Monday, February 9, 2015

Learning From the Not-So-Secret Lives of Scientists

"One of the most beautiful things about science is that it unifies all of us."
—Janna Levin, theoretical cosmologist and novelist

Have you ever drawn inspiration from someone else's story? Chances are that learning about what someone went through made you appreciate the person they are today. And, like all effective storytelling, it probably made you reflect on changes you could make in your own life, or steps you could take to fulfill your own goals.

People instinctively learn through and organize their thoughts in stories. A well-crafted narrative engages, enlightens and resonates over time. It also connects us. It builds community. That's why storytelling has made a resurgence in the business and marketing world—stories stick and they move people to action.

So let's apply the art of storytelling more in the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We need more young people to aspire to careers in STEM, so let's share stories of our successes, let's show them—by telling our own journeys—what success looks like as an engineer, as an inventor, as a cosmologist solving the mysteries of this weird and wonderful universe.

Some words of advice from Tiina Roose, professor of biological and environmental modeling at the University of Southampton in the UK, in The Guardian:
Universities should work with local communities, schools and teachers to talk about what engineering is. It’s important to start working with schools as early as possible – leaving it to secondary school level is actually too late. At the moment in primary schools, engineering only comes in during history lessons. If you explain to children, for example, that all this equipment in hospitals, where you have an x-ray or any procedure, would of had an engineer involved to develop the machine that has helped cure patients, it gives a broader impression early on to children of the wide possibility of this career.
When you view engineering as a narrow discipline, the chances are that it is not communicated in the most exciting way to students either. Some universities are offering narrow degrees – this inevitably means they are restricting their pool of applicants to a narrow remit.
That is so true.

If you're a scientist or engineer, volunteer your time sharing your personal story with students. If you're a teacher, reach out to a local company or university to find someone to speak to your class.

Thankfully, you don't have to wait even for that. We love PBS series, The Secret LIfe of Scientists and Engineers, a video series housed online, "where the lab coats comes off" and the experts talk about how they became the successful scientists they are today. Here's a link to the show's archive.

Bishop-Wisecarver has a video series of its own that we're particularly proud of. Our founder, Bud Wisecarver, is a prolific inventor (read more about that here, on our history page). To fully appreciate the breadth of his work, you have to listen to his story. And boy, is he a storyteller. We filmed him talking about his life's work and we're proud to share it with you. Below is the first in an eight-part series. For the rest, visit our YouTube page.

"There isn't one material thing on earth, that you could think of, that didn't start with a toolmaker."
—Bud Wisecarver, inventor, founder of Bishop-Wisecarver Group

Monday, January 26, 2015

DualVee Vacuum Wheels Nominated for Golden Mousetrap Award

The Golden Mousetrap Awards recognizes technologies driving progress in the design and manufacturing field. The program, hosted by UBM Canon, awards companies contributing to the renaissance of American manufacturing and promotes engineering and manufacturing as viable career paths for the next generation.

That's why we're proud to announce that Bishop-Wisecarver was named a finalist in the annual Golden Moustrap Awards, for our DualVee Vacuum Wheels.

These vee wheels were designed specifically for vacuum environments and processing equipment where it's tough to use other guided motion products.

DualVee Vacuum Wheels are linear guide bearings with precision-ground 90-degree surfaces for applications in testing chambers and ultra-high vacuum environments.

It's a product suited for applications in research and development, package sealing, materials science, space testing and simulation and many other fields.

We put together a handy FAQ page about these new bearings here.

Here's a link to the Design News feature about the nomination.Winners of the Golden Mousetrap Awards will be announced Feb. 10 at the Anaheim Convention Center as part of ATX West. We look forward to being part of the action!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bishop-Wisecarver Group President Selected as one of the Astra Leadership Forum Committee Representatives

 Bishop-Wisecarver Group, a WBENC-certified, woman-owned family of companies, announced today that their President, Pamela Kan, has been selected as one of the Astra Leadership Forum Committee Representatives (FCR). Astra is a regional partner organization for the Women’s Business EnterpriseNational Council (WBENC), the national organization providing certification for women-owned business.  Kan will serve in this new role while also maintaining her position as Astra’s founding chair of the Women in Manufacturing Group.

Astra Women's Business Alliance was established in 2000 as a non-profit committed to driving real change for women in business. Astra is a regional partner office (RPO) for WBENC and represents successful women business owners in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Northern California and Washington.

