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16 Designing with Light 23 Single-Head Laser Improves Cutting Productivity 32 Creating a Smooth Ride with MOR/ryde

Express Magazine for

Sheet Metal Processing in North America

Volume 4, 2007 The machinery pacemaker New TRUMPF software makes work more productive than ever before. See page 19

Building Long-Term Customer Partnerships Counterpart creates partnerships to take on big, tough jobs.

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Demonstration part cut on the TruLaser 3530.






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16 Designing with Light ERCO sees light as the fourth dimension in architecture and sheet metal plays a pivotal role.


23 One Cutting Head – Many Benefits TheTruLaser 5030 NEW incorporates a single cutting head strategy designed to reduce downtime, while maintaining quality and efficiency.


24 Getting a Quality Cut Laser technology gives a manufacturer of zero-turn lawn mowers – and those who ride them – a cut to be proud of.


28 Tooling 101 Q & A with Carl Peterhansel, tool division manager, TRUMPF Inc.



Counterpart creates partnerships to take on big, tough jobs. Even if one of those jobs happens to be a Green Monster.

TO THE POINT 05 A Complete Solution Hardware, software, and services need to work together for maximum success. “Complete solutions” can offer simplicity with a cost-efficient edge.

Carl Peterhansel discusses the advancement of TRUMPF’s tooling department, and what we can expect for the future.


32 Creating a Smooth Ride An Indiana manufacturer shares how the right attitude, commitment to quality, speed and service pave the way for success.

Building Long-Term Partnerships



37 Together We Can Perseverance and diversity in the face of adversity pay off for Regal Research as the company goes from nearly closing to becoming successful in numerous industries.

06 19 40 40


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al for today’s manufacturers, so product developm cation to innovation that result in technological adva must of your partner. These factors enable you to nership with your supplier, giving you the security mitment you make today will be supported five ye road. You want the best solution for the job cou anteed success, and you want it fast with the lowes You want to feel confident that the product purcha en track record through a significant installation base erformance can be attested to by others. Being com al for today’s manufacturers, so product developm cation to innovation that result in technological adva must of your partner. These factors enable you to nership with your supplier, giving you the security mitment you make today will be supported five ye road. You want the best solution for the job cou anteed success, and you want it fast with the lowes You want to feel confident that the product purcha en track record through a significant installation base erformance can be attested to by others. Being com al for today’s manufacturers, so product developm cation to innovation that result in technological adva must of your partner. These factors enable you to nership with your supplier, giving you the security mitment you make today will be supported five ye road. You want the best solution for the job cou anteed success, and you want it fast with the lowes You want to feel confident that the product purcha en track record through a significant installation base erformance can be attested to by others. Being com al for today’s manufacturers, so product developm cation to innovation that result in technological adva must of your partner. These factors enable you to nership with your supplier, giving you the security mitment you make today will be supported five ye d

hardware + software + service =


Rolf Biekert, President and CEO

A Complete Solution Finding the best solution to a difficult problem is never easy, especially in a world of complex equipment that comes with a high level of integration of different components and technologies. Learning the intricacies of various machines and how components from different suppliers work together can often be time consuming, risky, and can turn out to be disappointing in the long-term. In order for your company to be successful, you want the best “complete solution” to your problem. Yet, what is it that you as a customer expect in a “complete solution”, how can we provide it for you, and what does it say about TRUMPF as a company that we can be your “complete solution”? A “complete solution” can mean many things, but it often comes back to a few main points. You want the best solution for the job coupled with guaranteed success, and you want it fast with the lowest possible risk. You want to feel confident that the product purchased has a proven track record through a significant installation base and that its performance can be attested to by others. Being competitive is crucial for today’s manufacturers, so product development and a dedication to innovation that result in technological advancements is a must of your partner. These factors enable you to develop a partnership with your supplier, giving you the security that the commitment you make today will be supported five years down the road. TRUMPF understands what it means to offer a “complete solution” by providing you with a complete package of hardware, software and services. In this case, “hardware” refers to our extensive product portfolio which runs the gamut from laser cutting and punching machines,

