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15 Stainless Works on the Fast Track 23 Laser Marking for UID Compliance 34 Success With a Hitch

Express Magazine for

Sheet Metal Processing in North America

Volume 3, 2007 Experience our Expertise A look inside TRUMPF’s applications department. See page 19

A Bumper Crop of Innovation Family tree rooted deeply at Flory Industries.

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19 10






33 37

Demonstration part cut out of .250 steel on a TruLaser 2030.


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15 Pedal to the Metal From a hobby to an enterprise, Ron Fuller took Stainless Works to higher ground.


24 Can Manufacturers Thrive in the Challenge of Change? Seeing the future through lean manufacturing; David Hogg discusses the “must-do’s”.


25 For Concorde Tools’ Founders, American Dream is Reality This Chicago-area stamping house found that short-run production gave them the competitive edge they needed.


30 Lean Manufacturing Q&A Bob Castonguay knows lean manufacturing; he has been living it for over 20 years. Bob shares the benefits of his experience with lean manufacturing.



A Bumper Crop of Innovation

Flory Industries is a family-owned and operated business harvesting success though innovation and technology.

TO THE POINT 05 Market Challenges Market conditions and customer requirements drive manufacturers to change their business models. To meet these market challenges lean manufacturing and automated systems have become industry trends.


34 They’re a Hit! (With a Hitch.) An open door for inventions and possibilities, Hitch Things hits big with transport attachments.


38 The Roar of the Engine Who would buy a model airplane at the price of a BMW? Four to five people every year, Harold Müller estimates.

STANDARDS 06 19 29 40 40





Market Challenges Rolf Biekert, President and CEO

The economic state, measured in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or with some other indicator, does not necessarily tell us how good or bad our specific business situation may be. We are all more or less dependent upon certain market conditions driven by specific factors/influences which can sometimes change very quickly and may also deviate from the general business climate. Consider the continually increasing fossil fuel prices which have forced us to seek alternative fuel options. Biofuel, produced from our Midwest crops has generated an increased demand for agricultural equipment. Additionally, political pressure to keep our environment clean resulted in new diesel emission standards which became effective in 2007. To comply with these new standards, the trucking industry had to upgrade their equipment resulting in a high demand for new trucks. There are many other similar examples which generate a very dynamic market situation and are difficult to predict. Customer requirements can differ in quantity, diversity, technology, quality, etc. They can change in an instant and without longterm contracts or commitments. Therefore, inventory is not an option for manufacturers and lot sizes tend to be very small with many variations determined by customer demands. Such requirements drive us to change our business models. Lean manufacturing in combination with flexible automated systems have become industry trends. The lean organization sets up a manufacturing concept that

enables the company to achieve the highest level of flexibility and accommodate customer requirements with a minimum of material tied up in inventory. Essential elements of such a concept are “just in time deliveries”, “quick changeover”, “one piece flow concepts”, “pull production” instead of “push production”, etc. Depending on customer requirements we can find a variety of lean concepts in manufacturing companies. Some manufacturing facilities are organized in cells focusing on specific part/product families. Others are linear concepts with an emphasis on material flow. In some cases, fabricating machines may be placed within the assembly line, as opposed to the sheet metal area, to produce critical parts. This reduces part quality issues generated from part handling and travel and allows the highest level of flexibility in respect to meeting customer specific requirements by minimizing inventory. Overall success in fully satisfying your customer as well as achieving acceptable profit margins is only possible if operating costs are optimized as well. Therefore, you have to find the best technology for your applications in combination with the appropriate level of automation. Market prices are not under our control, therefore the only remaining way to keep margins up is to reduce the cost per part. A combination of productivity or output over time and operating expenses are the most significant cost drivers. Only a well balanced combination of all of these influencing parameters allows us to be both competitive and successful long term.

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TRUMPF Awarded Innovation Prize TRUMPF has received a Connecticut Quality Improvement Award silver level Innovation Prize recognizing their SYNCHRO production of the TruLaser 2025. An innovative blend of laser resonator, cutting machine and automated material handling, the TruLaser 2025 offers customers significant productivity gains through lights-out operations, reduced labor requirements, improved material usage and reduced waste. TRUMPF received the award for its ability to develop, optimize and install ongoing customer-driven features, even in assembly, so that the TruLaser 2025 continually adjusts to ever-shifting customer-driven innovation requirements. The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award recognizes Connecticut manufacturing and service companies that excel in quality improvements for business success and growth. This is the fifth consecutive year in which TRUMPF has won a CQIA innovation prize.

TruLaser 2030: New Enclosure and Working Range Options Popular model now available in three sizes

TruLaser 2030

Innovative changes have been made to TRUMPF’s line of flatsheet laser cutting machines with integrated automation. The TruLaser 2030 now offers more working range options. In addition to the original 4-by-8-foot and 4-by-10-foot models; a 5-by-10-foot version of the machine is now available. Among the most noticeable enhancements to the machine is a new, compact enclosure that is seventy-five percent smaller than a 6

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conventional enclosure. “Compact features have always been an advantage of this machine,” says James Rogowski, product manager for laser cutting machines and automation at TRUMPF Inc. “This new cover is just one-fourth its original size, which offers advantages for fabricators.” Key benefits of the design include faster installation, easier accessibility, and facilitated material exchange. The enclosure’s new design also features a small door which can be opened to change

the cutting head quickly and easily. The new design is ergonomic and safe. Additionally, the machine now comes with an easy-to-use freestanding control; similar to the one sold with TRUMPF’s popular punching machines.

> Additional information: Jim Rogowski, 860-255-6033 E-mail:


Mock Weave Who would have thought it? Punches can weave too Over, under, over, under — it looks a bit like the upper crust on grandma’s apple pie, but in fact it is punched sheet metal. This pattern isn’t the product of skilled hands, but rather of a special tool. The tool was originally developed for a customer looking to make weave-like grids at low prices using a punch. A TRUMPF tooling engineer got to work and perfected the solution. The machine first uses a tool to punch a uniform pattern of square holes in a standard sheet of metal. A specially designed tool is then used to raise and lower the “weft” and “warp” where the strips cross, thus creating the woven effect. Additional refinements have followed since — patterns with round and rhomboid holes and crosspieces of differing widths. > Additional information: Carl Peterhansel, 860-255-6314 or 800-724-8753 E-mail:

Seemingly woven but punched: “latticework weave” punched with a special tool.

Square D Honored Wins South Carolina medium sized manufacturer of the year The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) honored Square D at the 12th annual Manufacturers Night in Columbia. Square D, a market-leading brand of electrical distribution and industrial control products, systems, and services for 100 years, was honored as the 2006 medium sized manufacturer of the year. Square D is a global brand of Schneider Electric for NEMA type industrial controls, electrical distribution, circuit protection, related power equipment, systems and services. Square D products are widely accepted in residential, commercial, industrial and OEM markets. TRUMPF is proud to be associated with such an esteemed company.

New Reading Material TRUMPF republishes brochures

Daren Matthews (L) of Square D accepts award from Charles Hamrick.

