Staying ahead of the curve

Staying ahead of the curve

December 10, 2013 2:59:30 PM

Company Improves Material Utilization and Throughput with Laser Automation

From a modest start in 1945 as a small stamping house in Fort Wayne, Wayne Metals has flourished into an ultramodern contract-manufacturer headquartered on an 18-acre campus in Markle, IN. This 150-employee operation supplies a full range of machining, stamping, fabricating and finishing operations to its customer base which includes industrial, material-handling, and transportation equipment.

Wayne Metals president Greg Myers partially credits the company’s successful growth to ongoing equipment upgrades and technology improvements. “We are committed to continuous improvement to achieve conforming parts, competitive value, and on-time delivery for our customers,” says Myers.

The incorporation of laser technology in 1991 is one example. Seeking to reduce the need for turrets and punch presses, the company purchased its first Mitsubishi Laser. “Not only did it significantly reduce our setup time and lot size,” recalls Laser Cell Supervisor Greg Stucky, “it decreased our throughput time and increased capacity.”

This first stand-alone machine purchase led to a series of upgrades and the incorporation of Mitsubishi automation.

 Today, the company houses an advanced Flexible Manufacturing System with two LVP lasers (Mitsubishi 3015LVP/35CFX and 3015LVP/40CFX), a 12-shelf material tower, and an automated material handling system. The system significantly reduced labor costs for the company by running lights-out on third shift and all three shifts on weekends.

The company processes all types of material, with carbon steel being the highest volume. Unlike other companies that unload output with fork trucks, Wayne Metals utilizes bridge cranes exclusively for faster load and unload times. This also dramatically reduces floor space.

By incorporating automation, Wayne Metals more than doubled the output of two stand-alone machines. Mitsubishi’s dynamic nesting capabilities allowed the company to move exclusively to a standard sheet size, greatly minimizing scrap costs. The system nests multiple jobs that share the same materials and thicknesses, which improved Wayne Metals’ material utilization to more than 90 percent.

“The Mitsubishi team provided significant help in our purchases,” says Myers. His team worked with Mitsubishi distributor Wally Baker of Fabrication Equipment Sales to upgrade its equipment. “They helped with plant layout, installation location, and installation issues. They also helped us determine which machine capabilities we needed to provide customer specifications for the parts we were producing.” 

Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Bryant adds, “Mitsubishi’s service team has always been very responsive with any technical problems or when we need a maintenance part.” This kind of service and support, in addition to machine performance, is what has kept Wayne Metals a loyal Mitsubishi Laser customer.

And Wayne Metals will continue to upgrade equipment as Mitsubishi Laser develops new technology. Myers explains, “It’s important to stay ahead of the curve; and the only way to do that is by staying current with advancements in technology.”


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