The Leadership Forum serves in an advisory capacity providing input and feedback to WBENC.  Forum leaders represent the voice of all women business enterprises and participate in programming opportunities such as development and networking with corporate and government entities.

“Serving with Astra is a great opportunity to help other female business owners connect, learn and find success,” stated Pamela Kan, President of Bishop-Wisecarver Group. “In this new role, I look forward to being a liaison between the Astra’s WBEs businesses and WBENC so that our specific regional concerns and ideas can be addressed.  By working together, we will all be more successful.”

Kan will begin her new role as Astra’s Leadership Forum Committee Representative in November at the annual WBENC Committee and Board of Directors Meeting in Maryland.

Have questions about Pamela Kan's new role or being certified as a woman-owned business? Post your questions below or contact us at!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have Some Tough Linear Motion Questions?

View FAQ right on our website [ FAQ Home Page ]

Or, use these product specific pages >>

DualVee linear guide wheels consist of both an external and internal 90 degree vee angle. The vee groove guide wheel is made with a double row angular contact bearing for excellent load capability and long life. Vee bearing guide wheels are available in 52100 steel or 440C stainless steel from stock. Other options include seals and shields to meet specific application needs. Special DualVee guide wheels are available for cleanroom, debris-laden, low temperature and high temperature applications.

GV3 provides a wide array of precision linear guide components utilizing guide wheel androller wheel technology. Slides are available in three different precision grades, ranging from completely ground surfaces to as-drawn quality, to fit performance and economic needs. Lubed-for-life guide wheels come in twin bearings, double row bearings, and compact slimline bearings. GV3 may be used as a simple guide or as a self-actuated rack or belt driven system.


LoPro linear actuators are an actuated linear motion system based upon proven DualVee guide wheel technology for smooth and quiet motion over long lengths. Actuation options include AT series belt, ANSI roller chain, lead screw, and ball screw. LoPro linear actuators are also available in a non-actuated version. LoPro linear actuators provide a tough, cost effective, low friction, low profile modular solution, built to withstand a wide range of operating environments. Complete systems include your preference of wiper or basic wheel plates, and may be mounted or un-mounted. Support beams are available in aluminum or steel to meet application demands and to provide ease of installation. A wide variety of gantry brackets are available to form complete LoPro gantry systems.


SL2 is a completely corrosion resistant linear guide featuring ground stainless steel slides and linear motion bearings. SL2 carriages are made from strong, yet light-weight aluminum alloy. SL2 slides may also be mounted to GV3 beams for further design versatility.


UtiliTrak is an ideal choice for running two systems in parallel, where one slide uses DualVee guide wheels and the other uses MadeWell® crowned rollers. Because precise parallelism is difficult to achieve, it is not uncommon for mounting surfaces to be slightly out of parallel. UtiliTrak's design compensates for mounting errors, and does not require absolute parallelism for accurate operation. The DualVee guide wheel carriage assembly and vee channel serves as the motion side, while the MadeWell crowned roller and open channel side allows for parallel misalignment.         


PDU2's patented wheel technology gives this small belt driven system considerable load capacity for its size. The modular design of the PDU2 allows for quick and easy gantry configuration. Adapter plates can be ordered for connecting PDU2's together, or MCS aluminum framing brackets and extrusion may be ordered to create a machine structure.
PDU2 features an aluminum beam up to 6 meters in length with T-slots, if desired. Aluminum beams without T-slots are ideal for wash down applications, and they will not trap dirt. Additional options for the PDU2 include motor/gearbox mounts, limit and proximity switches, T-nuts, T-slot covers, gearboxes, motors, and electric brake.

Still haven't answered your linear motion question? Comment your question below or email us at!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Application Feature: Stable, Smooth, and Quiet Camera Slider


A manufacturer of camera sliders received complaints from their customers that they couldn’t record sound due to the noise being generated from the bearing and slide engagement on previous camera slider.


In this application, the customer needed a linear parallel guidance system supporting a camera mount and camera. The system required a very rigid but quiet design to reduce vibration, noise and be able to handle a max weight of 190 lbs.  


Bishop-Wisecarver’s custom UtiliTrak carriage and a hardened steel raceway with a precision ground running surface of Ra 0.8 micrometers was used in order to ensure smooth quiet operation.


