Touchscreen Usage on the Rise

How often are you using a touchscreen? The answer may shock you! According to Tubular Insights, 87 percent of millennials are never without their smartphones, but they also use an average of three screens a day and 92 percent of them actively browse on second screens such as smartphones and other mobile devices while watching TV programs¹. This goes to show just how much touchscreens have become a part of our everyday life, especially for younger generations. So what affect is this having on businesses?

One of the latest trends within the touchscreen industry is stores and fast-food restaurants going to touchscreen kiosks. Macy’s, a department store with locations throughout the United States, has implemented kiosks in order to limit in-store inventory and provide an “endless aisle” experience over all the stores product lines. This is advantageous since they’re mainly located in malls with limited space for inventory. Fast-food restaurants, such as McDonald’s, Panera Bread and Wendy’s have also gone a similar route by having customers in certain cities order using touchscreen kiosks. This process of ordering has lowered the average amount of time per order and allowed for employees, who used to take orders, to be moved into customer service roles, which involve waiting tables and helping customers place their orders.

With this advancement in technology, businesses that incorporate touchscreen kiosks into their customer buying experience are able to see the following benefits –

  1. Reduction in costs
  2. Improvement in efficiency
  3. Enhanced customer service
  4. Improved buying experience
  5. Increased sales

How does Wilson-Hurd fit in? We are a company that strives on innovation and providing our customers with industry leading products and service. In a time when touchscreens are becoming a major part of many businesses, wouldn’t you want a product that stands out from your competitors?

Capacitive Touchscreen IllustrationRGB


Resistive Touchscreen Illustration


For our touchscreen product line, Wilson-Hurd provides both capacitive and resistive touchscreens that can be incorporated into several design options. We specialize in providing custom built products that are engineered to meet your customers’ specific needs. One advantage Wilson-Hurd provides is having the capability to incorporate touchscreens within our switching technologies, including membrane or capacitive. This allows keypads, keyboards and other product specific buttons to be incorporated along with a touchscreen. For a more in-depth look at our touchscreen offerings visit Wilson-Hurd’s touchscreen products page.

  1. Steinberg, S. (2017, February 16). Second-screen experiences: The future of media consumption. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from

How To Select the Optimum Touchscreen Technology For Your Organization

The use of touchscreen technology is booming in this day and age, and for good reason. Companies across a broad spectrum of industries have successfully harnessed the power of touch for a wide variety of implementations after having realized the value touchscreens could bring to employees and customers alike. Touchscreens can allow for better customer service, thus producing an influx in sales, as well as provide a surge in productivity by employees controlling an industrial process.

If you are considering implementing touchscreens within your company, you must first determine the differences between the two types, resistive and capacitive. Due to the manner and conditions in which the touchscreen will be utilized, you will want to identify which form of the device will better suit your needs. So how do resistive and capacitive touchscreens differ?

Resistive Touchscreen 

The resistive touchscreen is the prevalent form of touchscreen, and, as the name indicates, it relies on resistance to work. It is constructed using two clear layers, such as glass or acrylic substrate, separated by a thin gap. The inside of these two layers are coated in a conductive material, so when the two layers are pressed together, a voltage is passed between them, which produces an accurate measure of where the touch was made on the screen.

Resistive touch screen pic- Matching


Capacitive Touchscreen

Surprisingly, capacitive touchscreens were developed prior to the resistive touchscreen. A capacitive touchscreen consists of two spaced layers as well, also coated with a conductor.  Voltage is applied to the corners of a capacitive touchscreen and distributed by a pattern of electrodes located around the touchscreen’s perimeter, which creates a uniform electric field across the conductive surface.  When a conductive object, such as a finger, makes contact with the screen, a small amount of current is drawn from the surface changing the capacitance and allowing for the touch to be registered in that precise location.

