different styles of 304 and 316 stainless steel bow/stern eyes.

EPCO has complete manufacturing capabilities to produce a variety of components. Let us know if you don't find what you need and we can take it from there.

EPCO Custom Parts Policy

  1. Custom Parts are defined as components made expressly for the unique requirements of a customer and they are of such a nature that they may not be used by other customers. All custom parts will be priced based on the total parts ordered for release within a prescribed time determined by EPCO.

  2. Custom parts will be produced by EPCO up to the total indicated by the customer's PO.

  3. The customer is responsible for all parts that were ordered on the PO. That means that if the delivery terms of the PO are not fulfilled and EPCO has parts made or in process, based on the PO quantities, the customer is responsible for the acceptance and payment of those parts.

  4. No custom parts can be returned to EPCO without EPCO's written permission. EPCO may authorize the return of custom parts after EPCO has determined that the parts in question can be sold by EPCO and if any additional costs may be involved. Any additional costs incurred in doing so would be deducted from the credit that may be issued to the customer.

Ordering and Shipping


Q.

What is the lead time to ship the first order of the new part once a prototype bow/stern eye is approved?

A.

That would depend on the quantity ordered and whether or not the components were in stock at EPCO. Most products can be shipped within 1-5 working days after the order is received at EPCO. A firm ship date will be confirmed when the order is placed.

It is recommended that a blanket order for the new item be placed with estimated ship dates to insure product availability. The ship dates can be adjusted to meet customer requirements.

Q.

What is EPCO lead time for standard bow/stern eyes?

A.

The normal lead requested by EPCO is 5 working days. However same day shipments are possible in most instances when the order is received before noon. EPCO does offer the EPCO Express Shipping Program for many of its products to provide service in those instances when for whatever reason the bow/stern eyes must be shipped the day the order is received.

Q.

What is the charge for expediting an order or taking advantage of the EPCO Express Shipping Program?

A.

There is no extra charge. It is recommended that a follow-up order be placed to help avoid production interruptions while parts are in transit or Murphy's Law goes into effect.

Q.

Can EPCO notify us when our order is shipped by UPS so that it may be tracked?

A.

EPCO can automatically provide, upon customer request, e-mail notification with the tracker number of UPS shipments.

Q.

What are EPCO's minimum order quantities?

A.

There are none. It is suggested that the quantity ordered be based on timely manufacturing needs and to maximize inventory turn and minimize cash requirements.

Q.

How are EPCO's bow and stern eyes packaged for OEM applications?

A.

EPCO has two standard packages as well as packaging to specific customer requirements. Every bow/stern eye order is packed to the individual customer order as part of the manufacturing process.

The most commonly requested package is a clear sealed pack that contains the base bow/stern eye with the top nuts installed and completely run to the top of the threads. The required plates and nuts are sealed in the same package. A customer-specific product label that has the customer name, PO #, customer part number and bar code, complete product description, EPCO part number and invoice number, the name of the EPCO employee who packed the order and the date the order was packed can be affixed to each package upon customer request.

The second package involves that the bow/stern eye be assembled to a greater degree than just installing the top nuts. This type of package is done to a specific customer request and has an additional cost.

Bulk packaging is available in these instances when the integrity of the product's surface finish may not be a factor. Related components are also bulk packed.

Testing and Quality


Q.

Does EPCO have a Registered Quality System?

A.

Q.

What is EPCO's Warranty?

A.

Q.

What is EPCO's Return Goods Policy?

A.

A written request must be submitted to EPCO to return any product purchased from EPCO. A determination will be made by EPCO. A Returned Goods Authorization will provided for the products that are to be returned. The RGA will state the terms and conditions covering the return of the goods.

Q.

What is the restocking charge to return standard products that are saleable?

A.

There is no restocking charge for the return of standard products that EPCO determines are in salable condition. A written request must be submitted to EPCO to return any product purchased from EPCO. A Returned Goods Authorization will be provided for the products that are to be returned freight prepaid. The RGA will state the terms and conditions covering the return of the goods. Returned products that qualify for no restocking charge will either have a credit memo or EPCO check issued (customer choice) for 100% of the price originally paid for the returned products.

Q.

Can EPCO provide Broad Form Vendor's insurance coverage on their bow/stern eyes?

A.

EPCO does provide the coverage upon written request.

Q.

What professionally documented test data is available for the corrosion resistance properties of EPCO's 304 and 316 bow and stern eyes, plates and hardware?

A.

See the Salt Spray Test Data for information on corrosion resistance performance of the natural finish and electro-polished 304 and 316 material used by EPCO.

Q.

What professionally documented test data is available for Tensile Strength, Edge Pull, and Side Pull properties of EPCO's 304 and 316, 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" bow and stern eyes?

A.

See the Bow Eye Tensile Test Data for information on Tensile Strength, Edge Pull, and Side Pull performance of the 304 and 316 material used by EPCO.