At FABTECH 2006, TRUMPF unveiled its new product naming system to ensure greater clarity for product designations. This new system has now made its way into the product brochures for TruBend, TruLaser, TruPunch and cohorts. The product brochures contain in depth information on the technology in each product line and details machine requirements and performance capacities. These new brochures are available for download at Express Vol.3/07



TruLaser Cell Series 7000: Flexible by Design New product line with a wide range of capabilities

TruName Product Naming System Introduced for Laser Technology Uniform, clear and distinctive The EUROBLECH and FABTECH trade shows in 2006 marked the introduction of the TruName product naming system for TRUMPF machine tools. While the new names for the machine tool division were introduced all at once, the introduction of the new product names for the Laser Technology division has been a step by step process. Implementation for the Laser Division also started in 2006 with new product launches for the TruDisk and TruPulse lasers. Additional laser products were renamed for the FABTECH trade show: including TruFlow, TruCoax, TruLaser Robot and TruLaser Weld. The transition to the new product names was recently completed at LASER 2007 in Munich, Germany. Here, new products were presented with new names, such as the new marking lasers – TruMark. In addition to new products following the new naming system, specific existing serial products have been renamed including: TLW60 (TruLaser Cell 1100), LASMA (TruLaser Cell Series 3000 and 7000), TRUMASCAN (TruLaser Scan 5024), laser workstations (TruLaser Station Series 3000 and 5000), marking workstations (TruMark Station Series 1000, 5000 and 7000), Vmi (TruMark 7020), TruMark software (TruTops Mark) and TLQ lasers (TruMicro Series 3000 and 7000). Complete information on the product naming system for laser technology products can be found at 8

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TRUMPF’s new line of 3D laser processing machines, the TruLaser Cell Series 7000 opens a world of possibilities, whether welding or cutting, two or three dimensional workpieces. Designed for flexibility and productivity, it features enhanced machine dynamics which significantly increase part processing speed. The modular configuration of the TruLaser Cell Series 7000 provides a single solution for a variety of applications. Optional features such as welding, dual stations, SeamLine and rotary or automated tables can be added as production requirements change. The compact machine footprint of the 4 meter (13 ft) TruLaser Cell 7040 has the same floor space requirements as previous 3 meter (10 ft) machines offering more working area within the same amount of space. A 2 meter (6.5 ft) machine, the TruLaser Cell 7020 is also available. The TruLaser Cell Series 7000 is available with TRUMPF CO2 lasers with up to 6,000 watts of laser power for cutting applications and 15,000 watts for welding applications. TRUMPF solid-state lasers up to 8,000 watts can also be used. > Additional information: Michael Fritz, 734-454-7241 E-mail:

TruLaser Cell Series 7000


Fifteen Minutes of Fame Nibbler makes guest appearance on This Old House “This is quite a machine!” These are the words of Richard Trethewey, plumbing and heating expert for the television show This Old House as he watches an oil tank specialist maneuver his TRUMPF N 700 nibbler around a 300 pound steel tank. The episode, which featured a multifamily house in East Boston, MA, demonstrated how a licensed contractor separates the tank into two manageable pieces and safely removes waste build up from inside an old oil tank. Specialist Kevin Hoag explains the importance of using the nibbler to handle the task. “It’s important to use this non-sparking cutting tool because in the event someone has put something into this tank that is flammable or explosive, we won’t have a problem.” Never camera shy, the TRUMPF nibbler navigated confidently around the steel tank providing access to the hazardous waste inside.

TRUMPF Puts “Forces in Motion”

The N 700 nibbler

Connecticut Science Center will provide hands-on activities to promote science.

Donation will help visitors explore physics TRUMPF has announced their support of the Connecticut Science Center’s innovative ”Forces in Motion” gallery. TRUMPF’s $100,000 donation will allow visitors of all ages to explore the physics of motion and test their skills against other visitors through a variety of interactive activities, including the Mag-Lev test track where you can build a magnetic levitation vehicle to race against others and the Heli-flyer exhibit where you can create and fly your own helicopter. Currently under construction at Adriaen’s Landing in Hartford, the Connecticut Science Center is a non-profit organization dedicated

to enhancing science education throughout the state of Connecticut. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2008, the Science Center is a $150 million dollar project that will contain a 3D Science Theater, 4 unique laboratories, as well as 40,000 square feet of educational hands-on, interactive exhibits to engage visitors in scientific exploration and learning. > For more information, please visit: Express Vol.3/07


Howard Flory (L), founder of Flory Industries and principal owner, on top of one of the first machines he designed and built. Center is his son Rod Flory, production manager, and right is Rod’s nephew, Kent, fabrication manager.

Innovation is a Bumper Crop at Flory Industries


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An innovative, family-owned and operated business in California helps nut growers harvest the fruits of their labor.

Formally established as a California corporation in 1971, Flory Industries’ roots go back to 1909 when the Flory family settled in the Central Valley community of Salida to live and farm on land that nearly a century later is the site of their 24,000 square-foot fabrication/assembling facility. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the family ran a 100-cow dairy farm on the Flory homestead, where they were among the first – if not the first – farming families in the country to use milking machines. With the assistance of one of the first farm tractors to work the fertile fields of the Central Valley, the family’s dairy operation evolved into a commercial grain and bean harvesting company – known as O.F. Flory and Sons – in the mid 1930s. “In 1944, Howard Flory built the first of several of the company’s bean harvesting machines,” says Fabrication Department Manager Kent Flory, Howard’s grandson. “By the 1960s, California farmers were increasingly planting almond orchards in place of row crops. Seeing the opportunity this presented, we built our first tractorpowered almond pick-up machine. A self-propelled version was built in 1968, and in 1970 we built our first almond sweeper, which windrowed the nuts for the pick-up machine to follow.” Today, Flory Industries is an innovative, family-owned and operated business that specializes in the production of a wide range of machinery and equipment for nut growers of all varieties in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Georgia, as well as Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Australia and of course, California – where an estimated 1.3 billion pounds of almonds will be grown in 2007! Flory’s range of agricultural products includes harvesters, sweepers, blowers, mowers, sulfur dusters, field elevators and brush shredders. “Over the years, we’ve put close to 9,000 units in the field,” says Kent. But the nut business – like virtually every other business – has its ups and downs. In the mid 1980s, for example, the demand for nut harvesting equipment fell off significantly. “We made the decision to diversify our operations by offering a job shop fabrication and welding service in order to keep our machine tools operating and to prevent layoffs,” recalls Kent, who is one of > Express Vol.3/07



Laser Operator Russell Smith peers through a laser cut part.

“By the time we were in the market for a laser, we had an eight year relationship with TRUMPF, and we were impressed with the quality of their tools.” 12

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twelve members of the Flory family active in the business (see sidebar). Within three years, customer demands were putting a strain on Flory’s new Contract Division. “At the time, most of our metal parts were produced by ironworkers, drills, and torches,” Kent says. “We realized that we needed to expand our capacity.” That meant researching the company’s options for punching tools – a process that resulted in the purchase in 1989 of a TRUMPF TC 240 R punching machine. “The purchase and implementation of the TRUMPF punch had a profound effect on our ability to produce stainless and aluminum parts of various thicknesses and virtually any shape or contour,” adds Kent, who, at the age of 21, came to TRUMPF headquarters in Connecticut to learn how to run the machine. By the mid 1990s, Flory’s equipment business and contract work had grown to the point that additional state-of-the-art fabrication equipment was needed to keep up with customer demands. “We purchased a TRUMPF TC L 2503EII laser in 1997,” notes Kent. “Just as the TRUMPF punch had revolutionized our manufacturing operations a decade before, so did the laser. We began designing our product around its capabilities, which enabled us to fabricate the parts that make up our machines much more efficiently and accurately. In short order, we


Fabrication Manager Kent Flory is part of the third generation of the family business founded by his grandfather.

were operating the TRUMPF laser on a threeshift basis, and by 2003 we purchased our second laser – the TC L 3030 (now the TruLaser 3030). Currently, we are operating both lasers on three shifts, and a third laser cutter will be installed in June 2007. Later this year we will be replacing the TC 240 R – after more than 56,000 hours of operation – with the TruPunch 1000.” Clearly, Flory Industries has made a significant investment in TRUMPF technology. Kent Flory explains why. “By the time we were in the market for a laser, we had an eight-year relationship with TRUMPF, and we were impressed with the quality of their tools. We are now designing our product with TRUMPF lasers in mind, limited only by the imagination with regard to the shape of the part. We are also taking advantage of the laser by using slot and tab to locate parts for welding.” Kent emphasizes that the secret to achieving the company’s mission is Flory’s ability to >

