Partnered with Roll-Kraft to Increase Productivity by 30%
I want to start out with a little history on our roll form machine. It will give more meaning to what has transpired and how we came to use Roll-Kraft. My name is Bill and I am the engineer for roll form and welding.
Our plant was set up as a satellite plant about 40 miles away from the main facility in 2001. One of the main pieces of equipment was a new roll former with master, mid-pierce, slave, type sweep unit, and a unique rocking cut-off press. Both presses have die accelerators so the mill runs continuously. Due to the usual delays the equipment and tooling was hastily approved and put into production.
I joined the company in 2005 and was given the immediate responsibility for roll form tooling and equipment. The sections run on the mill are not symmetrical, so we have quality issues with camber, twist and radius in the parts. We struggled with these issues along with the tightening tolerances being put in place by product engineering when new designs were launched.
I had the manufacturer and three different roll form service companies in to evaluate and make recommendations for the tooling and equipment. After paying for service calls and no results, I became very disappointed in the roll form service industry and felt I was out there by myself. As production pressures and quality issues grew, I realized that I still needed help and would try again. This time I opened up communications with Roll-Kraft.
Initially I spent several hours on the phone with the sales and engineering departments getting advice as to what was causing my issues, what to look for and how to fix the problem. Roll-Kraft was not concerned with the amount of time and there was no charge. The advice was good, and it gave me the more advanced knowledge I needed to deal with the tooling and machine issues.
My next problem came during the recent downturn in the economy. Our roll set was worn and needed to be refurbished. Production demands were still high for the roll form machine so there was no choice but to have a new set of 16 stands of rolls made. I quoted both Roll-Kraft and a local tool shop. With price driving upper management, the decision was made to save a few pennies and go with the local shop. I gathered the quality data and sent it to the original designer of the tools to have the roll design updated. I had the rolls made and tried them out. They did not work very well. The steel looked like a roller coaster ride in the mill. We were able to run but with reduced production. This created a big problem for me and I remembered Roll-kraft and how they have helped earlier.
I talked to John at Roll-Kraft and made an appointment to bring in some rolls for evaluation. I loaded up two stands of rolls and headed for Euclid, Ohio. After 3 ½ hours I arrived and found I was expected because there were several meetings scheduled.
First stop was to get the rolls into the shop and checked out. Steve Young, Roy Ennes and Ken Platt were right there. Honestly, it wasn't more than one minute from unloading the rolls to knowing what the problem was. They were manufactured at machine tolerance and not roll tolerance. I quickly realized I had the right company. The Roll-Kraft guys knows rolls. So much for saving a few pennies upfront!
Next I met with Gary Summerhill: Engineering Manager - Roll Form Tooling, David Rostocil: Tooling Development Supervisor, John Zienka: Account Manager in the board room. We spent 3 hours going over the current design of the roll set and machine developing solutions for my machine problems. Here again, no concern of the time required and no charge. It was decided that we needed to get a service technician to look at the roll form line and to do an evaluation.
Later I met the President who was very pleasant and understands the roll form business. Then I got to meet with Sharon Betts who I have had several email and phone conversations with when ordering rolls. Sharon makes ordering very easy and always follows up quickly.
I soon received a price for the service call from John. I must admit it sounded like high dollars and was going to have to sell the higher dollars to upper management. I was successful, so arrangements were made. On the designated day Frank Lowery: Tooling Development Technician arrived.
Frank was scheduled for two days. One day for machine alignment and evaluation. The second day for operator training. Frank brought all of the tools needed and started immediately aligning the mill. We ended up with over half of the spacers needing to be changed. The second day we put the rolls on and Frank trained the operators on how to gap rolls and adjust the towers and sweep. The operators learned more about the mill and enjoyed working with Frank. Our production shows that we now have a better efficiency and less quality problems since Frank was here.
At the end of the service call, Frank sat down with me and gave me a list of all the spacer changes and items that needed addressed on the mill. As it ends up, most of the items causing us all the trouble came from the beginning with the hasty approval of the machine and tooling. We are confident that when we make the improvements Frank suggested we will increase our production efficiency 30%.
If you have tough problems, old problems or even new ones I recommend Roll-Kraft to be the best partner you can have for the long haul.
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