Some years ago we added an interesting division to Wiley Metal. We’re referring to Avionic Structures Inc. (ASI). Acquiring ASI was an important step towards becoming more than a general fabrication shop, and it’s done rather well. If you think it’s something to do with aerospace, that would be understandable although incorrect. ASI makes bumpers for fire trucks. If you’ve never given these much thought, allow us to educate you.

ASI History

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a company called Avionic Structures Inc. Well, being honest, it was thirty-some years ago in Anaheim, California, but that doesn’t sound quite so interesting. ASI was in the business of fabricating vehicle bumpers. Then, around 2010, Wiley Metal acquired ASI and moved the business to our base in Indiana. ASI was then renamed as Avionic Structures of Indiana, so letting us leave the initials unchanged.

A few years back our Director of Sales was given some old print ads for the Californian ASI. We covered this in, “6 Reasons to Put an ASI Bumper on Your Vehicle,” which is what the ads were about. What’s really interesting is that 30-plus years later those reasons still hold true. It might be time though to add a couple more. Before getting to that, let’s explain why ASI bumpers are special.

A Special Kind of Bumper

Today, stylists hide the bumpers on most vehicles, with one notable exception: fire trucks. Fire trucks have big, prominent bumpers, and we’re proud to say that ASI is a leader in their manufacture.

Wiley Metal, through ASI, creates fire engine replacement bumpers, painted steel bumpers, polished aluminum bumpers and fire engine extensions. These are all great products, but we are particularly proud of our highly polished stainless steel bumpers. Not only are they constructed to last longer than chrome, they maintain a brighter finish than anything else we’ve seen in the market. We don’t think it’s boasting to say that these are the highest quality fire engine bumpers you can buy.

The Secret of the Shine

When did you last see a dirty fire truck? Probably never. Fire Departments take pride in their equipment. They understand the importance of a polished fire engine bumper and truck, so it matters what the bumpers are made from.

Chrome plated over steel looks amazing when new, but when a chrome bumper is dented the plating will likely lift off. Aluminum can also be polished to a brilliant shine, but it’s not as tough as stainless-steel. What Fire Departments want on their trucks are highly polished stainless steel bumpers, and that’s what ASI gives them.

People joke about polishing something until you can see your face in it. Well when we’re done polishing stainless you really can. In fact the mirrors in our restrooms are polished stainless and not glass. (Call in for a look when you’re passing, but call ahead so we’ll be ready for you!)

Achieving that shine is both art and skill. We start out by removing high points on the metal surface with black sisal polishing wheels and a black sisal compound. Then we step up to a special yellow polishing wheel with a green compound for buffing. Yes, it takes time, but so does everything worthwhile. And that’s how our bumpers get their mirror-like shine.

Durability and More

Manufacturers of fire trucks and emergency vehicles love our bumpers, and it’s not just because of the shine. In fact we can give you five reasons OEM manufacturers purchase from ASI. No, we’re not going to list them here. Click the link to find out what they are.

6 reasons + 2

At the top of this post we referred to the original 6 reasons to “Put an ASI Bumper on Your Vehicle” and we said there are at least two more. The original 6 were:

  1. Precise Engineering
  2. Price
  3. Pre-Production Proofing
  4. “Wrinkle-Free” Forming
  5. Delivery
  6. Shape Verification

So what are the two additional reasons for using ASI bumpers? Well we’d add:

  1. Metal-forming expertise. (Not everyone knows how to bend stainless-steel, but we do.)
  2. Our commitment to Quality


Bring us Your Fabrication Challenges

If you are in a business or industry that requires the highest quality emergency vehicle bumpers, contact us to learn more.

However, the reality is that many of you reading this will never have a need for fire engine bumpers, highly polished or otherwise. But you may have an idea or a need for a product or part that can be created using similar processes. Perhaps you are involved in creating a new product or technology and need some manufacturing expertise. Maybe there’s an idea that you’ve dismissed because you didn’t have the expertise on the fabrication side. Our Avionic Structures division may offer those solutions.

Consider this your invitation to contact us to discuss the possibilities. We believe that creativity, hard work, knowledge and manufacturing capabilities have played a large role in the building of our company and of our country. We are doing our part to make sure it stays that way. New ideas and concepts are the foundation.

Our engineers love creating new “things”. They enjoy looking at problems from new angles and building solutions that work for our customers. We are always in search of ideas and partners to move projects and products forward. Perhaps that includes you or your company. What are your ideas? Feel free to share them by contacting us directly at Wiley Metal and our Avionic Structures Inc. division.