> All in the Family Twelve members of the Flory family are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Flory Industries. They are: ■ Howard Flory (founder, president, senior shareholder) ■ Marlin Flory (son to Howard, vice president, sales manager, senior shareholder) ■ Norm Layman (son-in-law to Howard, head of engineering, senior shareholder) ■ Rod Flory (son to Howard, production manager, senior shareholder) ■ Darin Denlinger (grandson to Howard, contract division manager, junior shareholder) ■ Stuart Layman (son to Norm, sales, junior shareholder) ■ Craig Flory (son to Marlin, parts and retail manager, junior shareholder) ■ Kent Flory (son to Marlin, fabrication dept. manager, junior shareholder) ■ Jason Flory (son to Rod, service dept. manager, junior shareholder) ■ Jess Flory (son to Rod, assembly dept. supervisor) ■ Mike Flora (grandson through marriage, engineering dept. manager) ■ John Bowman (son-in-law to Marlin, contract division assistant manager)

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“TRUMPF’s punch had a profound effect on our ability to produce stainless and aluminum parts of various thicknesses and virtually Flory Production Welder any shape or contour.” Cody Vella

Flory Leadman Welder Joshua Rodriguez prepares a large machine component.

produce quality parts in a timely fashion, whether for its product line, resale parts business, job shop business, or prototypes for engineering. “If you stumble providing quality parts and quick deliveries – especially in the job shop environment – you can lose customers fast. I strongly believe that the TRUMPF machine tools we have put in place have played an important role in enabling us to grow and expand our customer base, as well as retain customers.” Flory Industries’ commitment to meeting customer needs is matched by its stewardship of the environment and land in the Central Valley. “Air quality here has been a hot topic for quite some time now,” explains Kent. “In 1994, we began looking at ways to reduce dust emissions in the harvesting of almonds, and by 1996 we were fieldtesting various designs. In 2000, we introduced a low dust harvester that has achieved a 30 to 50 percent reduction in dust. We are continuing to develop and test machinery with the goal of reducing dust emissions 14

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further by working with University of California Davis, the Almond Board of California…and Texas A&M.” Kent further notes that the practice of burning orchard prunings is slated to be banned by 2010. In anticipation of the ban, in 2003 Flory brought to market a machine that shreds orchard brush into a fibrous material that decomposes into the soil. “This machine has added to our laser demand substantially in that there are many components in the cutting head that are laser cut,” he says. “We have put more than 30 machines in the field and feel that this will continue to be a steady product for us in the future.” Kent sees TRUMPF as being an integral part of that future. “To keep our competitive edge we need to stay current with the latest technology. As long as we are committed to meeting customer demand and growing our business, I see additional TRUMPF machine tools as playing an important role in what we do.”


Ron Fuller hot rods Stainless Works onto the fast track.

Ron Fuller, owner of Stainless Works, holds a custom exhaust component in his Cleveland based shop.

Pedal to the Metal

Hot rodders have a knack for taking what wasn’t performing well and turning it into a powerful machine. One example is how Ron Fuller hot rodded Stainless Works. More than 20 years ago Ron transformed his hobby into a business when he opened a shop specializing in building and modifying classic special interest autos and muscle cars. One of his vendors at the time was a company that provided him with custom fabricated exhaust systems. At one point Ron was given a chance to purchase that company, but he turned it down. It was eventually sold, but its new owners soon went bankrupt, opening the way for Ron to buy it out of receivership. “We thought we’d run it for a few years and then sell it,” said Ron. “But business was good, so we decided to keep it.” Ron did more than just keep the company – he made it a winner. Today Stainless Works is a leader in custom, high performance stainless steel exhaust systems. In their 50,000-square foot manufacturing plant near Cleveland they specialize in making stainless steel exhaust systems for street rods, sports and muscle cars of all makes, kit cars, and special interest autos both foreign and domestic. They design and manufacture complete exhaust systems, headers and header components, merge and formed collectors, mufflers, clamps, flanges, bent tubing, flex joints, and x-pipe. They also produce private label products for top tuners and car builders such as Lingenfelter, Wheel to Wheel, Mallet, and other companies specializing in performance products for such makes as Audi, Porsche, Pontiac and Harley-Davidson motorcycle. > Express Vol.3/07



Chris Kotts holds an internal exhaust pipe.

Exhaust of 1933 Speedster Coupe built by Stainless Works won Best Engine at 2001 Detroit Autorama.

Stainless Works also goes the extra mile to develop and market complete exhausts and intakes for iconic performance cars. Their development program maximizes an engine’s entire intake and exhaust system. For instance, they design and manufacture intake/exhaust solutions for the Ford Mustang Shelby GT. “That car (in stock trim) makes 400 horsepower at the rear wheels. When we get done with it, we add 100 horsepower. Some is from the exhaust, some from the air intake,” said Ron. Another complete solution is a product they designed and built for the re-introduced Pontiac GTO that Ron described as a “big success.” And they’re already preparing for another iconic nameplate’s re-introduction a few years down the road. “The new Camaro that’s coming out, we’ve already got an order in to buy one (for research and development),” he said. 16

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A stainless reputation that goes beyond automotive Ron is keenly aware of his tough competition and the sometimes fickle automotive aftermarket. This motivated Ron to tweak his business profi le with a powerful new component – diversity. Stainless Works is now also a job shop specializing in stainless steel products. This includes jobs for diverse segments – power generation, marine, computer/high tech, and architectural – that range far from automotive. “We’re cutting 24-gauge brush stainless for a cabinet maker


Ryan Piotrowski among the exhaust pipes Stainless Works manufactures.

“Taking technology so that we can do it faster and more accurately is what keeps us in business.” who is making desks that will end up in a Las Vegas hotel,” said Ron. Forming higher grade alloys – including 304 and 316 – is no problem for Stainless Works. “We get a lot of work from customers who want us to cut higher grades, which are considered harder to work with,” said Ron. Even so, it’s no problem. “If (harder grades) are all you work with, like us, then you don’t know it’s harder to work with.” Stainless Works also does pre-production runs, including pre-prototyping for electronic enclosures. No matter what the assignment, it’s

all about diversifying and staying flexible. “We do pretty much everything, and I would say about 50 percent of our business is job shop,” he said. This rounds out their customer mix quite nicely. “I don’t have any one customer that’s more than five percent of my business. By being diversified as we are, if automotive makes a huge change, we don’t want to be affected drastically.”

High performance people Manufacturing with stainless is a technology intensive process. Even so, Ron never forgets > Express Vol.3/07



“Once you become a TRUMPF customer, it’s almost like you’ve become part of the family.” the advantage of having smart, motivated people. This is particularly true in high performance automotive. “At the performance end, it has changed dramatically. No longer can you be the high school dropout with a wrench and be a hot rod guy. You’d better be pretty sharp with computers and mathematics if you’re going to make it work.” Ron deeply appreciates the talents of his 35-plus workforce, many of whom are car and motorcycle “gear heads.” “I’ve got a real good group of guys, everybody works hard and understands.”

Going flat out, 24/7

Ron Fuller holds several laser cut exhaust parts.

The ability to deliver, even against tough deadlines, gives Stainless Works an edge. They specialize in low volume runs with fast turnarounds. “Taking technology so that we can do it faster and more accurately is obviously what keeps us in business,” said Ron. That ability pleases customers with a need for

Ron Fuller enjoying the view from his Robinson R44 helicopter.


