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Frames Built 2X Faster

New product, new process

Author: Wendy Calcaterra

Published: November 29, 2023

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Industry

Industrial Equipment

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Challenge

High Mix Low Volume

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Challenges

Launching a new product line can be an adrenaline rush, but it also comes with its headaches, especially when you want to engineer a new production process to go with it.

 

For the side sub-assemblies and assembly of chipper truck frames, this company wanted to shift away from “coach built” methods to achieve the repeatable accuracy that robotic welding requires. They also aimed to eliminate the use of tape measures, and they especially needed to get away from the hammers that were necessary to “persuade” parts into alignment. Add to that the reality of multiple product revisions on the horizon as the new truck design evolved, and there was a lot to address.

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Bridging the Engineering Gap

The key to solving all of the above challenges? Workholding. By engineering this frequently overlooked step in the production process, Bluco’s team is able to bridge a vital gap and deliver results. The heart of the solution was a custom U-form fixture for the left-hand and right-hand fabricated I-beam sub-assemblies. This fixture was designed for ease of loading and tack welding, with a rail system that offered plenty of openings for operator access. But what really made the difference was its built-in adjustability—making it agile enough to roll with ongoing design revisions.

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Projected X-Factor Improvement

The first set of parts loaded into the new fixture fit like a glove. Tape measures and hammers are no longer needed; the system is so precise that frames can be built twice as fast and with even higher quality. The built-in flexibility means design revisions are less of a headache, and some of the old tab & slot locators can be removed. The new solution also provides something invaluable: confidence. Engineers know they can make revisions without derailing the process, and welders know the system is easy to use and helps them to build better products.

 


Customer Quote: “We’re all in. Moving forward, everything will be done with Bluco modular fixturing!’’

 

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Getting Started with bluco

1. Share your challenge

Upload a description of your workholding application and a CAD model of your part to our secure online portal. Submitting your info doesn’t mean you’ve made up your mind, it just starts a conversation.

2. Talk With Us

Within 1-2 days, an application engineer will call to set up a design consultation. We never contract out, so you’ll deal directly with Bluco and communications will be kept strictly confidential.

3. Review Your Proposal

Once we understand your challenges and goals, we’ll develop custom modular solutions. Then, we’ll review designs as well as purchase and rental options virtually. Check out the rest of our process here.