Along with the install of the new Python robotic beamline in the Grunau Metals Shop during the autumn of 2016, the Metals team made a major change in the way one of their most popular products, metal railings, are made. During a 5S event years ago in the metal railings area, many discussions occurred on how to improve the process. The team never lost sight of the objective and as new technology surfaced, different experiments took place. They finally landed on this latest way to improve the fabrication process.
Laser Focus Technology
Late November marked the culmination of research, installation, training, integration, and implementation of a Virtek LTG system. LTG stands for “Laser Template Generator” and it does just that. Taking files directly from our detailing department, the software visually projects the drawing to scale directly onto our 6’x40’ fixture table. This eliminated hand layouts and time consuming double-checks.
On average, layout could account for 50-75% of the hours needed for fabrication. Therefore this was clearly an area of focus. Along with the laser, we eliminated the use of angle “clips” and instead switched to magnets. Magswitch Technology, Inc. has a variety of very powerful manual electromagnets. The magnets allowed us to eliminate welding and grinding the table surface, minimizing the table flatness, and reducing exposure to potential injury. Though still in the early stages, we also noticed significant time savings and a few new uses for that area.
This new equipment and process change moves us further into the era where technology is an asset. It helps us get in front of the competition and eliminates waste. The Grunau Metals detailing department had already been drawing with a program capable of these file outputs. With their hard work and assistance, we were able to make the necessary changes and be in production within the week of install.
We are proud of the changes that have been made to ensure our strength in the market.