Awards of Excellence
Eclipse Manufacturing Company Wins Productivity Award
Monday, November 12, 2012
For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano
CLEVELAND, OH—November 12, 2012—Eclipse Manufacturing Company, Sheboygan, WI, has received the 2012 Zierick Manufacturing Corporation Productivity Award as part of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Awards of Excellence in Metalforming. Eclipse is a contract manufacturer of stamped and welded assemblies serving the small gas engine, automotive, scroll compressor, powered motorsports, plumbing and electrical markets.
Eclipse won the award for incorporating a robotic weld cell to assemble fan housings for a lawn-equipment manufacturer, resulting in dramatic productivity improvements for Eclipse and its customer. Due to volume limitations, the original manufacturing plan was to stamp the housing components and assemble parts using manual spot welders. An additional two engine-housing assemblies were awarded to Eclipse during 2009 and 2010. A fourth housing and three derivatives from existing housings are scheduled for limited production starting in 2012. Each housing has two to three unique baffle components and seven to nine weld nuts to be assembled.
With the subsequent increase in volume, Eclipse was able to justify assembly with a robotic weld cell, which uses robotic material handling and robotically controlled resistance welders. A single operator loads all components and housings, and unloads and verifies quality and packs each finished assembly. The robotic weld cell as designed was budgeted to cost the same as three sets of manual spot welding fixtures.
The weld cell is a custom cell with powered and free conveying equipment. One conveyor is capable of loading six sets of components on pallets, while six fan-housing stampings on pallets move on a second powered conveyor. The conveyors automatically transport the housings and the internal components into the weld cell. The weld cell has three robots—two handling robots and one welding robot—and a nut welder. Part-presence sensors and motion sensors are used to sense all parts and automated motions and tool positions. The composite cycle time for the weld cell averages 100 seconds.
Production with the manual spot welding operations for the first housing required a total of 1129 operator hours. In 2009, the year the weld cell was installed, welding time was reduced by 53 percent at the same time production volume increased by 30 percent. The savings for the three housings was estimated at 1.2 man years compared to manual spot welding. The weld cell was used to provide a 10 percent cost savings to the customer.
The weld cell has permitted Eclipse to respond with improved lead time in evaluating engineering proposals for design refinements for the customer in 2012, which has led to Eclipse securing three additional design configurations for fan housings from the customer.
The Productivity Award is one of eight Awards of Excellence in Metalforming, presented annually by PMA. Sponsored by Zierick Manufacturing Corp., Mount Kisco, NY, the award recognizes outstanding achievement by a manufacturing company in the development and implementation of programs, processes and use of assets that lead to significant improvements in productivity. Along with recognition in industry publications and at events, Eclipse Manufacturing Company will receive a $1,500 cash prize.
PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM tradeshows, and MetalForming magazine.
Editor’s Note: For more information on PMA’s Awards of Excellence in Metalforming, visit www.pma.org/awards.
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