High quality components, hold the extra steps

High quality components, hold the extra steps

December 11, 2013 3:19:01 PM

According to Matt Guzzo, engineering manager at Accrotool, New Kensington, Pa., finding the right balance between speed and quality is the key to success in metal fabrication. As a one-stop job shop that specializes in a wide array of quick-turnaround sheet-metal work, done to exacting standards, the Accrotool team is constantly evaluating both their equipment and processes to strike that balance.

 

“We do a little bit of everything,” says Guzzo. “We can do machining, paint, silkscreen, welding jobs and die work. For the most part, we’re producing finished components for our customers.”

 

Accrotool was co-founded in 1972 by Bill Phillips Sr., who remains active in the day to- day operations – providing input based on his wealth of experience. For the past 40 years, the business has grown steadily and this past February, Accrotool acquired an 11,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its primary location.

 

The newly acquired space allowed Accrotool to consider expanding its equipment, ultimately leading to the acquisition of a new fiber laser machine in April of this year. In selecting the new equipment, the company was looking t inject more speed into the operation without jeopardizing quality.

 

Need for Speed


Accrotool has been known for manufacturing quality parts since day one – day one- in that sense, the quality of the end product hasn’t changed over the years. What has changed is the pace at which they have been able to produce these components.


“We try to never send bad parts to clients,” says Guzzo. “But up until recently, making quality parts required multiple operations. We had an older 1500-watt laser, and parts coming directly off that laser weren’t up to our clients’ standards. So a secondary operation was required just to clean up the part.”

 

“We needed to upgrade to a newer laser,” he says. “We were creating quality parts, but at a glacial pace. We knew that the technology existed to do it faster.” Guzzo immediately began the search for a new laser, and at FABTECH 2012, the Accrotool team found exactly what they were looking for. 


Finding the One

 

At FABTECH, the team was immediately drawn to the MC Machinery booth. “MC Machinery was the only booth we saw with a live fi ber laser demo, and it was packed,” says Guzzo. “It was the only booth where the representatives took the time to talk to us and answer our questions.”

Of course, Accrotool wasn’t ready to purchase any machine without seeing what it was churning out firsthand.

“The sample parts were incredible,” says Guzzo. “Not only was this NX-F fiber machine faster than our old laser, the quality of the parts was much better. As soon as I saw that fiber laser, I knew it was the machine we needed.”

“Once we realized the machine could make the parts we needed, it was a done deal,” says Guzzo. “Everything was perfect. The sales team was incredibly helpful, the customer service package was exactly what we wanted and, most importantly, the laser was easily the best on the market.”


Calling in the Pros


Accrotool was pleased to find that the service package didn’t disappoint. “We’ve been really impressed withservice support on the Mitsubishi Laser,” says Guzzo. “Recently, for example, we experienced a brown out – all of the power went out, and the laser stopped running. We got Mitsubishi on the phone and representatives were here within two hours,” Guzzo says. “Mitsubishi has been quick to respond and solve any issues with our machine. It’s been very impressive.”


Stronger, Better, Faster


Since installing the laser, Accrotool has seen a big change in production.

 

“We’re producing parts at a much faster rate,” says Guzzo. “We’re able to take on an additional eight to 10 jobs per day now that we have the new laser.”

 

Most orders at Accrotool range from 50 to 250 pieces (larger orders are 300 to 500 parts and the smallest orders range from two to 50 parts). Guzzo noted that the quality of the parts is also much improved. The tolerance of the old laser was ± .012”. With the new laser, he’s seeing ±.002” or .003”. With the improved edge quality, Accrotool no longer needs to run secondary operations, improving throughput.

 

“When customers come into the shop, they are blown away,” says Guzzo. “They’re impressed by the quality of the parts and speed at which we can produce them.”

 

As customers get used to the increased productivity without loss of quality, they are beginning to request additional work from Accrotool. Because the shop has more capacity, it can take on more projects from current clients and broaden its offering for new projects. Accrotool is able to tackle jobs that would be impossible without the new laser.

 

“On the old laser, we couldn’t cut anything thicker than ¼”. Now, we can cut steel up to ¾” thick,” says Guzzo. “We can accept jobs that fall outside of our niche.”

 


Partners for Life

 


Accrotool has been so impressed with the service provided on the Mitsubishi Laser that when they needed to replace an aging Press Brake, Mitsubishi was given the opportunity to fulfill that need. Accrotool hopes to continue to build on their strong relationship with Mitsubishi and MC Machinery.

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