to press brakes and laser technology. Software is often overlooked in the fabricating industry, but not at TRUMPF. Who better to design software than the company that designed the machine? Our TruTops software provides programming, integration and job control to enable our customers to get the most out of their TRUMPF equipment. But, TRUMPF goes beyond simply providing machines and software. We offer extensive customer services that include: technical support, telediagnostics, preventative maintenance, lean manufacturing consulting, spare parts, and standard and custom tooling. Our world class training facility in Farmington, Connecticut offers a complete curriculum of operator, maintenance and software training and is staffed by 12 fulltime trainers. We now also offer our customers financing options to assist them with the purchase of their TRUMPF fabricating equipment. As a “complete solution”, TRUMPF customers depend on us and that means a large commitment on our behalf. In order to be able to provide solutions that will meet your future requirements, we watch the market closely, and create products that address the market’s needs now and years from now. As a technology leader, we continually push ourselves to produce quality products that are quick to market. TRUMPF takes its long-term commitment to its customers seriously and knows that price, speed, quality, flexibility and support will allow us to stay competitive and garner your confidence, trust and business. Of course, you are free to take advantage of one or all of our services, based on your needs and preferences. But, if you want a “complete solution” for your fabricating needs, you can count on TRUMPF.

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TruPunch 2020: TRUMPF Marks 500th Machine Punching technology continues to gain momentum in industry The TruPunch 2020 was first built in March of 2001 and the machine is produced at TRUMPF’s North American headquarters in Farmington, CT. The TruPunch machine is the product of a design concept of Peter Leibinger’s when he was chief engineer at TRUMPF Inc. The TruPunch 2020 gives users complete confidence for completing production quickly and efficiently. The integrated automation unit loads the machines with blank sheets and unloads micro-jointed sheets. The automatic load and unload cycle is unique to the TruPunch 2020 machine and increases productivity, while decreasing downtime and labor costs. With an intelligent punching head which rotates all tools 360° on the C axis to any angle, fewer tools are required and unnecessary tool changes are eliminated. TRUMPF’s 500th TruPunch 2020 machine was completed in mid-October 2007 and will be exported to India, with a home in one of India’s leading hi-precision sheet metal fabrication companies.

TruPunch 2020 > Additional information: Mike Morissette, 860-255-6036 E-mail:

Daniel T. Ariens Recognized With Eli Whitney Productivity Award Significant contributions in lean manufacturing garner recognition for company president Daniel T. Ariens, President and CEO of Ariens Company received the Eli Whitney Productivity Award for his distinguished accomplishments in improving capability within the broad concept of orderly production. The Eli Whitney Productivity Award is one of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ International Honor Awards which recognize significant contributions to the field of manufacturing engineering. Ariens Company is a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, founded by Daniel Ariens’ great-grandfather, Henry Ariens, in 1933. Daniel continues to build on a long history of manufacturing premium-quality products and is credited with taking the reigns of a 72 year old family business and turning it into a lean manufacturing leader. Just as TRUMPF shares the principles of its lean program, SYNCHRO, with Connecticut area businesses, Daniel has shared his lean expertise with other companies serving on several boards in the Green Bay area and regularly speaking about lean manufacturing at conferences and seminars. Daniel Ariens in his office


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A look inside Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins Makes BusinessWeek Magazine’s List of the 50 Best Performing Companies in U.S. First appearance attributed to Rockwell’s true management excellence Rockwell Collins made their first appearance in BusinessWeek Magazine’s list of the 50 best performing companies in the United States, in the 11th annual BW50, ranking 24th. The companies in the BW50 represent BusinessWeek’s choices as the “Best in Class” from each of the ten sectors that make up the S & P 500. BusinessWeek used a propriety

screen which emphasized how well each company’s management has been using its capitol and sales growth to determine this year’s top performers. Rockwell Collins, a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronics solutions for both commercial and government

applications, has been established as a company of true management excellence upon review by BusinessWeek. Sharing a commitment to helping customers advance their goals through technology and innovation, Rockwell Collins uses TRUMPF precision press brakes in the production of their products.