Got another application you'd like to share with us? We're all ears! Email your linear and/or curvinlinear motion application story to and it might just get featured here on our blog!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Internships Bring Awareness to Various Careers in Manufacturing

Part of what prepares you for a career comes from what you learn outside the classroom. Internships provide you with an opportunity to connect text book learning to real-world applications, giving you a competitive advantage in the workforce as you build a stronger network and develop your marketable talent. Here at Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG), we value STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives and believe interns not only learn from the experts we employ but they help to teach us more about ourselves through their own unique perspectives.

Osiel Mendoza, a second year student at the University of Oregon had the opportunity to be a part of the Bishop-Wisecarver family as an intern for the marketing team. His 6 week tenure went quickly, but the knowledge he gained was prominent.

Read about Osiel’s BWG internship experience:

“While I reflect back on my experience now and remember how busy the marketing team kept me, I can truly say that I have learned an extraordinary amount of valuable things that I never thought I was capable of learning before. This was all due in part to the wonderful marketing team for always teaching me something new every day and for making it clear as to how each and every little mechanism was important to be successful in a marketing position.

I learned about various areas of marketing from social media marketing to digital and content marketing.  Here are some of my favorite and most valuable things that I learned throughout this internship: how to utilize social media to engage with the manufacturing community, how to use a marketing automation tool to create forms and landing pages to communicate with prospective customers, and how to film and edit a video to inform customers about what new things are going on in the  company.  I became knowledgeable about the power that an infographic can provide to the general public or a target audience, the importance of STEM education in America, and most importantly, how to successfully work in a team environment to reach a goal.

In addition to this, it was so interesting to actually go out on the factory floor and learn how a manufacturing business works on a daily basis and to see linear motion in action. 

Throughout this internship I learned so many new skills that I know will benefit my future education and career. I can apply all of my developed marketing skills and strategies to my marketing career after college. I can also apply the more general skills, such as working together as a team and having great work ethic, to so many different aspects of my life. I loved the fact that I was given the freedom to explore and develop my creativeness. I was asked to come up with infographic and giveaway ideas for upcoming tradeshows and for the 2015 FIRST Robotics competition. I also had a chance to edit a video for the Bishop-Wisecarver ALS Challenge.  It was very valuable for me to have the chance to come up with my own ideas and expand my creativity as a whole. 

Bishop-Wisecarver does a great job of creating a successful company culture. Although my time was short, everyone made me feel like I was an invaluable addition to the team. Seeing how a small business like Bishop-Wisecarver thrives in its workplace with everyone driven towards success is really inspiring. Hard work goes a long way and I’m lucky to have worked with such hardworking people. It has motivated me to work hard towards my goals and reach my dream job. So thank you so much to everyone at Bishop-Wisecarver for making my first internship an unforgettable one.”

What has been your memorable internship experience? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

Do you enjoy marketing? Are you an engineer that wants more hands-on experience? Interested in an internship or career with Bishop-Wisecarver? Visit our Career Page!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bishop-Wisecarver Builds an Automated Ice Bucket Machine to Support ALS

The engineers at Bishop-Wisecarver built an automated ice bucket machine for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Not only did we participate, but we donated money and matched our employee's contribution!

Bishop-Wisecarver President, Pamela Kan, describes her experience:

"A good friend of mine and one of our distributors challenged Bishop-Wisecarver Group to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to support the fight against this disease. I accepted the challenge and tasked our engineers to build an automated ice bucket machine using our components because after all we eat, breathe and live MOTION!

I stood nervously under this big bucket filled with ice cold water, regretting that my engineers built a slow pour functionality. You haven't lived until you feel a steady pour of ice cold water rolling down your back while your entire company burst into fits of laughter. After all was said and done, I'm extremely proud of the work everyone did to build this machine and that we supported an amazing cause.

We would like to challenge our customers, suppliers and distribution partners to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge."

Watch and Share this video on YouTube!

Want to share your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Video? Post the link of your video on the comments below!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Roll" With the Punches: Choosing the Right Protection for Your Challenging Environments

Whether it be wood dust, metal shavings, or water; the type of guide wheel bearing protection is determined in the environment it will be used in. Check out these four environmental scenarios and Bishop-Wisecarver’s recommended guide wheel bearing solution.

Environment Scenario #1: 
Heavy Concentrations of Liquid or Fine/Powdery Particles  
Solution: Sealed Guide Wheel

Environments with heavy concentrations of liquid or fine/powdery particles can disturb and/or change the properties of the guide wheel bearing lubricant, causing premature wear and failure of the
bearing balls and raceways. Using a sealed bearing for this operating environment can prevent damage to the bearing elements, ensuring the predicted lifespan of the system.

