WIL­WOOD BRINGS TYPE III MIL­I­TARY-SPEC HARD AN­ODIZ­ING HOME

Street Trucks - - TECH -

fin­ish­ing com­pa­nies that we’ve worked with in the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia area.

What was the driv­ing force that made the com­pany want to elim­i­nate out­sourc­ing by bring­ing the an­odize process in-house?

Qual­ity con­trol was key in mak­ing this de­ci­sion. It’s so dif­fi­cult to con­trol the tight tol­er­ances that we have on our pis­tons and bore in­ter­face. By bring­ing the hard-an­odize process in-house, we’re work­ing hand in hand with the ma­chin­ing end of the process, so the fin­ish­ing and the ma­chin­ing are on the same team. There’s no fin­ger-point­ing now, and we’ve re­ally di­aled in our tol­er­ances.

Also, if I’m pos­i­tive of the num­bers—and par­don me if I’m mis­taken—but we are do­ing close to 100,000 sets of calipers a year, and it’s so tough get­ting those shipped around the area and brought back in. The lo­gis­tics we were faced with be­fore were a night­mare.

We can only imag­ine that headache. Now you guys can keep a closer watch on the prod­ucts from start to fin­ish, right?

The neat thing about do­ing ev­ery­thing in-house now is that when we man­u­fac­ture a brake caliper, we have an in­board and an out­board, and those both come to me in the fin­ish­ing area. They get tooled up right next to each other and go into the tank next to each other. Un­til the cus­tomer gets it, they’re still go­ing to be right there next to each other. If we have any vari­a­tion in the process, and

I’m talk­ing like 1/10 of 1/1,000 of 1 inch of thick­ness, it’s go­ing to be the same on the ones sit­ting next to each other. That is some­thing that has al­ways been a strug­gle when us­ing out­side ven­dors.

It’s that qual­ity con­trol when you come into our fa­cil­ity, and you look at what is com­ing out of this depart­ment. There’s a very low vari­a­tion of color com­ing out, and that’s be­cause Phil has had such tight con­straints on the qual­ity con­trol as­pect of it all, which has been the key to what we have go­ing on here now. Right, Phil?

Yes, it’s the con­sis­tency of do­ing things ex­actly the same ev­ery time. The color, even if there’s just a 5% dif­fer­ence, will jump out at you when you get that in-bore con­nected to that out-bore, and this is not what we want for our cus­tomers.

Let’s talk about this ad­di­tion to the Wil­wood fa­cil­ity. How long did it take to get it up and run­ning at full speed?

From the mo­ment I stepped in here, the clock started tick­ing. I’d say it was about eight months un­til we were run­ning parts on a daily ba­sis. We re­lied heav­ily on our in-house main­te­nance and fa­cil­i­ties team mem­bers, since they were al­ready very fa­mil­iar with some of the equip­ment.

An­other thing about Wil­wood that a lot of our clien­tele ap­pre­ci­ate is that we de­sign, en­gi­neer and build our own tool­ing for ev­ery­thing.

When it came down to Phil, who is the ar­chi­tect be­hind this whole fa­cil­ity, say­ing that he wanted to run with A, B and C, in­stead of farm­ing it out, it was done to what he saw best for the op­er­a­tion here at Wil­wood. It was a huge team ef­fort.

Is the staff that works in the an­odiz­ing depart­ment a spe­cial­ized team who has had ex­pe­ri­ence with this type of work be­fore?

Yes and no. They are a ded­i­cated team for this part of the op­er­a­tion, but we trained them from new. We couldn’t bring any­one in who had ex­pe­ri­ence, be­cause the way we’re an­odiz­ing here is re­ally dif­fer­ent from what you’re go­ing to see in the rest of the coun­try. We didn’t want to bring any­body in who had habits formed by the way this process was be­ing done 10 years ago. We’re re­ally try­ing to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery piece of cur­rent tech­nol­ogy that is avail­able to us to­day. Ev­ery­thing is pro­grammed and au­to­mated, and it’s re­ally more about geom­e­try and math than it is about sim­ply dip­ping parts in a tank any­more.

How big is the an­odiz­ing staff and how much space is needed for the process?

Right now, aside from the fa­cil­i­ties sup­port staff, we have seven an­odiz­ing tech­ni­cians work­ing in two shifts, and we’re run­ning an­odize 20 hours a day in our fa­cil­ity. We’re us­ing about 4,000 square feet for the an­odize-fin­ish­ing area, and we have our pow­der-coat­ing done on­site right on the other side of us.

Was it dif­fi­cult to gather all of the ma­chin­ery that was needed to start an­odize pro­duc­tion?

We did have to in­vest in new equip­ment, of course. Be­fore I came on­board with Wil­wood, the com­pany had a few quotes from busi­nesses that build an­odiz­ing shops. The prob­lem with all those com­pa­nies who build the an­odiz­ing shops is that they want to build you a shop that can do any­thing. But what the Wil­wood man­age­ment was con­cerned about was do­ing our own parts, so we were able to save nearly half of what had ini­tially been quoted to us to set it all up. Ev­ery­thing in our fa­cil­ity was pur­pose-built specif­i­cally for our prod­uct line.

And to add to that, there were a lot of other lo­cal busi­ness just within the Ca­mar­illo area that

THE OVER­HEAD BRIDGE CRANE MOVES PROD­UCT FROM BATH TO BATH EF­FORT­LESSLY.

A HIGHLY AD­VANCED WA­TER RE­CY­CLING SYS­TEM KEEPS THE AN­ODIZE FA­CIL­ITY STOCKED WITH DEIONIZED WA­TER WHILE RE­DUC­ING THE NEED TO DIS­CHARGE TO THE SEWER, AND IT USES FEWER THAN 300 GAL­LONS PER DAY.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.