Nowadays its very common for individuals and organizations to put all of their effort into creating the next new-age gadget or process that will change all of our lives as we know it. But what about those tried and true systems that we have come to rely on with guaranteed results? Don’t they matter? Of course they do. We’re here to tell you that updating an existing process can be just as, if not more, beneficial than tossing it for something new. In manufacturing, upgrading an existing tube forming process will typically be more cost effective and take less time than building a new integrated process from scratch. Re-utilizing processes you already know will also minimize the time it will take to train employees on a completely new system. Below we’ve included three ways to upgrade your existing tube forming process without starting from scratch or replacing what already works.
Rebuild Existing Tube Forming Process
There are many reasons a customer may choose to rebuild a tube forming process instead of replace it, and we’re here for all of them. In most cases budget is the driving force behind choosing to rebuild a machine over starting from scratch. This was the case for a customer in the HVAC industry who was looking for a cost effective solution to upgrade their process of closing the ends of copper tubing. By rebuilding, they received a like-new machine for a fraction of the cost and they were able to allocate funds to purchase brand new tooling to ensure the success of their new process.
Another reason you might choose to rebuild over replace is to update an already successful process. Machines that were built to be operated manually 30 years ago may still work perfectly, but replacing the controls with something more modern not only allows the machine to extend its lifetime, but to be more efficient and profitable. Adding safety to an outdated machine also ensures employees are protected and your process is in line with national and local safety expectations.
Finally, the decision to rebuild may be made to simply give a dependable machine new life. After decades of producing perfect parts, any piece of heavy equipment is bound to near its end. Rather than scrapping the entire thing, replacing the inner workings that are most worn and refreshing the original frame with a fresh coat of paint will give the perception of a brand new machine with the dependability of the original manufacturing process.
Add to an Existing Manufacturing Process
Very few consumer goods are manufactured through one-step production. The car you drive daily saw multiple processes before ending up on the lot. Every component is individually and intricately created ahead of the end product assembly and each of those processes may include multiple steps. Replacing one of many manufacturing steps is a very cost effective way to upgrade an existing tube forming process. A customer in the agricultural industry who specializes in lawn equipment did just that and couldn’t be happier. Their previous process involved manually piercing two ends of a three-foot long steel tube that later became the support rod of a string weed trimmer. After replacing that step with a custom automated pierce machine that simultaneously punched holes in both ends of the presented tube, the speed and accuracy of production dramatically increased. This new process not only allowed the customer to make more parts but also do so with a higher quality output.
Adding automation to an existing tube forming process may be the easiest way to boost efficiency and output without replacing the entire system. Part hoppers and loaders can be added to an existing ram end forming application and allows operators to more quickly form parts without having to manually load them individually. Robotic and gantry systems can be added to existing machines and grant operators flexibility in stepping away for short periods of time to work on other things without sacrificing product output.
New Application for Existing Tube Forming Process
When it comes to prototyping or the development of new parts in any industry, utilizing existing equipment may not be as beneficial as you’d think. A customer in the HVAC industry sought our services to design and build a 16-station swage machine to manufacture heat exchanger assemblies. This machine was large, stationary, and allowed for the flexibility of forming multiple variations of assemblies for residential HVAC units – just what the customer wanted. A few months later the same customer returned, but this time they needed a variation of that same application for low-volume swaging. The HVAC customer was looking to develop a new part line and while it also included swaging, using the previous 16-station machine wasn’t ideal for prototyping. Instead, they wanted a mobile, light-weight, and ergonomic option, so we designed a hand-held swage unit perfect for their new need. Not all manufacturing applications require new, full-size machines. Thinking outside of the box to identify opportunities that simplify a machine design can prove to be very beneficial for any manufacturer.
Building an elaborate, never-before-used process from the ground up may be the best solution in some situations, but it doesn’t always have to be. From rebuilding an aged spinner to adding a part loader or robotic operator to an otherwise efficient ram end former, the upgrading possibilities are endless. At Overton Industries, we’ll help you make the most educated decision possible to refresh your specific operation and give it an extended life, all the while saving money, time, and multiple other resources.