So why is it important to know the difference between resistive and capacitive touchscreens? Well, it is due to the fact that the differences in how they work create variances in how they perform and in what manner they must be used in order to work properly. Depending on the differing situations and environments where the touchscreen will operate, one type may be the better option over the other.

So let’s reflect on the distinction between resistive as well as capacitive touchscreens in order to uncover which of the two types may ultimately be the most advantageous for you and your business.

Reasons one may prefer Resistive to Capacitive:

  • Resistive touchscreen technology is more affordable than that of the capacitive touchscreen alternative
  • Resistive touchscreens have higher resolution (4096 x 4096 DPI or higher), providing more accurate touch control
  • Unlike capacitive touchscreens, resistive touchscreen technology can detect a touch by fingers as well as other non-conductive materials such as a stylus or gloved fingers
  • Resistive touchscreens provide higher resistance to water and dust
  • Resistive touchscreens are not affected by Electromagnetic Interference, whereas capacitive touchscreens are susceptible to EMI
  • Due to the fact that capacitive touchscreens are made with a glass panel, they are more likely to require an anti-glare or an anti-reflective coating than a resistive screen if it is to be used in a brightly lit area
  • Resistive touchscreens are the better suited technology for handwriting recognition than the capacitive option

Reasons one may choose the Capacitive option to the Resistive:

  • No physical pressure is required when using capacitive touchscreen technology
  • Capacitive touchscreens are more responsive to touch than a resistive screen
  • Capactive touchscreens support multi-touch
  • Capacitive touchscreens are easier to clean
  • Capacitive touchscreens provide higher resistance to scratches and impacts and, overall, tend to be more durable than its resistive counterpart
  • About 90% of light is transmitted from the display monitor of a capacitive touchscreen, causing better contrast and clarity than resistive touchscreens, which transmit only 75% of light from the display monitor
  • The display on a capacitive touchscreen looks brighter and sharper than the resistive option since the capacitive monitors use a layer of glass rather than plastic
  • Capacitive touchscreens do not require occasional recalibration which is necessary for some resistive touchscreens


All in all, you will find that either type of touchscreen enhances and simplifies the user experience, but knowing the difference in the two versions will allow you to determine which is best suited for your particular application. In doing so, you are sure to come away with the touchscreen that will optimize capability as well as productivity when in use.

As might be expected, even when keeping all of the factors which we just covered in mind, there are still other concerns that may come into play when considering your distinct touchscreen needs. With the numerous ways that touchscreens can play a role in day-to-day tasks, it is always in your best interest to consult with your manufacturer for proposals and solutions to the challenges that you may specifically face with touchscreen utilization. Together, we are likely to come up with an appropriate custom touchscreen design to maximize efficiency, affordability, and effectiveness for you.

If you would like to learn more about Wilson Hurd’s Touchscreen division, please visit our website at You may also request a quote or sample, as well as download a free brochure detailing more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities.

Copyright © 2016 Wilson Hurd, All rights reserved.

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311 Winton St.
Wausau, WI 54402

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Laser Cutting vs. Die-Cutting

Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels

If you are in the nameplate business, you have probably heard the terms laser cutting or die-cutting before, but do you know when one cutting technology should be utilized over the other? Each method of cutting possesses its own set of advantages depending on the project.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a form of cutting that utilizes a CO2 laser as a cost-effective alternative to steel rule die-cutting. Due to the narrowness of the laser beam, cutting with a laser can provide improved precision, and is a good choice to use for projects that require small and/or detailed cuts. The laser cuts all the way through the material, dropping out all internal cuts. Another benefit of laser cutting is the fact that the zone affected by heat is quite small compared to using die-cutting, which decreases the chance of the material warping where it is being cut.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.


