CLIENT: Harley Davidson
PROJECT: Transfer of Top Plate part from old supplier to Ultra
DATES: June 2009 – Jan 2010
Challenge: Renowned motorcycle manufacturer, Harley Davidson, relies on the stability and efficiency of their suppliers to keep production lines running. When the supplier of their Top Plate Assembly went out of business, leaving them with a diminishing inventory bank, they were in need of a new, qualified supplier that could transfer the part’s production quickly and smoothly. With three different assemblies, each one comprised of six components and five operations, the swift transfer of the part was no small task.
Execution: The clock was ticking when Ultra Tool and Manufacturing was awarded the job. Although production couldn’t start until the equipment arrived, communication and planning in the meantime were essential. A project manager was assigned to the project as a direct point of contact with the customer. In turn, the manager assembled a cross-departmental team that met daily to asses the part’s current production process and to create a timeline of activities necessary to meet the short lead time.
Open lines of communication both in-house and with the customer allowed the team to address problems quickly before production started. When the tools and materials arrived, Ultra Tool had 6 weeks to modify and improve the tooling and to get them running in the press and producing parts to print.
Through their detailed and regimented approach, Ultra Tool beat their own timeline projections by delivering all three assemblies a week or more ahead of schedule. In addition, their careful analysis of the production process allowed them to manufacture a higher quality part at a lower price.
PROJECT: Streamline production using in die capabilities
DATES: June 2007 – present
Challenge: While doing a routine quote for HydraForce, our sales team rooted out a production weak spot that, once resolved, would bring $.70 cents savings per part. Our sales engineer’s design completely eliminated a secondary machining operation in the production of HydraForce’s solenoid on/off valve by incorporating it into the die itself using a complex coining process.
The Illinois-based producer of hydraulic cartridge valves was bringing the part’s production back from China, and found the prospect of an innovative cost cutting solution enticing. However, the die’s design was unconventional and deemed an impossibility by other shops.
Undeterred by skepticism, our sales team stood by their design, eventually persuading HydraForce to give it a chance.
Execution: Competitors told HydraForce that the money saved by combining the processes would be outweighed by the costs of maintaining the tool and the press. Our sales team, tool makers themselves, knew that the pressmen and maintenance tool men have the patience and the experience necessary to continuously tweak and nudge the die to a level of perfection.
“By making slight modifications to the geometry of the working parts of this die, the tool room was able to greatly reduce the force required, resulting in a better running die and reduced maintenance costs and press down time.” said Matt Schemelin. Truly making this project a team effort.
Result: In three years the elimination of the separate machining process has saved HydraForce $81,000. Their success with our experience and innovative production solutions has led them to send other ‘problem projects’ our way. In the end it is the combination and collaboration of our knowledgeable sales team, in house tooling, and experienced production crew that gives us the flexibility and the depth to tackle our customers’ biggest problems.