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speed. “A lot of times we spoil customers by actually turning around parts in a day.” Tight turns aren’t the only manifestation of today’s demanding customer. “They’re also less tolerant when it comes to fit,” said Ron. “They want things to come out of the box and bolt right on.” It gets even more challenging when an OEM vehicle manufacturer alters a tolerance as a running change. What’s more, modern engine compartments are jam-packed with components and complicate design. “That stuff drives us absolutely crazy,” said Ron. “Even so, we handle it.” Producing to tight tolerances and deadlines is where Ron’s two TRUMPF laser cutters, a Trumatic L 2530 (TruLaser 2525), Trumatic L 2510 (TruLaser 2030) and V 85 S Press Brake make a difference. “We’re like the TRUMPF shop, everything is blue and white in here,” he said. Much of the work running on their TRUMPF lasers is brackets, hangers and even some tube cutting for their performance exhaust products. At least half of their laser output is job shop work, which is why Ron bought his second TruLaser 2030. “We initially bought our first laser to cut exhaust flanges, as we were previously outsourcing it.” The job shop business, meanwhile, had grown to the point where “we bought our second laser based on outside work.” Speaking of which, Ron doesn’t turn away work from his competition. “I actually do some laser cutting for my competitors. We cut stainless flanges for them.” “We often run both of our lasers in a total ‘lights out’ situation,” said Ron. “My second and third shifts are completely automated. Both lasers run with an auto dialer, so if we do have an issue it will automatically contact me or one of the operators.” Ron truly enjoys working with TRUMPF. Even his trips to TRUMPF in Farmington are fun, thanks to the Robinson R44 helicopter he flies. “I fly 300 to 350 hours a year. I flew from here to TRUMPF for training on their press brake. It (the flying) is absolutely a blast, best thing I ever did,” he said. As for TRUMPF support and service, Ron likes that, too. “I can’t speak highly enough of those guys. Any issue we’ve had, they’ve been right on it and been more than supportive. Once you become a customer, it’s almost like you’ve become part of the family.”


›››››››››› Experience in Numbers

TRUMPF machines represent the latest innovations in fabricating technology. With the

guidance and advice of the TRUMPF Inc. Applications Department our customers are able to

maximize their machine’s potential. The applications engineer becomes a ‘familiar face’ to the

customer because he supports the customer at every stage of his relationship with TRUMPF –

from the initial machine demonstration, to advanced technical assistance the applications engineer is by the customer’s side. They take pride in TRUMPF machines and enjoy sharing their expertise with the customer – especially when they see first-hand the positive impact it has on the customer’s productivity.


›››››››››› in ›› Experience Numbers TRUMPF’s Demo Floor in Farmington, CT

Quantity and Quality

Machine Demonstrations

The TRUMPF applications department is made up of 12 members: 5 laser applications engineers, 3 press brake applications engineers, 3 punch applications engineers and the department manager. Together this team of experts has a total of more than 120 years



working specifically with TRUMPF



Services provided by the TRUMPF applications team:

addition to their years of


service in the applications department, this impressive number includes positions held in TRUMPF’s engineering, service and tooling departments. Certainly the applications engineers are the experts when it comes to TRUMPF machines.

Applications engineers demonstrate TRUMPF’s portfolio of fabricating equipment to current and potential customers at our Farmington, Connecticut; Fremont, California and Monterrey, Mexico facilities. During the demonstration it is the goal of the engineer to provide a complete overview of the machine by either processing various demonstration parts or actual customer parts submitted prior to the scheduled demo. They also invite customers to bring ‘surprise’ parts to the demo which are programmed and produced in front of the customer. This enables the customer to experience and understand the flexibility, features and user-friendliness of the machines that will provide them with a viable solution to their current and future manufacturing needs. Machine demonstrations are an excellent opportunity for customers to spend time with knowledgeable people who operate TRUMPF machines every day. It is a handson experience where they can ask questions that relate specifically to their production requirements.


››››››››››› Time Studies

While at first glance time studies appear to be a method used simply to gauge how quickly parts can be processed on a TRUMPF machine, a closer look reveals the invaluable information they can provide the customer. When determining how quickly a part can be processed on a specific machine, the applications engineer may discover that the types of parts produced by the customer would be better processed on a machine that had not been originally considered. Similarly, time studies contribute to tooling recommendations that will help the customer in his efforts to reduce costs per part and increase productivity.

Advanced Operation and Processing Support

Once the machine is installed, another major role of TRUMPF’s applications engineers is to support customers with their manufacturing challenges. As experts in programming, machine operation, and processing techniques and their application, they are ready to support both beginners and experienced operators. They assist with processing issues and programming new parts, and make recommendations on how to improve production and overall throughput on their machine. And, should the customer’s production parameters change, the applications engineer helps them adjust their TRUMPF machines to meet new requirements as efficiently as possible. TRUMPF’s applications engineers also spend a percentage of their time on the road assisting customers at their facilities. While on site they can serve as consultants providing advanced technical training to machine operators and programmers. The objective is to provide the customer with the ‘know how’ to maximize the machine’s potential.

Development Support The applications department works in close coordination with other TRUMPF departments. In particular, they work side by side with our engineering and R&D departments to help create new processes, test new techniques and develop new ideas to continually increase the productivity and flexibility of TRUMPF machines. They also use customer experiences and feedback to pursue machine innovations that will solve common customer issues. Many of these innovations, once developed, become standard machine features.

› 350 machine demonstrations were performed at the Farmington, CT facility last year.

› Demonstrations by machine: - 139 2D laser - 100 punch - 111 press brake

› Applications engineers reply to approximately 100 emails per week received through the online applications help desk.

›››››››››› › Applications engineers respond to 350 calls per week from help desk phone line.

› 370 time studies were performed last year.

Contact Us > Applications Support Help Desk: Phone: 860-255-6153 Email:


“TruMark laser marking systems have been involved with UID compliancy since its onset some four years ago.”

Laser marking helps companies meet government mandate.

TRUMPF TruMark – UID Compliant Lately, talk in the world of laser marking seems to revolve solely around UID Compliance with the Government Mandated MIL-STD 130N protocol. With a compliancy deadline of 2010, this mandate states several key issues for part traceability for the government and its suppliers. However, the key is tracking parts in a central government database with a unique 2D Data Matrix Code. This code contains vital information as to where the parts are manufactured and where they will be used during their lifespan. TRUMPF TruMark laser marking systems have been involved with UID compliancy since its onset some four years ago. At that time, talk began to surface about the need for major government suppliers (as well as certain government channels themselves) to mark parts with a value of $5,000 or more. The current trend is to institute a complete traceability marking program within a company to comply with both current and future mandates. Laser marking has been chosen as the most reliable and durable

medium for the types of parts mandated to be marked. TRUMPF has partnered with several “middleware” providers along with Lockheed Martin and their I-Guides Software to offer a turn-key solution to endusers enabling a seamless transition. TRUMPF has been very successful in the early stages of the UID mandate. Our experience and proven knowledge in this area has allowed us to introduce companies affected by UID to laser marking. TRUMPF’s goal is to teach companies that this mandate is not very difficult to comply with, but it does require a change in how they currently track parts in their facilities. In an effort to communicate how TruMark laser marking systems can help manufacturers achieve compliancy with the MIL-STD 130N protocol, TRUMPF participates in all of the major UID compliance trade shows throughout the U.S. and Canada. This platform enables TRUMPF to discuss the capabilities of TruMark laser marking systems, demonstrate how easily they can produce a UID compliant 2D Data Matrix Code and how it is incorporated into a company’s data management protocol. Express Vol.3/07



It’s never easy to change. We figure out a way to do something and think we have it all figured out until someone comes along with a better way to do it. Unless we change, we run the risk of becoming the next dodo-birdmanufacturus extinctus. But it does not have to be. This is the challenge facing today’s North American manufacturers. People around the globe are currently doing things better, faster, and for less money. When Toyota came along with its “lean” ideas over 25 years ago, Detroit responded with a wink and a nudge. Now Detroit’s allergy to change has knocked the Big Three from their pedestal and Toyota has become the world’s largest automaker. How did it come to this? Can North American manufacturing be saved? The only ammunition that will help us win is acceptance for the embrace of change. To be victorious, companies need to offer substance and value to their customers.