Environment Scenario #2: 
Heavy Concentrations of Large Particles
Solution: Shield Guide Wheel

Generally, shielded bearings are used in environments with heavy concentrations of large particles, such as metal flakes, that can work their way between the balls and bearing raceways. The larger debris can cause premature wear and damage such as brinelling (permanent indentation of a hard surface) or spalling (breakage into smaller piece).

Environment Scenario #3: 
Heavy Concentrations of Both Small and Large Particles  
Solution: Sealed and Shielded Guide Wheel

Bearings that feature shields and seals combine the advantages of both sealed and shielded wheels. The shield protects the seal from damage by large particulates, while the seal protects the bearing elements from thefine particulates and liquid that the shield is less effective against.

Environment Scenario #4: Washdown
Solution: Washdown Wheel

The washdown bearing includes a patented inner seal and outer shield design. The design of the outer shield allows it to act as a momentary seal when forced to undergo pressure from high velocity fluid such as washdown spray. The pressure causes the shield to deflect and conform to the wheel’s metallic surface. When the pressure is removed, the shield returns to its normal position, allowing liquid and debris that entered between the shield and seal  to drain out or be spun out by centrifugal force when the wheel rotates.

Ensure your guide wheel bearing lifespan by choosing the correct protection for your harsh environments.Watch Bishop-Wisecarver's Video about how tough DualVee guide wheel bearings handle all types of elements.

Bishop-Wisecarver Group is a woman-owned family of WBENC certified companies in its second generation, and has remained one of the most respected names in custom automation solutions and guided motion technology since 1950. The San Francisco Bay Area company manufacturers, stocks, and distributes guided motion components and systems for linear, rotary and curved track applications. Bishop- Wisecarver products are used worldwide in industries such as packaging, medical device manufacturing, wood processing, food processing, and semiconductor fabrication.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Up to Standard: 5 Benefits of Having an ISO Certification

As a business owner you may ask yourself, how can I increase satisfaction for my customers? If you want to increase satisfaction, you want to increase your ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard. An ISO standard is a document that supplies guidelines, characteristics, specifications or requirements, which can be used frequently to guarantee products, services, materials and processes are satisfactory for its purpose.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization), an independent, non-governmental membership organization, has 19 500 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and business, making it the world's largest developer of voluntary International Standards.

ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors, and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.

So how does your ISO Certification benefit your business? 

Cost savings - International Standards help optimize operations and therefore improve the bottom line.
      Enhanced customer satisfaction - International Standards help improve quality, enhance customer satisfaction and increase sales. 
Access to new markets - International Standards help prevent trade barriers and open up global markets.
 Increased market share - International Standards help increase productivity and competitive advantage. 
Environmental benefits - International Standards help reduce negative impacts on the environment.

Now that you understand the benefits of having an ISO certification, you’ll need to contact an external accredited certification body which can certify you for being ISO compliant. These resources can be found at International Accreditation Forum.

Want to learn more about certifications or other subjects? Submit your ideas and we may feature your idea on a future blog!

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) is a woman-owned family of WBENC certified companies who has been certified AS9100C, EN 9100:2009, JISQ 9100:2009 and ISO 9001:2008. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Application Feature: Motorized Two Axis Gantry Vacuum System

Bishop-Wisecarver Group Engineering Team (left to right): 
Azhar Khaderi, Garrett Diulio, Ben Domingo, Naasik Akkas


A company in the Food & Beverage Industry needed to add a vacuum tray cleaner to an existing piece of equipment for their post-production cleaning process. This vacuum tray cleaner needed to integrate with the customer’s operations software and meet physical constraints.


In this application, a motorized linear actuator needed to move a vacuum cleaner up and down, left to right, to remove any residue left on the tray.


Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) subsidiary, WRW Engineering, designed and built a motorized, X-Z gantry system along with the electrical interface to be installed in the customer’s existing equipment.  When the interface sensed that the tray was moved into the “clean” position the Z axis actuator lowered the vacuum system down to tray level.  The vacuum was activated and the X axis actuator moved the vacuum across the surface of the tray to be cleaned.  Once the tray was cleaned, the vacuum was raised back to the ready position and the tray returned into the production sequence.


With the help of our WRWengineering team’s  expertise, they were able to design and build a custom motorized gantry system that consisted of  two axes. They used multiple Bishop-Wisecarver product lines, LoPro and DLS actuators as a solution.


