New fabrication shop thwarts part interference and lead-time challenges with custom tooling | Wilson Tool
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News > Case Studies > New fabrication shop thwarts part interference and lead-time challenges with custom tooling

New fabrication shop thwarts part interference and lead-time challenges with custom tooling

Jemison Metals has been around the manufacturing industry for a long time. But when the Alabama-based manufacturer opened a brand new fabrication division, the plant faced timing and tooling challenges

December 28, 2015

Jemison Metals has been around the manufacturing industry for a long time. But when the Alabama-based manufacturer opened a brand new fabrication division, the plant faced timing and tooling challenges when they first began taking orders and sending out bids.
 
“We started our fabrication shop from scratch,” said John Foster, director of operations at Jemison Metals. “With this new division, we started from zero, so every order was urgent. When we were awarded a bid, I would have to turn around and place a rush tooling order to meet the deadline.”
 
As a leading supplier of carbon flat-rolled products, Jemison normally required standard tooling for many of the urgent jobs, which made the last-minute tooling orders easier to handle. Other jobs, however, required custom tooling to solve more complicated fabrication challenges.
 
“For a particular part run, we had a family of parts that was presented to us, and the style of tooling was very old school,” Foster said. “It was a long, straight knife punch and it produced part interference when it formed the last leg of the part.”
 
The parts that Jemison manufactured for this particular job would ultimately end up as part of industrial truck assemblies, and each part weighed approximately 300 – 400 pounds. Built as the main brace of the truck bed, the weight of the parts alone caused significant challenges for machining the part, including tooling and machine damage.
 
Facing accurate part formation challenges, as well as risking damage to the tooling and the entire machine, Foster worked with Minnesota-based Wilson Tool to create a custom gooseneck that helped properly form the massive part and minimized the risk for damage.
 
“We worked together to design and manufacture a custom gooseneck for the job,” Foster said. “This thing is a monster – it’s made up of six, 4-foot sections that are 18 inches deep. It’s designed so that when the last element of the part is formed, the entire part comes down through the gooseneck to avoid the problematic part interference.”
 
As well as the gooseneck, the tooling company machined forklift slots into every section of the gooseneck, so fabrication workers could load the tooling using a forklift and hold it into place while clamping it into the machine.
 
“We didn’t even ask Wilson Tool to add in the forklift slots,” Foster said. “That was just their foresight into making our jobs easier, which made a tremendous difference.”
 
Foster added that he and his team at Jemison weren’t the only ones who were pleased with the results. The truck manufacturer – Jemison’s customer – toured the plant and observed the part fabrication process and watched the high-volume, heavy part run and were just as satisfied with the plant’s manufacturing efficiencies and final outcome.
 
“This is a fairly high-volume run,” Foster said. “There is a lot of skill involved because these are heavy parts and there is a lot of money tied up in it, so our customer wanted to make sure things were running according to plan. The head of our customer’s quality division and the head of their operations were both thoroughly impressed that we figured out a better way to make more accurate parts.”
 
With the new fabrication division up and running for just less than a year, Jemison Metals has built a tooling library complete with standard and custom tooling with the help of Wilson Tool. With this library and tooling partnership, have the tools and resources to face new challenges and new fabrication projects.
 
“When I call the tooling company and tell them about a particular job, the engineers and designers let me know the kind of tooling I need or come back with better options,” Foster said. “The options they provide may be less costly, or they may be more costly, but I know they always have our best interests in mind as well as that of our customers.”
 
 
 

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