Die-cutting requires die tooling which consists of cutting blades embedded in a wooden base surrounded by rubber cushions. Outside shapes and interior holes can then be die-cut in a single stroke. Hard tools (also known as Class A Tools) perform the same process; however they are made out of a harder steel and consist of both male and female tools. This results in a tighter tolerance and an extended tool life that can last millions of strikes before needing to be replaced. One area where die-cutting outperforms laser cutting is the quantity and speed at which it can cut materials. Since a die is able to cut multiple areas in a single stroke, it is able to perform at a much faster rate than a laser cutting machine.

While each form of cutting has its own list of pros and cons, ultimately the one you decide to go with depends on the specific product being cut. Always make sure to ask your manufacturer for their recommendation, and if cost is a factor be sure to take initial tooling charges into account when making your decision.

If you would like to learn more about Wilson-Hurd’s Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels division and our printing and fabrication capabilities, please visit our website at, or fill out and submit the form below:

Wilson-Hurd, founded in 1904, offers custom printing, fabricating, and electronic manufacturing services specializing in Electronic Control Products, Printed Electronics, POP Displays, Medical Contract Manufacturing, and Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels.

Designing a Touchscreen: Where to Begin

Touchscreens are gaining popularity with manufacturers as an alternative to other switching technologies, and it is easy to see why. When it comes to user interfaces, touchscreens have successfully changed the way electronic equipment is used by simplifying the user experience and eliminating the need for buttons or keys. If you are considering incorporating a touchscreen into the design of your product, there are key items that you should consider.

First you should understand the difference between a resistive touchscreen and a capacitive touchscreen.

Resistive TouchscreenResistive Touchscreen Illustration

A resistive touchscreen is constructed using two clear conductive layers (typically a glass or acrylic substrate and a polyester top sheet) that are separated by insulating dots. When the user touches the screen and compresses the top flexible layer, electrical contact occurs between the top and bottom layer.

Capacitive TouchscreenCapacitive Touchscreen IllustrationRGB

Voltage is applied to the corners of a capacitive touchscreen and distributed by a pattern of electrodes located around the touchscreen periphery. This creates a uniform electric field across the conductive surface. When the user touches the screen with a conductive object (such as their finger), they are drawing a minute amount of current from the surface. This change in capacitance is measured at each point on the touchscreen allowing the touch position to be located.

Before you actually sit down and design your touchscreen, there are at least four main considerations you need to take into account:

  1. Environmental conditions
  2. Software requirements
  3. Firmware requirements
  4. Appearance

These will help you determine the materials and types of technology to utilize in your touchscreen. For each consideration there are a number of questions you will need to ask yourself:

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Four Benefits in Selecting a Contract Manufacturer For Your Medical Device

Hydrogel 2The decision between hiring a contract manufacturer or leaving the production up to your company may seem daunting. There are many factors to consider. Do you have the resources? The skills? The tools? Do you have a compliant manufacturing quality system? Leaving these tasks up to your company may be too much to handle. That’s why choosing a contract manufacturer may be the best decision for developing your medical devices. Here are some reasons why.

The Benefits

Cost Savings

  • Companies do not have to expend capital on facilities and systems.
  • Money can be saved on labor costs such as wages, training and benefits
  • Contract manufacturers may offer cost advantages such as in acquiring raw materials


  • Contract manufacturers utilize professionals experienced in design and development of all manufacturing processes
  • Experts use their knowledge to assist companies in selecting the right materials and tools for the product
  • Products are manufactured at a much faster rate

Hydrogel 1

Business Focus

  • Companies will focus on their core competencies once they hand the manufacturing of the device over to an outside source
  • Time can be saved on training or hiring of extra employees
  • Responsibility of project production can be placed on the professionals with years of experience

FDA Compliance

  • Guarantees the manufacturer meets all production standards and regulations for producing medical devices
  • ISO 13485 certification establishes a manufacturer’s credibility and commitment to quality
  • Emphasizes the cleanliness and safeness in the production area


Still wondering if contract manufacturing is right for you? Contact us and we can further discuss how Wilson-Hurd can help with your medical device!

