Selected articles from February 2006 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
BCI Burke, Fond du Lac, Wis., is the oldest playground and park and recreation equipment manufacturer in the country. As the company grew and its product offerings and colors multiplied, it found it needed to address problems with long leadtimes. Burke looked at every possibility for improvement, including processes improvements, inventory organization, manufacturing equipment purchases, and personnel productivity improvements, including crosstraining.
When you price out your bid, you get to be the expert - but that also means a lot of responsibility. Learn what you need to know to price out your bid to the federal government.
H. Meeuwsen B.V., a fabricator in Yerseke, Netherlands, found that purchasing a laser that could handle parts up to 12 m long greatly enhanced its capabilities. It augmented this purchase with a tandem press brake. One side of the brake has an 8-m capacity; the other has a 4-m capacity. This gives the company the ability to bend 12-m parts, if necessary, or to run the two brakes simultaneously for smaller items. Subsequent growth in customer demand led the company to consider purchasing a second laser. A careful analysis revealed that the company could do just fine with a smaller laser, so it purchased a laser with a 3-m capacity.
In January 2006, a new 13 SEER mandate for appliancemakers takes effect. Although it isn't the only thing driving change in manufacturers' product designs, it is providing a springboard for manufacturers to make changes in their products that will help meet increasing customer demands.
Major technology shifts in how stamping presses are fed have allowed press feed technology to evolve, enabling stampers to realize increased processing speeds, improved processing flexibility, easier setup, and better quality and reliability. Even with today's advancements, a press feed must meet three basic and important criteria to be successful: Setup must be flexible. It must deliver the material with sufficient precision into the tool and die. It must feed at the correct time. Advancements in feed technology include pilot release, space-saving line configurations, transfer/progressive operations, and scratch-free processing.
Magnetic soft-belt conveyors can feed presses and transport parts from one workstation to another or from production to inspection, storage, or packaging operations. If you work with ferrous metal coils or sheets, a magnetic system may help improve plant efficiency, safety and reduce costs.
No matter how you start up your own job shop, it takes a delicate balance to become - and remain - successful. Profitability certainly helps, but so do flexibility and diversification.
Stampers face increasing pressure, from external and internal customers, every day. This, combined with increasing responsibilities, can cause production personnel to feel overwhelmed. Long die changeovers gobble up precious time that could be used for better purposes, leaving many production teams operating in a firefighting mode. Doing a thorough time study and using the results to eliminate time-wasting steps is the first step in implementing quick die change, freeing up some time for value-added activities, and getting control over your production processes.
Simplicity Manufacturing Inc. of Port Washington, Wis., needed new press brakes because it was about to increase its laser cutting capacity. The outdoor power equipment manufacturer turned to a vendor of Turkish-built press brakes for help and found the answer for which they were looking.
With the recent increases in gasoline and natural gas prices, more attention than ever is focused on alternative energy sources. One fabricator, Aerisyn LLC, investigated manufacturing towers for use in the wind power industry. To produce towers efficiently enough to compete against imports from Asia, Aerisyn relied on an equipment vendor that had experience in demanding fields such as aerospace, nuclear, and wind power.
The average employee no longer stays with the same company until retirement. Some change jobs frequently. Job hopping can pose problems for both employees and employers. When workers pursue jobs that are good fits for their skills and interests, and when employers strive to meet these workers' most important needs, everyone wins.
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