TRUMPF presents Annual distributor awards Annual distributor meeting recognizes accomplishments of TRUMPF’s North American distributors TRUMPF’s annual distributor meeting is a time to recognize the accomplishments of their North American distributors. This year, TRUMPF Inc. presented awards of sales achievement to Advanced Fabricating Machinery, Fabricating Machine Tools, LTD, and Hegman Machine Tools. The top award for Outstanding Distributor Performance went to Fabricating Machine Tools, LTD of Cleveland, OH in recognition of their exceptional performance in selling TRUMPF products during the past fiscal year. Advanced Fabricating Machinery of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada won the Sustained Excellence Award for their consistent performance in selling TRUMPF products, and in acknowledgment of their dedicated and successful efforts to increase the sales and support of TRUMPF products during the past fiscal year. Hegman Machine Tools of Maple Grove, MN took home the Most Improved Performance Award. Wayne Koppenhofer, who has announced his retirement from Fabricating Machine Tools, received special recognition at the event for his many years of dedication and commitment to TRUMPF products. Burke Doar, VP of Marketing for TRUMPF, presenting the Annual Distributor Award

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Executives from Hytrol E Accept Award from President Bush

Hytrol Receives Presidential “E” Award, for Excellence in Exporting First recipient of the “E” Award for an Arkansas company in over 10 years Hytrol Conveyor Company has received the highest honor the federal government can give to an American exporting company, the Presidential “E” Award, for excellence in exporting. The award was presented to Hytrol Conveyor Company by Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, along with President Bush himself at the White House. The “E” Award serves to recognize U.S. firms for their competitive achievements in world markets and their part in increasing U.S.

exports abroad. With 60-years of success in the material handling industry, Hytrol has spent the past 15 years striving to expand beyond the domestic market to become a global player in the industry. Over a four year period, export sales have increased by 90 %, an outstanding feat making Hytrol the first recipient of the “E” Award approved for an Arkansas company in over 10 years. Hytrol and TRUMPF share a dedication to serving the global market, as they continue to develop new markets around the world.

Von Duprin Shines Through in an Emergency Company relies on TRUMPF technology to assist in the production of their life saving products. In a world where you never know what may happen next, it is good to know that Von Duprin puts safety first. A manufacturer of a wide range of exit devices and outside trim operations, Von Duprin has added the new E996L Lever Trim to their line of innovative products that provide the ultimate in fire and life safety protection. The E996L lever trim contains a unique patented breakaway lever design and combines it with an electrified lock/unlock function. This provides a building with stairwell security during normal operational times, yet gives the option of connection to the central fire alarm system, which can simultaneously unlock all trims when the fire alarm is triggered. This innovative design can eliminate potentially life threatening situations from occurring during fire emergencies. With product reliability being of the utmost importance, Von Duprin relies on TRUMPF technology to assist in the production of their life saving products. Life-saving in action with Von Duprin’s inpact nurse product


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> For more information, please visit:


A Dryer That Saves Money and Saves the World American Dryer Corp launches Dry EcoSmart program Building a park and building dreams

Bringing Play Back to Children and Their Families Taylor Park rebuild part of “Operation Playground” Playworld Systems Inc. is dedicated to bringing play back to the children and families of the areas ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Playworld Systems teamed up with non-profit organization KaBOOM! and the New Orleans Recreation Department to rebuild one of New Orleans oldest parks, Taylor Park, originally dedicated in 1912. Taylor Park, whose playground equipment was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, now has all new playground equipment donated by Playworld Systems, a leader in customized recreation equipment, at an estimated value of $100,000. Dedicated to providing children in the New Orleans community with a safe and fun place to play, more than 300 associates and distributors of Playworld Systems from across the country helped to rebuild the playground. This build is part of Operation Playground, a two-year commitment by KaBOOM! to build 100 playgrounds in Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As a company strongly committed to supporting the community, TRUMPF is happy to play a role in the fabrication of the playground equipment.

“What if a dryer could help you save money, and help save the world too?” asked American Dryer Corp. as they launched their new program, Dry EcoSmart. The program, developed in order to alert the industry and end users to the savings in energy usage and utility costs provided by their Solaris brand dryer, is a result of American Dryer Corporation’s longstanding commitment to the environment and to helping laundry owners reduce operating costs. Solaris dryers use up to 30% less energy, saving energy costs and protecting the environment without substantially altering drying times. “You could say that Solaris is the first green dryer in the commercial market. It requires less energy due to its solid drum with 100% axial airflow and its double-paned door glass,” said John Olsen, VP of sales. ADC began to design dryers that used less energy in 1999. > To learn more about Dry EcoSmart visit:

American Dryer Corporation’s New EcoSmart Dryer

TRUMPF Group Closes the Books on its 2006/07 Fiscal Year Strong economy and demand for product contributed to company’s excellent growth The TRUMPF Group has successfully closed the books on its 2006/07 fiscal year. The strong world economy and the high demand for production tools and equipment contributed to the company’s excellent growth as sales grew by 18% to 2.68 billion USD (1.94 billion Euros). Orders received also increased by about 16% to 2.83 billion USD (2.05 billion Euros). With all five of the organization’s business fields contributing to the company’s growth, the strongest gains came from Eastern Europe and Germany. TRUMPF has invested heavily in expanding business to be in closer proximity to customers all over the world, primarily investing in its locations in Germany, North America and Asia. Overall, the number of employees grew by 12% to 7,300 worldwide. Express Vol.4/07



Building Long-Term Customer Partnerships:

Sometimes it’s HUGE. 10

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Boston’s famed Green Monster and scoreboard, which Counterpart helped bring back to life.

Counterpart creates partnerships to take on big, tough jobs. Even if one of those jobs happens to be a Green Monster.

One winter day in 2001 in Brookings, South Dakota Jeff Jacobson saw three semi-tractor trailers roll up to the loading docks of Counterpart, Inc., the company owned by him and Don Deibert. It was a job from their largest customer and Brookings neighbor, Daktronics, a leading manufacturer of electronic displays and scoreboards. This would not be just another job. This was part of a monster: the Green Monster, the storied, 37-foot high wall that separates Fenway Park’s left field from Boston’s Landsdowne Street. It’s the biggest outfield fence in baseball, a sports icon, a virtual national monument, and near and dear to Red Sox fans everywhere. One of the charms behind the Green Monster’s mystique is its quaint, manually operated scoreboard – a scoreboard that was showing its age. So Red Sox management threw > Express Vol.4/07



Two Counterpart employees access their next project.

“(TRUMPF’s) ability to provide training has been a real bonus.” Daktronics a curve by asking for not just a full restoration of the original scoreboard, but also a new manual scoreboard that would be an exact replica of the original right down to the last part. That’s when Daktronics asked Counterpart to step up to the plate. Jeff and Don’s company was more than up to the task. Even so, “when the scoreboard arrived, we were kind of surprised,” said Jeff. No matter. Counterpart is staffed and equipped to handle big projects on a moment’s notice with high quality and fast turnarounds. After offloading the scoreboard, Jeff and Don started an inventory of tasks and soon discovered that the venerable scoreboard has hundreds of different parts. “The odd thing was, there were virtually no common parts, most everything was unique,” said Jeff. 12

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Son of Green Monster is born When the Red Sox’ front office decided to replace their original 15-foot tall by 60-foot long scoreboard, they knew they had a monster by the tail. Would the rabid minions of Red Sox Nation embrace the progeny of the original? At first, the Red Sox were going to restore the old scoreboard and place it on the exterior wall of what was to be a totally new Fenway Park and put the replica scoreboard into service inside the new venue. In the end, the Red Sox decided to renovate and keep playing in the current 95-year-old Fenway Park. But they still needed to replace the scoreboard. To avoid any potential misunderstanding that would lead fans to perceive that their beloved Monster would lose its low-tech charm (which it wouldn’t) the replacement scoreboard was cloaked in secrecy.


“With all our customers, we ask ourselves, ‘what can we do to add value to their product?”

“We built it during the first half of the (2001) season and (the Red Sox) replaced it during the All-Star break so there wouldn’t be much public knowledge,” said Don. The fans are delighted, because the replacement is an exact replica, right down to the original materials. The original scoreboard, meanwhile, has undergone a full, loving restoration and gone into retirement with the distinction of being the world’s largest piece of sports memorabilia. Since then Daktronics and Counterpart have continued to be the birthplaces of the revitalized Green Monster. Jeff recounts many additions to the project over the years. “In 2003 we built 14 more sections to add National League scores and additional advertising space,” he said. “In 2005, we built sections for American League East standings >

A Counterpart employee works on an intricate part for the scoreboard. Express Vol.4/07



“With TRUMPF, we get excellent personal service to help us make the best use of our equipment.”

and add more ad space, with still more panels in 2006.” Counterpart has also built replacement steel panels for the actual wall itself. Working in close concert with Daktronics, they have remanufactured almost the entire left field wall and all its scoreboards.