David Hogg

Can Manufacturers Thrive in the Challenge of Change? The people side of lean manufacturing is the missing link.

People First The people side of lean manufacturing is the missing link and is still an alien concept to most manufacturers. We need to develop a culture of respect and accountability to harvest all the ideas that exist in the heads of our employees. To become competitive we need to look at what we do, redo our processes and drive the waste out. We need to challenge, involve and support our people to contribute and make change happen. The sad part is employees seem to understand what managers do not. Why do you think that nearly 63,000 people applied for some 2,000 production line jobs at a new Toyota plant in Texas in just two weeks? Workers realize that Toyota offers the right environment for them to grow. We can’t ignore that the world around us has changed and we need to adapt to meet that challenge. Our best customers are only one computer click away from finding a better supplier. It’s enough to make you wake up in a cold sweat. And many do. 24

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Here are three “must do’s” that you need to embrace: Develop a crystal clear vision that focuses on your customers’ success – Customers want a commitment to make a winning company. You must listen like never before, figure out what value you bring to the table and how it can help your customer succeed. Drive the waste out of all your processes – Imagine you’re at the bottom of a flight of stairs. As you climb, you start to see the surface of steps higher up. This is how lean manufacturing works. As you progress, you’ll start to see new waste to eliminate. Grow Your People – You need to surround your value-adders with the leadership and environment needed to harvest and improve every single idea that they have.

Getting It Ac c ord i ng to t he A s s o c i at ion for Manufacturing Excellence, some 80 percent of the North American manufacturers with

five or more employees have yet to mount a credible attack on waste in their organization. And even among those who have done something, 70 percent have done nothing more than implement something they call lean but is little more than the implementation of lean tools. Quality guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming of Connecticut once said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” It’s time for companies to learn to not only survive the culture of change, but thrive in it. The tools and methods are there. We need a vision that inspires, aligns us, and that’s coupled to a cultural commitment that strives to make our customers successful-both now and in the future. David Hogg assembles Lean manufacturing consortia, and is the Conference Chair for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence 2008 International Lean Conference which will take place from October 20-24 in Toronto.


Concorde Tools owners John West and John Silberbauer.

For Concorde Tools’ Founders, the American Dream is Reality Concorde Tools Inc. co-founders John C. West and John A. Silberbauer met in 1996 when they were both working at a metal stamping company outside of Chicago. To say the least, that first meeting could have gone a lot smoother.

“When we met, John (West) was on his way to weld a part for production,” recalls Silberbauer, Concorde’s vice president. “As he passed by, I said, ‘You’re the new tool maker that couldn’t cut it at the other shops.’ John replied, ‘And you’re the tool maker that couldn’t cut it in the shop, so they put you in engineering.’” Realizing that he had been rude, Silberbauer was quick to apologize. West accepted the apology, and when he went home that night he told his wife what Silberbauer had said to him. He also told her that he and Silberbauer were going to be best friends soon. What West didn’t know at the time was that within two years they also would be business partners. For all intents and purposes, the West-Silberbauer partnership began on February 1, 1998, when a Chicago Tribune ad for the original – and then shut down – Concorde Tools in McHenry, Illinois aroused the Express Vol.3/07



“With the TRUMPF punch, we can produce and deliver parts with a very short lead time.”

Punching machine operator Chris West removes another finished sheet from the TRUMATIC 2020 R.

curiosity of the two partners-to-be. What West and Silberbauer found upon inspection was a 4,000 square-foot mold shop that had been in business for 20 years. “We could see that there was a lot of potential,” says Silberbauer. “We also saw that there were going to have to be some changes made.” Undaunted by the challenges ahead, West and Silberbauer purchased Concorde Tools exactly a month after West spotted the ad in the paper – and the changes soon began. First on the agenda was Concorde’s conversion from a mold shop to a metal shop for the building of tooling for outside metal stamping facilities. By 2000, new tryout presses were on the floor to meet tooling needs, and two years later West, Concorde’s president, and Silberbauer built a 10,000 square-foot addition to the facility to keep up with their rapidly growing business. But the partners had even greater ambitions – ambitions that would lead them in 2006 to buy the presses of a downsizing metal stamping facility in order to assume 26

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all of that facility’s metal stamping work in-house at Concorde’s shop. With that purchase behind them, Concorde Tools would take its place as one of the Chicago area’s leading full-service tooling operations, with the experience and equipment to handle metal stampings, progressive tooling, stage tooling, and assemblies for a wide range of industries. “The American dream is to go out on your own. We started the business because it was something we both wanted to do and because we believed that our backgrounds afforded us a good chance at success,” recounts Silberbauer, who completed a full tool and die program in trade school. “In 2004, John and I were trying to determine what we could do to better serve Concorde’s customers and diversify beyond just being a toolbuilding company,” recalls Silberbauer. “We decided to look into shortrun equipment, and in the spring of 2005, after more than a year checking out our options, we purchased a TRUMPF TC 2020R punching machine (now the TruPunch 2020), and a V85 press brake.”


Concorde Tools in McHenry, Illinois.

With the punching machine on line, Concorde Tools was well positioned to diversify its operations to include short-run metal stamping. “One of the major differences between a stamping machine and a punching machine is that the stamping machine needs tooling built for it, which is a costly and time-consuming process. A tool can take up to 12 weeks to produce but “with the TRUMPF punch, we can produce and deliver parts with a very short lead time.” Silberbauer continues, “We use the 2020 for making prototypes for low to medium production runs, while the stamping machines get involved when production is from 30,000 to 1,000,000 pieces, depending on customer needs and delivery dates. The main idea and the part enter into the market - whether it be the automotive, food or computer industy in the most cost effective and timely fashion and to the benefit of the customer and Concorde Tools According to West, the most important benefit of the TRUMPF punching machine is the ease and flexibility with which it manufactures parts – parts that are usually fabricated in the beginning stages of production, when preciseness is particularly important. “The punching machine can also be fully automated for lights-out manufacturing,” says West, a highly skilled tool and die maker who worked at several job shops in Illinois after completing his apprenticeship and trade school in 1990. This experience has taught him how additional factors can also impact success. “Its ease of operation and user-friendly interface makes training very easy and the machine monitors punch and die height, so that they don’t crash.” West and Silberbauer believe their investment in short-run equipment has had a significant impact on enhancing the capacity and flexibility of Concorde’s operations, features that have enabled them to meet the growing and ever-changing needs of their customers. “The fact that we have the punching machine has also helped us when bidding on jobs,” Silberbauer adds. “Because of the overall operations of the TRUMPF equipment, we have gained a competitive edge in price and in the timely delivery of parts.” >

Ken Kamien and Kevin West inspect a part from the press brake.

“The American Dream is to go out on your own. We started the business because it was something we both wanted to do and because we believed that our backgrounds afforded us a good chance at success.” Express Vol.3/07



Concorde Tools programmer Josh West

“TRUMPF fits into our mission as a company because they provide us with the tools and support we need to meet the demands of our customers.”

West and Silberbauer emphasize that the mission of Concorde Tools is “to be the most flexible, reliable, and cost effective full-service tooling operation” in their industry. “TRUMPF fits into our mission as a company because they provide us with the tools and support we need to meet the demands of our customers,” says the constantly on-the-go Silberbauer, who somehow finds time to serve as vice president of Concorde Tools and to keep up with the activities of his five children and his wife, Christine.

