Protomatic Refuses to Buy Materials from Countries Where Human Rights Abuses Exist

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Michigan manufacturer, Protomatic, has taken steps to ensure its customers that it does not use materials from countries where human rights abuses occur.


Protomatic has become aware of potential problems associated with Conflict Minerals in the supply chain. Conflict minerals come from countries where conflict, civil violence and human rights abuses occur. The country of most concern is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi have also been involved. Minerals mined in these countries are smuggled out through layers of intermediate handlers to fund their war agendas and civil strife.

Cassiterite (tin), wolframite (tungsten), coltan (niobium and tantalum) and gold are the most commonly mined minerals from this region. These minerals are used in tool manufacturing, coating processes, and electronics. Fortunately, there are many other regional sources for these essential minerals, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, United States, and Thailand.

To address this concern, Protomatic requires that all suppliers identify the “country of origin” for the minerals used during the processing of specific parts. For example, if a part requires a tin coating, Protomatic will ensure that the source of the tin is not one of the aforementioned DRC or nearby countries.

Another area of concern involves components that are not “as specified” on purchase orders. Protomatic does not accept sub-par or black market parts that have been used, refurbished or reclaimed and represented as new product. For example, if fasteners are purchased to manufacture an assembly, it is guaranteed that the source of those fasteners is reputable and that the fasteners themselves are traceable.

“Protomatic is committed to ethical business conduct and we insist that our suppliers follow suit,” said Vice President & General Manager, Doug Wetzel.

“It may take an extra effort, but this gives our customers the highest level of confidence that they are being delivered ‘Life-Saving Precision’ from a global perspective. While saving lives here in the United States, Protomatic certainly does not want to contribute to atrocities in other parts of the world.”

Protomatic resides in a 30,000 square-foot facility that can be found at 2125 Bishop Circle West in Dexter, Mich. The company’s specialties include prototype machining and custom short-run precision CNC milling and turning. In addition to those services, Protomatic will customize, produce and assemble parts and systems for numerous industries and jobs. Industries served include aerospace, automotive, medical, military, and several other markets.

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Doug Wetzel
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