About Wilson-Hurd:  Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing specializes in the production of custom electronic control products, medical contract manufacturing, printed electronics, as well as nameplates & dials, overlays, and panels. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at

Making Your Point-of-Purchase Display Shine with Custom Illumination

Want to outshine the competition? There are various illumination and backlighting techniques that you can use to highlight your product, and develop an eye-catching point-of-purchase display.  The richly colored glow of your display will turn customers’ heads even from across the room.

Let’s Explore the Possibilities

Think of every time you have purchased something in a dimly lit area. Maybe it was having a drink with a colleague during happy hour, or perhaps grabbing a bag of popcorn and a drink at the cinema concession stand before going to see the latest blockbuster? Possibly you hit the jackpot while playing slots at the casino? Every time the lights are low is a time for your product to shine. The possibilities are endless.

Monster Game Full Shot Smaller

Speaking of endless possibilities: why limit illumination to dimly lit spaces? Creative lighting could also be used to feature cosmetics and fragrances. Imagine walking into a space that feels clean and crisp. Using bright white LEDs under white acrylic with custom trim will make your product look flawless. Illumination can be used to highlight the characteristics of your product that you want customers to notice most, or it can be used to set the overall tone and feel of your unique brand. This can be accomplished by creating backlit signage, glorifiers, or something completely different that hasn’t yet been thought of.

Backlit signage can be created with very intricate detailing by using digital, screen, and litho printing techniques. This especially becomes important if your sign requires thin font types. Advanced printing technology & attention to detail is required to create sharp lines within the signage to create well-defined edges between colors.

Miller 4 - Small

Check out that high quality printing ↑

Bottle glorifiers are another great use of illumination. If your brand has a beautifully designed bottle, why not show it off? By lighting a bottle from below, the fine detailing of the packaging design will be highlighted by a vibrant glow.

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Types of lighting and illumination include LEDs, fiber-optics, or light-guide film. LEDs are the most popular choice, and are perfect for the environmentally conscious. They are generally available in a multitude of colors and provide a bright, intense light while utilizing a small amount of energy. Light-guide film is a newer lighting technology that uses LEDs to create a solid film of light. Light-guide film is a good choice if you are looking to light a large area uniformly without any hot spots.

Have additional backlighting and illumination questions? Let us know! We would be happy to help you on your next point-of-purchase project. Don’t worry if technical details are not your specialty… our team of engineers will easily handle those details for you. Just give us your ideas, and our engineering team will develop a solution that is sure to stand out.

About Wilson-Hurd:  Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing specializes in the production of custom electronic control products including membrane switches, capacitive switches, PiezoPanels, elastomeric keypads, point-of-purchase displays, medical contract manufacturing, printed electronics, nameplates, panels, dials, and overlays. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at

Press Release: Wilson-Hurd Receives ISO 13485:2012 Certification

Wausau, Wisconsin: Wilson-Hurd is pleased to announce its Medical Contract Manufacturing plant in Berlin, Wisconsin has received the ISO 13485:2012 certification. The certification is valid through July 3, 2017.  The ISO 13485:2012 certification ensures a quality management system is in place for the design and manufacturing of medical devices.

Chris Weed, Quality Systems Manager, stated, “This certification is a key milestone for Wilson-Hurd. It will help our customers be assured that we have the systems in place to meet their requirements, and the requirements of the FDA.”

Wilson-Hurd is devoted to manufacturing quality products in order to be the most respected provider in the markets served by consistently delivering solutions that yield exceptional value.

About Wilson-Hurd:  Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing specializes in the production of custom electronic control products including membrane switches, capacitive switches, PiezoPanels, elastomeric keypads, point-of-purchase displays, medical contract manufacturing, printed electronics, nameplates, panels, dials, and overlays. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

Media Contact: Toni Laurich ● Wilson-Hurd Mfg. Co. ● 715-845-9221 ●

Printed Electronics: Endless Possibilities for Innovation

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you use something electronic in a day? Electronics have become a staple in people’s lives all over the globe, allowing us to communicate instantly with one another, make purchases online or in a store, and even get from Point A to Point B.