“With the assistance of TRUMPF technology, we have achieved our goal to become one of the most versatile companies in the metal fabricating world when it comes to producing sheet metal parts of the highest quality and standards,” adds the equally busy West, the father of four. “When our customers see that we have TRUMPF equipment, they know that we care. As Concorde Tools continues to pursue our business goals, TRUMPF technology will be with us.”

> Concorde Tools ■

Concorde Tools serves a wide range of customers in the automotive, music, electrical, food, medical, communications and computer industries. Parts produced for those customers include spring clips, radio assemblies, iPod boxes, outside power boxes, large heat tunnels for shrink wrapping food products, mounting brackets for cell phone towers, large server racking systems, computer chassis and server parts. Concorde services include high quality tools and dies, CNC machining, metal stamping, jigs and fixtures, wire EDM and secondary tooling.

For more information, go to


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LASERdur Bending Tools ®

Laser beam makes tools tougher

Bending tools experience extreme force, abrasion and subsequent wear and are manufactured from high-tensile strength steel. Although stronger and more durable than steel, even high tensile materials are subject to limited tool life that hinders productivity and accuracy. To dramatically increase the life and accuracy of press brake tooling, TRUMPF uses its own laser technology in a surface hardening process called Laserdur. A result of TRUMPF’s experience in laser welding, the Laserdur process is a perfect application for the precise control and intense heat of the TruFlow laser. Cast iron and different steels can be accurately hardened with the laser beam. The most important characteristics of this method are a steep temperature gradient in the beam zone with a simultaneously limited and controlled effective depth and a short temperature cycle. The resulting low thermal stress positively influences the shape and dimensional accuracy of the workpiece. The Laserdur surface hardening process developed by TRUMPF utilizes a TruFlow laser to quickly heat the tool surface to more than 900 degrees Celsius. The tool is then quenched (without distortion) and tempered to produce a hard martensitic layer at the surface. Optimum laser output and controlled heat influx during the process yields uniform hardening at a depth of up to 3mm along the entire length of the tool. Tools hardened with the Laserdur process can have a hardness reaching 62 HRC (Rockwell C-scale hardness). In comparison, conventional hardening methods result in 55 – 58 HRC. Additionally, only the surface of the tool is hardened. The inside of the tool remains unaffected, and should the tool experience overload, it will not shatter. Using laser hardened bending tools increases productivity and saves money as a result of longer tool life and extended lasting precision. Tools that have been laser hardened can perform 200,000 to 400,000 bends without being damaged. When finally worn, the tools can be refurbished by re-hardening and grinding the tool surfaces. Express Vol.3/07



Lean Manufacturing Q&A with Bob Castonguay, SYNCHRO Manager

Bob Castonguay leads a team of lean manufacturing specialists in Farmington, CT.


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5S workplace organization, Kaizen, Six sigma, ISO 9002. Buzzwords for some, but a way of life for Bob Castonguay, SYNCHRO manager at TRUMPF Inc.

SYNCHRO is a TRUMPF-adapted lean manufacturing initiative based upon the Toyota Production System (TPS). In place since 1998, SYNCHRO has resulted in dramatic improvements in many measurable ways such as – productivity, quality, and profitability. Bob shares his thoughts on SYNCHRO and lean manufacturing. How long have you been involved with lean manufacturing initiatives? Of my over 30 years in manufacturing, 21 have been dedicated to learning and applying TPS improvement initiatives. In addition, I have learned and applied 6 sigma variation reduction techniques since 1994. I have applied these initiatives through consulting firms as well as working directly for private and publicly-held companies. In your experience, what is the most critical element to the success of such initiatives? Without question, the most critical element when implementing any lean manufacturing initiative is full support from senior management. This commitment is imperative to success at any level because the changes are so fundamental. What prompted TRUMPF to adopt SYNCHRO? In the mid 1990’s, sales increases, customer demands for higher quality, requests for shorter delivery times and reduced inventory levels made TRUMPF realize that we had to fundamentally change the way we produced our products. The only way to satisfy all of these demands while remaining competitive and profitable was to implement a program that allowed us to improve all aspects of our organization. TRUMPF has adapted the Toyota Production System (TPS) as a basis for SYNCHRO. What are the differences? Fundamentally, there is no real difference between the two philosophies other than the obvious naming conventions. The TPS system has been around since the early 1960’s since it was developed at Toyota Motors in Japan. TRUMPF embraced the TPS philosophy and methods in 1998 within its production areas world-wide. What steps were taken to implement SYNCHRO? The first step for adopting SYNCHRO was the transfer of knowledge from Toyota-trained consultants who were utilized in the teach-do method of improvement. Once this transfer took place, TRUMPF started with the single piece flow assembly – away from static station assembly to an indexed flow assembly for TruPunch and TruLaser machines. The overall improvements from this have been remarkable. > Express Vol.3/07



Ray Fournier, SYNCHRO device coordinator and Bob Castonguay, SYNCHRO manager.

Is SYNCHRO a team-based or top-down initiative? To be successful SYNCHRO really needs to be both. For our business to stay competitive in today’s markets, SYNCHRO needs to be actively supported and lived by senior management. By walking-the-walk they “lead by example” and send a strong message to all employees that they are actively committed to the improvement process. By utilizing the team-based approach it is much easier to get waste identified, acknowledged and removed. Here at TRUMPF, senior managers actively get involved on SYNCHRO improvement teams as either a team leader or team member. In doing so, they demonstrate their commitment to the process and to waste elimination through teamwork. How many SYNCHRO workshops are held per year? The SYNCHRO workshop is a driving force to analyze and improve methods and identify and eliminate waste. In our Farmington facility we have held over 50 production-based workshops per year over the past two years. As of September 2006, we have introduced the office SYNCHRO initiative within all of our administrative areas which has supported many additional office32

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related workshops. Our target is to complete a minimum of 12 workshops per month (both production & office combined). For fiscal year 06/07 we are on track to complete over 100 total workshops. Not a small feat! Where have the best results been realized? So far, our production areas have generated the best results because they have had such a large head start. Specifically, converting over our final assembly operations from a static station assembly to an indexed flow assembly operation based upon customer takt time has yielded the most significant improvements. The significance of this seemingly subtle improvement has radically changed our overall need to always be on-time with the highest quality components to ensure process flow. What is the biggest challenge when adapting SYNCHRO? The greatest challenge is always holding the gains. Coming up with continuous improvement ideas to implement on a dayto-day basis is easier than sustaining the implemented improvements. Being vigilant and unrelenting toward eliminating waste is critical to SYNCHRO’s success.

Has SYNCHRO ever resulted in the reduction of workforce? On the contrary, it has provided existing employees enhanced job security through cross-training initiatives. An employee becomes more valuable to TRUMPF and to his or herself by learning more skills. How has SYNCHRO been adapted in the office? Office SYNCHRO improvement methods have recently been kicked off here in Farmington on a formal basis in September of 2006. Our SYNCHRO Core team manages the overall initiative and works closely with a select group of office liaison personnel representing all of the major administrative groups. The 4 step office SYNCHRO approach consists of; Step 1 – Improving self-organization, Step 2 – Rules for teamwork, Step 3 – Improving processes and Step 4 – Steering with key figures. Thus far the Office SYNCHRO initiative has been very successful and is underway in all production and administrative office areas. Do TRUMPF customers ever ask for advice on lean manufacturing? Yes, most of the customer inquires come to us in the form of a request to host a core team of customers. We typically prepare a customized

DISCUSSION Matthias Wild, SYNCHRO core team specialist, works out a plan with Bob Castonguay.

