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News > Case Studies > Shorter lead times, better tooling improve productivity for Ariens Company.

Shorter lead times, better tooling improve productivity for Ariens Company.

Ariens® Company in Brillion, Wis. developed the first American-made rotary tiller in 1933. Today, Ariens is a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment for consumer and professional use, including such well-known brands as Ariens Sno-Thro® snow blowers and Ariens lawn and garden products for consumers, and Gravely® zero-turn mowers for commercial use.

April 1, 2013

Ariens employs more than 1,500 people worldwide, including a dynamic tool and die department that employs more than 25 tool and die makers with nearly 600 years of cumulative experience.

The company does a lot of stamping and operates some of the largest stamping presses (up to 2,000 ton capacity) in the Midwest.

For decades, Ariens was loyal to a single tooling provider for its stamping operations, until about 12 years ago when delivery issue became too common to ignore. 

“The Ariens Company switched to Wilson Tool’s Impax® Tooling Solutions brand in our stamping operations 12 years ago, after using a competitor’s line of punches for decades,” said Jerry Schuh, tooling manager for Ariens. “We are extremely pleased with the results we have seen in our stamping operations, as the durability of the Impax line has proven to be superior to their competitors.”

According to Schuh, who has been the tooling manager for Ariens for the past 15 years, the prices of Wilson Tool’s Impax Tooling Solutions brand were competitive and the delivery has been excellent.

“Despite the fact that I’m probably 250 miles away, if I order a standard punch early enough in the day, I’ll have the punch in-hand the very next day or two days at the max without having to request any special rushes,” said Schuh.

The quality of the tooling is also an important consideration. Higher quality tooling reduces the frequency and duration of downtime for either sharpening or replacing punches.

“Because of the quality of Wilson Tool’s tooling and coatings, we’ve seen our tool life between sharpening increase by about 300 percent,” said Schuh. “It’s been incredible. We’ve been able to make a lot more hits before having to sharpen tools. And that’s a big deal when our assembly line downtime costs about $100,000 an hour.”

Impax Tooling Solutions provides Ariens with a wide range of standard punch products as well as custom specials when the company’s engineers come up with unusual shapes.

Although Ariens could produce these special shapes in-house with wire EDM, it has proven more cost effective to order specials from Impax Tooling Solutions.

“They make it very easy. All we do is send them a CAD model and within 24 hours we’ll get a very accurate quote on what it will take to produce that special,” said Schuh. “They do a nice job turning them around quickly and the punch we get is stronger than anything we could make here.”

From standard shapes to custom specials, the Impax Tooling Solutions division of Wilson Tool delivers greater durability and shorter lead times to help Ariens Company be more productive.

“The customer service is also excellent. The staff at the Impax sales desk has proven to be remarkably helpful and extremely resourceful in their dealings with Ariens,” said Schuh. “Wilson Tool has been a very good partner for us.”

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