A great deal of engineering & design work can go into making these electronics, as well as complicated manufacturing processes. Thanks to advances in technology electronics are getting easier and cheaper to manufacture. One of the most efficient new manufacturing methods is the ability to print an entire electrical device on various substrates, a process resulting in Printed Electronics. Before we get into how these flexible devices can benefit you & your company, let’s first explain how they work.

What are Printed Electronics?

Various printing methods can be used to deposit electrically functional & optical inks onto a substrate. The inks can be deposited in any pattern to suit the type of application it is being made for. The result is a fully functional electronic device that can be thin & flexible, or more durable depending on what it’s for. Widths of traces can vary from super fine to broad.

Materials used for printed electronics can include polyester, polycarbonate, polyimide, and FR-4. Substrates can then be coated to protect the printed pattern. Top-performing inks, coatings, & plating include:

  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel
  • Gold
  • Silver/Carbon

The printed electronic devices can then be molded, cut (laser or die), or formed into any required shape.

Printed Electronics Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

What are the Advantages?

The versatility of printed electronics is a huge draw for all manufacturers and markets. Some common applications for printed electronics include:

  • Antennas (VHF, UHF, RF)
    • Digital TV
    • Wireless
    • Security
  • Disposable Medical Items
  • Flexible Circuits
  • Flexible Pressure & Temperature Sensors
  • Automotive Embedded Circuits
  • Contour-Shaped Products
  • Printed Memory & Batteries
  • Wearable Technology

Printed electronics have also been used for flexible displays, animated posters, smart labels, and even clothing. When you start to think about what could be done in the future with printed electronics and all the different uses that they could serve, a multitude of possibilities open up.

While versatility is one huge benefit of printed electronics, another is low-cost volume fabrication. With the ability to create more electronic devices at a lower cost to you, it is a win-win situation. Some companies have even started to develop disposable printed electronics specifically for the medical industry where sterilization is always a concern. Patients can use the electronic device, and then dispose of it when they are done with it, something you wouldn’t want to do with an expensive circuit board.

Printed Electronics 3 Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

What are the Possibilities?

Every day scientists and engineers are coming up with innovative new ways that printed electronics can be used in all kinds of applications. It could be that someday instead of having to visit your doctor for a check-up, you put on a disposable monitor that can send your health information straight to your doctor’s office over the internet.

Perhaps someday we’ll be able to wear workout clothing that can monitor your heart rate, distance, & number of calories burned during a run, or maybe we’ll be able to wear a t-shirt that uses solar activity to charge our cell phone.

There are an infinite amount of possibilities; your next step is discovering what printed electronics can do for you.

Printed Electronics 1 Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing specializes in the production of custom electronic control products, printed electronics, contract medical manufacturing, point-of-purchase displays, and metal & plastic nameplates, overlays, dials & panels. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at


A Look at Wilson-Hurd’s Metal & Plastic Printing & Fabrication Division: 86 Years in the Making

It’s incredible how much a company can change in 110 years, and while many things at Wilson-Hurd have changed, our goal to supply customers with quality products has always remained the same. In 1928, 24 years after Wilson-Hurd was founded, the company began to print and fabricate aluminum nameplates. Now 86 years later, Wilson-Hurd’s Metal & Plastic Printing & Fabrication division is still going strong.

Berlin, WI Plant

High Volume Manufacturing Plant – Berlin, WI

Our ISO certified Metal & Plastic division located in Berlin, Wisconsin offers a multitude of capabilities to provide customers with custom nameplates, dials, graphic overlays, fabricated panels & enclosures, and decorative trim. Product enhancements include embossing, selective texturing, colored LED windows, hard-coating, doming, and much more.  The list of our available materials has grown as well in 86 years to include:

  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Brass
  • Cold-Rolled Steel

With so many customization options and possible combinations available, no two customer’s projects are ever the same.