short training presentation on SYNCHRO along with a guided plant tour to discuss detailed SYNCHRO improvements we have implemented. We also from time-to-time are asked to visit select customers and suggest SYNCHRO based improvements to help them optimize their operational performance etc. What are some common misconceptions about applying lean manufacturing initiatives? There are three that immediately come to mind which can really effect a successful implementation of lean manufacturing. The first misconception would be the misguided belief that everything is going just fine right now, so why change? The second misconception would be that it sounds like a good idea to go lean, but that we are just too busy to find the time to just do it. The third misconception is that it is a “silver bullet” and will fi x everything quickly. Does lean manufacturing make sense in a lowquantity environment? Utilizing lean manufacturing techniques makes sense in any environment! Low volume/ high volume, repetitive/job shop environments all have the same customer requirements; the prime directive for any business should be to produce what is needed, when it is needed and in the quantity needed. What really does not make sense is trying to justify why these lean manufacturing techniques will not work in one’s localized environments. What advice would you give to companies just starting a lean manufacturing initiative? The most important advice I can give would be to have the senior management of a company

seriously considering making lean a part of its “DNA”, to go out and benchmark with several mature world-class companies who have already undergone the transformation. Ideally these benchmarked companies would also have processes closely resembling their operations. This will allow the team to ask questions and also see in real-time what a well structured lean enterprise operation looks like. What would you suggest as the next steps toward implementation? The next step would be for this team to return home to their business and put a core team in place. The team would be tasked with developing a lean roadmap and project plan which includes selecting an internal lean champion and a short term lean external consultant to work with the champion. Ideally, the lean roadmap and project plan would consist of sub-plans such as a training roll-out plan, a structured kaizen workshop plan, a resource plan and other critical elements which will involve every major business process and its employees. Once the plan is in place, it should be marketed by senior management, formally kickedoff, measured and amended as required. The rest of implementing a lean initiative will involve taking risks, making mistakes, having unending passion for improvement and demanding local area accountability for meeting lean based key figure targets, etc. Although the project will be extremely challenging, the resulting improvement in productivity, quality and profitability make the effort worth it.

“An employee becomes more valuable to TRUMPF and to his or herself by learning more skills.”

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Ken Kipe, vice president of Hitch Things.

Hitch Things hits big with transport attachments for trailer hitch receivers – and in OEM subcontracting, too.


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They’re a hit! (With a hitch.) Opportunity didn’t just knock. It broke down the door. Six years ago, Brian Wise was looking for a way to haul his ATV without having to use a trailer. While developing a product to meet his hauling needs, he realized he had stumbled upon an exploding market – a perfect storm of convergence between the fast growth of the SUV and pickup truck markets along with those of motorcycles and all terrain vehicles (ATVs). With approximately 12.5 million ATVs and motorcycles in the United States (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America), the burgeoning ATV and motorcycle accessories market inspired Brian to start an entirely new business dedicated to products for easy transport of anything that needed to be “hauled” – Hitch Things in Chambersburg, PA. This inspiration would quickly prove to be a profitable endeavor for the former trailer manufacturer. In fact, Brian’s new company was so successful that after just one year of operation more manufacturing space was needed to keep up with demands and the company moved to its current location with 36,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Hitch Things produces and directly sells a range of easy-to-load platforms and pickup truck bed ramps for ATVs and motorcycles. These


Reflection of Jeremy Wenger, president.

“With our TRUMPF equipment the door is wide open for inventions and possibilities.” include innovative high-quality, one-piece platforms and increased traction loading ramps. One of their more innovative and popular products is the LIFT PRO, which takes the ordinary hitch receiver-mounted platform to a new level. The LIFT PRO eases loading by using a 12-volt motor to lower the storage platform to ground level. Then it’s simply a matter of rolling the vehicle on and electrically raising the platform to its transport height. The LIFT PRO is currently being redesigned to specifically target the medical power wheelchair market. With popular products and a venture into subcontract manufacturing Hitch Things became a big hit in the marketplace. So much so that Brian Wise sold the business this year to a partnership of Bruce Boyer, Jeremy Wenger and Ken Kipe. Bruce, whose primary business is continuing care retirement facilities, was looking to diversify his holdings. He is the majority owner and chairman. Ken is the vice president and Jeremy is the new president. Ken and Jeremy were previously, and still are, in charge of the company’s rapidly expanding manufacturing operations. “We are excited about the potential and endless possibilities that exist in the future,” Jeremy said.

Quality and creativity sharpen their competitive edge This is not to say that Jeremy and Hitch Things’ 25 employees don’t have competition. To meet it head-on, they add creativity to their quality to maintain a competitive advantage. For instance, Jeremy told us that, “a lot of the platforms on the market have a structural metal frame with an expanded metal screen welded inside. What we do is take a solid piece of sheet metal, punch holes in it to make it appear like expanded metal and then we form and weld it to make a tray that’s a complete one-piece structure. We see that as better than everything else that’s out there from a platform (strength) standpoint.” They even found a way to improve the simple loading ramp by doing a punch and form operation instead of using the conventional diamond plate found on most ramps. This creates a loading surface with greater grip. “If you’ve ever tried walking on wet diamond plate, you know how slippery it can get,” said Jeremy. “Our ramps are designed to provide much higher traction.” Jeremy added that the company will introduce products to carry different types of vehicles outside the recreational arena. “With our TRUMPF equipment the door is wide open for inventions and possibilities. For instance, we’re looking at expanding our hitch- > Express Vol.3/07



Hitch Things president Jeremy Wenger.

“We provide ‘kanban’-style delivery for our customers, with two-day turnarounds in some case.” related products business (into areas outside the recreational markets),” he said.

Hitching their wagon to the subcontracting star Adding to their success in hitch transport products is a fast growing business in subcontract manufacturing of a range of OEM products for customer companies. “We fabricate all kinds of parts in many diverse and different industries that range from the trailer industry to the elevator industry,” said Jeremy. “We also build a lot of tool boxes; we fabricate, weld, powder coat and assemble which enables us to be a one-stop shop for trailer tongue toolboxes, underbody toolboxes and whatever our customers’ needs are,” adds Jeremy. Manufacturing their own products and for customer companies keeps Hitch Things busy running two ten-hour shifts, five days a week. “We even do a little bit of lights out running, too,” said Jeremy. This includes their three TRUMPF TruLaser 5030 machines that are integrated with an automated STOPA material handling system. They also have two TRUMPF press brakes (TRUMPF V230 and TRUMPF C120) and a TRUMPF TruPunch 5000. They work in a wide range of metals and thicknesses: steel, aluminum and stainless from 20 gauge to one-inch. 36

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“We work closely to help them make their products as competitive as can be.”

Jeremy Wenger inspects a part that’s just been fabricated.

Jeremy Wenger, Chairman Bruce Boyer and Ken Kipe lead the team at Hitch Things.

Something wonderful, right away

also takes on prototyping for customers. “We help some of our customers design some of their products. We work closely to help them improve their products to stay ahead of the competition.” Jeremy has spent his entire career in manufacturing, starting out as a shear and press brake operator. “And I kind of progressed along the way,” he said. He progressed, indeed – all the way up to president of a fast-growing company. When not managing Hitch Things, Jeremy’s other important job title is that of father to four young children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing softball, basketball, golf and participating in church activities. But running Hitch Things keeps him plenty busy. “We’re always looking for new customers, including those who need to manufacture unique products. We’re ready to take on new customers and new challenges.” With, or without, a hitch.

The never-ending drive for efficiency means that most customers demand just-in-time delivery. Hitch Things is happy to accommodate them. “We provide “JIT”-style delivery for our customers, with same-day turnaround in some cases,” he said. “We’ve even made a commitment to some of our customers to store inventory of their parts and work-in-process products to deliver either that day or the next day. We get creative in ways to help our customers be more efficient and keep their inventories lower.” Hitch Things can produce finished pieces straight from CAD drawings. “We use the TRUMPF TruTops software and do all of our programming off-line from the design office,” said Jeremy. “We can work from a variety of input. Sometimes it’s even simple hand drawings a customer may give us, or CAD drawings sent by e-mail.” The company

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A unique bird: This “Beaver” will be the world’s first airborne model airplane to be fabricated entirely in aluminum and absolutely true to the original. The full-size predecessor dates back to the 1940s and became a worldwide legend as the classic bush plane.