Got another application you'd like to share with us? We're all ears! Email your linear and/or curvinlinear motion application story to and it might just get featured here on our blog!

Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Ways to Fundraise for Your FIRST® Team (or any school program!)

Being sponsored by a big name corporation like Apple, Google or Boeing can be an awesome achievement for your FIRST team, but sponsorships like these are difficult to obtain. Unless you know someone within the company who can point you to the right people, you may get the run around which can waste your time and cause unnecessary frustration. While persistence is key, what happens when you still can’t through to these companies? You may be asking yourself are sponsorships the only way to raise money for my team?

The simple answer is no. There are other ways to raise money for your school program besides fishing for well-known companies. Here are 5 ways to fundraise for your FIRST team:
  1. Research Crowdsourcing Opportunities: You can crowdsource through various websites like crowdtilt or kickstarter. These websites were created to help collect, fundraise or pool money. It’s easy to start these webpages and you can easily share these through social channels like Facebook, Twitter and email. While there is a small fee that you have to pay to the websites, which usually is 2.5-5% of the funds raised, the physical work required to raise money is minimal.
  2. Host an Event: Whether it’s a carwash, talent show, dance show; the sky is the limit on what type of event you want to host to raise money! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to attend, reminding them that the proceeds are to help your school program. You can also maximize the funds collected by selling water, snacks and other goodies at your event!  
  3. Coordinate an Electronic Recycling Drive: There are recycling facilities that are willing to buy your e-waste. Invite your community to donate their electronics to your school. Not only are you funding your program but you’re helping out the earth!
  4. Partner with Local Companies: Eat for a cause. Team up with your local restaurant that can host a fundraising event on your school program’s behalf. Some chain restaurants that offer school fundraising opportunities are: Panda Express, Chipotle, Chili’s and more!
  5. Have a Garage Sale: Ask family and friends to donate goods they no longer need or want. In-kind donations (physical items) are just as good as monetary donations!

Lastly, don’t lose hope or give up on your fundraising efforts. It’s not an easy task especially if it’s your first time! What successful fundraising ideas are you using to raise money? Please share by commenting below!

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) embraces and promotes initiatives focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  These programs are vital for increasing the vibrancy of the American economy and our industrial manufacturing base. Organizations such as FIRST help to bridge the gap between education and the business world by engaging participants in hands-on learning challenges. BWG provides consistent and increasing support of FIRST since 2007 through support of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and we are proud to continue our support of FIRST future seasons!

If you're interested in being sponsored by Bishop-Wisecarver, please check out our corporate sponsorship page!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Four Keys that Every High School and College Graduate Needs to Know for a Successful Job Interview

It’s that time of year where students are throwing their caps in the air as they celebrate their graduation.  Although there is so much joy found in graduations, it can be a scary time for graduates as they prepare to interview for their first job or internship. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers are expected to possess the knowledge, skills and relevant job experiences that will set them apart from other applicants.  It is also very important to have a great interview to land the job or internship.
Here are 4 tips every High School and College Graduate Needs to Know for a Successful Job Interview:

1) Research the Company

Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about that company. By doing this research, it will help you prepare to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions.  Also, research the location of the company and where you will be having the interview. Map the route you will take to get to the interview ahead of time and keep in mind any traffic or construction that you may encounter that can affect your travel time.

2) Dress for Success

Make a lasting first impression. Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your interview clothes are ready.  Dress accordingly in business attire; make sure it fits well, looks professional and is wrinkle free.

3) Practice Interviewing

Take the time to practice answering interview questions that may be asked during a job interview. Ask a friend or family member to perform a mock interview so you can framework your responses. By doing so, you avoid scrambling for an answer during the interview.

4) Say Thank you

Follow up your job interview with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. Consider this thank you letter as another form of letting your interviewer know your interest in the job and how you will make a significant contribution.

You are sure to have a successful interview if you follow these four tips. Good Luck!

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) is an advocate of partnering with and supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, non-profits and their community, which in turn, helps them become a better company. Last month, BWG was involved in several local career preparation events in the San Francisco East Bay Area to help students prepare for job interviews:

Laney College Manufacturing Career Fair - Oakland, CA

Pittsburg Chamber Interview Project – Pittsburg, CA

Junior Achievement Job Shadow – Pittsburg, CA
Bishop-Wisecarver also offers internships in Engineering. Please fill out an application for more information about the  Bishop-Wisecarver internship program.