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One of the great benefits of being in business for so many years is the continuing development of customer relationships. Wilson-Hurd has many customers from a variety of markets including industrial controls, flow controls, automotive and consumer electronics, some of which have been loyal customers for decades. We know these customers wouldn’t be sticking around if we weren’t doing something right. The quality of our products has been a huge priority from the very beginning, not only in our Printing & Fabrication division, but also in our POP, Electronic Control Product, and Medical Contract Manufacturing division. Vice President of Operations, Peter Dehne, expands on why customers keep coming back to Wilson-Hurd. “During my 13 years with Wilson-Hurd, I have been most impressed with our attention to the customer,” recalls Dehne. “In the challenging world of custom manufacturing, it can be difficult for a customer to find a reliable, consistent and responsive manufacturer. We pride ourselves in our willingness to address a situation with every resource at our disposal, making it as transparent to our customer as possible.” As a testament to Wilson-Hurd’s outstanding quality, Elster American Meter LLC recently informed us that we had produced almost 4.5 million parts for them with zero defects! That many parts with zero defects is an incredible feat, and we are more than happy to be able to make our customer’s production process that much easier.

While Wilson-Hurd has been a stable presence in the manufacturing world for many years, new and exciting technologies are being developed and we are always motivated to take on the next challenge. Wilson-Hurd today, is very different compared to the Wilson-Hurd of 1904. Can you imagine what the Wilson-Hurd of the future will be like? One thing we can promise is that whatever the project may be 100 years from now, it will still include the same Wilson-Hurd quality we provide today, as well as centuries’ worth of manufacturing experience to back it up.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at

Wilson-Hurd Helps ETC Light Up the Stage

The collaborative effort between Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) and Wilson-Hurd is the key to the success of ETC’s CEM3 project.

It’s possible you may have never heard of them, but chances are you have seen ETC’s work. Electronic Theatre Controls, based out of Middleton, WI, currently provides quality products to the following markets; entertainment lighting, specified architectural lighting, and industrial weighing and measuring. You could have seen their products lighting up the stage at the National Theatre in London, or maybe at the Guangzhou Opera House in China, or the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Or perhaps you saw their work gracing the outside walls of the new Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, or climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. ETC has lighted up stages, artwork installations, and architecture all across the globe, and we at Wilson-Hurd have been honored to work with them on a number of projects, including ETC’s own CEM3 system.

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The CEM3 system was designed by ETC to help reduce setup time, simplify system backups, and make the process of networking a lighting system run as smoothly as possible. The CEM3 platform provides a simple and risk-free way to control lighting on stages and touring events.

Wilson-Hurd’s engineering team was able to brainstorm and combine the most effective manufacturing capabilities to give the CEM3 system these key features:

  • Capacitive touch wheel for precise lighting controls
  • Extremely tight color control using digital/screen printed combination of graphics
  • Adjustable backlit keys and LEDs for easy viewing in dark control rooms
  • Precisely embossed keys provide explicit snap action key response
  • Assembly of the keypad to powdered coated metal backpanel

“By closely working with Electronic Theatre’s design/engineering team, the Wilson-Hurd team developed a cost effective controller produced in Wisconsin.” says Dan O’Connell, Western Sales Director for Wilson-Hurd. “Our high quality digital press combined with our screen printing expertise produced a high end graphic for this capacitive touch controller.” adds O’Connell. According to Tom Steer, Product Manager at ETC, these product features are what really make a difference backstage, stating “The integrated backlighting (invaluable backstage), numeric keypad and touch wheel have vastly improved the user experience for customers working with our dimming systems, while the cast metal user interface gives the product the robustness it needs to cope with life in the field.” A difference made backstage, can make all the difference onstage.

For more videos from ETC, visit their Youtube channel here.

For more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities, please contact us at 800-950-5013 or visit our website at