The roar of the engine A laser cutting machine and 3-D CAD program were intended to make metal fabrication easier and faster. In fact, they made it possible for proprietor Harald Müller to develop a product for a unique market niche.

The model is true to the original, rib for rib. Left to right: the fuselage, its internal structure and wing without skin.


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IDEAS Some dreams can come true and true to scale. This dream, at a 1:2.5 scale, with a wingspan of almost six meters, is nearly four meters in length. A radial engine, in which the cylinders are arranged like fingers around the propeller shaft, clatters in the nose, just like in the original. Those five cylinders deliver 23 horsepower and move the 155 pound airframe through the air at 62 miles per hour. This alone makes this model airplane something special. However, up to three years ago, the DHC2 Beaver would have been grounded. It was then a new weight class encompassing units of up to 330 pounds was introduced for model airplanes in Germany. “This increase means much more than just larger aircraft,” explained the father of the Beaver model. “In this order of magnitude it is at last possible to build in metal, just like the original.

An idea based on fun Harald Müller and his 30 employees manufacture sheet metal and tube components and construct trade fair booths and stage structures. Müller initially began developing his airworthy metal models simply for the fun of it. Among the initial purposes was to test and demonstrate the capabilities offered by his laser flatbed machine, the TRUMATIC L 3030 (TruLaser 3030), and the 3-D CAD software for very detailed, complex components. “But the idea of building such a model in short production runs and marketing them was in the back of my mind from the very beginning”, say Müller. It was in his own company that he found the perfect collaborator for this project. While Harald Müller, a specialist in lightweight sheet metal, dealt with the structure and skin, Manfred Schimmel, a trained aircraft mechanic, tended to the model-building needs. It is to his credit that the Beaver not only looks like the original de Havilland airframe, but flies like it, too. In their search for the components they decided not to manufacture themselves — the engine, for example — Müller and Schimmel contacted a small circle of enthusiasts for larger model airplanes. “In Germany this size class was and is new,” Müller explains, “but in the USA, Canada and the Emirates, for example, there is a firmly established community of fliers.” He has identified additional potential customers in Japan and England, both more densely populated, but also with an affi nity for technology, adventure and aviation. And no matter whom he speaks with, the model builders are enthusiastic about the prospect of flying an aircraft with close similarities to the original in its engineering and materials.

The luxury aviator niche Müller and Schimmel remain as faithful as possible to the original design, rib for rib right down to the 12,000 aluminium rivets. Such detail is the only way his model will be attractive to his target clientele. This effort remains within the realm of the feasible and affordable because most parts are programmed in the CAD system and are then laser cut, including the rivet holes. Harald Müller is confident: “We have a number of serious prospects and estimate that we will be able to sell about five units per year.” That is quite a respectable figure if one considers that each

aircraft costs about as much as a larger model BMW. But that’s the way it is with hobbies: “There are some people who pay just as much for a wrist watch. Others cannot imagine anything finer than a perfect model airplane,” says Müller. To ensure that the Beaver remains truly perfect, it is to be offered in three versions from the very beginning. Thus, just like the original, it can land on pontoons, wheels or skis. The pilot won’t alight from the plane. Instead he will be seen a few yards away on the shore, in the snow or a field, with the remote controls at his waist, happy as a child at Christmas.

> Additional information: > The model: Michael Sellner, Phone: +49 (0) 7156 303–5372; E-mail: The original:

> Specialists for special products Company name: Founded: Staff: Product line:

Harald Müller Sonder-Metallbau GmbH 1980 30 Sheet metal and tubular components as single units or in small production runs, including surface finishing such as painting or galvanizing; special structures such as demanding stage and movie sets; metal airplane models TRUMPF machinery: TRUMATIC L 3030 (TruLaser 3030), TrumaBend V130 Internet:

Where there’s a hobby, there’s also a market: The prototype at a gathering of model plane owners. But until it has received the required certification, the DHC-2 “Beaver” will have to stay on the ground. Express Vol.3/07



CREDITS TRUMPF Express Volume 3, 2007 Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing Published by TRUMPF Inc. Farmington, CT 06032

Sharing the Vision

Responsible for the content Sheila LaMothe Editor-in-chief Catherine Flynn 860-255-6112 Editorial staff Kristina DiGirolamo Mike Gordon Susan Grohs Sheila LaMothe Karen Miller pr+co. gmbh, Stuttgart

In November of 2006, Nikka – a Fidelco guide dog puppy, became a member of the TRUMPF marketing department where she works and trains with Sheila LaMothe, foster mom and marketing manager. Sheila LaMothe with Nikka

What is Fidelco? The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation was founded by Charlie Kaman, former president and CEO of Kaman Industries, and Robbie, his wife and co-founder. Kaman Industries is a long-time customer of TRUMPF. Fidelco began in 1960 as an organization where the Kamans carefully bred German shepherds and donated them to guide dog schools throughout the U.S. In 1981, with their 21 years of experience breeding German shepherds and a desire to see more of their dogs placed in the New England area, they decided to open a training center in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Why does Nikka train at TRUMPF? A large percentage of Fidelco graduates (persons with visual impairments who have gone through the application and training process and have received a Fidelco guide dog) have careers and work on a daily basis. Guide dogs help them through their regular routine, so it is imperative that Fidelco guide dogs be experienced in the workplace. Nikka spends her days in TRUMPF’s marketing department learning skills to help her future partner get through a busy work day. She lies quietly next to her foster mom’s desk until 40

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called upon to accompany her to a meeting, deliver paperwork, etc. Her training at TRUMPF is paying off – she’s so quiet that department members frequently forget she is even there and visitors to the department often do not realize that a dog is present – although the crate next to Sheila’s desk sometimes gives it away. How long will Nikka train at TRUMPF? Nikka will train at TRUMPF until she is about 11/2 years old. Then, she will return to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation where she will work with a professional trainer for six to nine months. Once she has completed the training process, she will be placed with a Fidelco graduate. Fidelco has grown to become a national foundation and currently has dogs placed in 32 states as well as in four Canadian provinces. While we don’t know if she will be placed on the West Coast, East Coast or Midwest – one thing is for sure – Nikka will give an invaluable gift to her new partner – independence. For more information on the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation please visit

Design and production John Mik, MIK Advertising Printing and assembly Paladin Commercial Printers LLC Authors Robert Devol Mike Gordon David Hogg Stephen Hypsh Sheila LaMothe pr+co. Todd Rosenthal Photographs Steve Adams Photography Connecticut Science Center David Joel Scott Morrison Hayman Studio of Commercial Photography Inc. Frederic Neema Pirak Studios Unlimited pr+co. South Carolina Chamber of Commerce TRUMPF Archive WET Design

Making a Splash At McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, amongst the hustle and commotion of fabricators and metalworkers at FABTECH 2007 stands the silent elegance of water. It is here that WET Design conveys the delicate beauty, robust movement and translucent texture of water. WET fabricates their devices with TRUMPF precision machinery, with

each component, bracket, instrument, and bulb uniting to paint an image frozen in the spotlight. WET’s fountains demonstrate the simple grace of systems that are anything but simplistic. With TRUMPF technology and endless imagination, WET Design perfects the fluid mechanics of fluid dynamics – and leaves a captivated audience in its wake.


Experience our Expertise Family tree rooted deeply at Flory Industries. Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing in North America A look inside T...


Experience our Expertise Family tree rooted deeply at Flory Industries. Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing in North America A look inside T...