Jumping through hoops The Green Monster project is a perfect example of what it takes to be the ideal outsourcer – the ability to extend a relationship beyond that of vendor/customer to one that’s partner/partner. Creating and nurturing close partnerships is the cornerstone of Counterpart’s success, if not the inspiration for the company’s memorable name. No matter what the project, understanding the customer’s needs is critical. “We almost become a part of the customer’s organization,” said Jeff. “With all our customers, we ask ourselves, ‘what can we do to add value to their product?’ By taking on more of their internal processes, they can save money on having to handle a part a second time.” Matt Kurtenbach agrees. Matt is the manufacturing manager at Daktronics and relies on Counterpart to add efficiency to the production of Daktronics’ mass produced products. “Counterpart allows us to concentrate on our made-to-order products, the ‘onesietwosie’ items,” said Matt. “They (Counterpart) produce the items that have more volume that can be scheduled in advance.” Matt also appreciates it when Jeff and Don help speed delivery on popular Daktronics products like basketball scoreboards. “This is a high volume product for us and we have a short lead time for our customers,” said Matt. “At one time we’d receive the scoreboard shell from Counterpart and we’d install the wiring harness,” he said. This involved pulling the shells off the delivery pallets from Counterpart, installing the harnesses and 14

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then strapping them back onto the pallets for inventory storage. This was neither efficient nor fast, so Don and Jeff said they’d step outside their company’s traditional role of metals fabricator and install the harnesses at Counterpart. So now the shells delivered to Daktronics stay on their pallets right up to the time they’re custom painted and delivered immediately to each customer. “We save all that extra handling at our end,” said Matt. “Counterpart isn’t the traditional supplier who says, ‘that’s not our business.’ What makes them a partner, rather than a vendor, there’s a great example. A partner steps up and helps you.”

Fast growth, fueled by locale and technology Jeff and Don worked together in manufacturing at their previous jobs at Daktronics. While there, they were awarding contracts to job shops hundreds of miles away while ever-shrinking delivery deadlines created the urgent need for more locally sourced components. “We found they were really in need of (local) fabrication,” said Jeff. What was staring them right in the face was opportunity. So the two did their due diligence, worked up a business plan, and with the blessing and encouragement of the president of Daktronics, founded an independent job shop in their hometown of Brookings.

Born 11 years ago, this baby would grow fast So much so that Jeff and Don have moved into a succession of bigger plants until finally settling on a large plot of land with ample room to grow. Their original facility was 35,000 square feet. Last year they expanded to their current 50,000 square feet and are a major employer in their area with more than 85 employees. “Our company growth has been somewhat

phenomenal,” said Jeff. “We’re growing at a rate of over 30 percent a year.” Chances are, Counterpart will be pushing out the walls again – and soon. But they’re ready for it. “We have room for another 30,000 square feet,” said Don. Counterpart has many on-going customer partnerships, most in heavy industry. Aside from Daktronics, this includes a manufacturer of bodies with storage compartments for service maintenance trucks used by gas and electric utility companies. Counterpart turns out approximately 750 of these bodies, nine to 15-feet long, each year. “What we do is their standard product,” said Jeff. “With our technology, we can do it for less than our


A Counterpart employee uses a portable machine tool to weld a part in place.

customer can in-house,” he said. That technology includes six pieces of TRUMPF equipment – a 2D laser cutter, 2 punching machines and 3 press brakes. “Our TRUMPF 3030 (TruLaser 3030) opened up a lot of avenues for us that allow heavier gauge materials,” said Don. Their TRUMPF TC 5000 punching machine’s (TruPunch 5000) are fully automated, “which is a big key for us,” said Don. “With TRUMPF, we get excellent personal service to help us make the best use of our equipment. Their ability to provide training has been a real bonus.” And it could be just what they need for when the next monster job rolls up to their door. Express Vol.4/07


Designing (with) Light ERCO sees light as the fourth dimension in architecture. Sheet metal plays a pivotal role.

Edwin Owen is beaming, and he has two good reasons for that. His employer, ERCO Leuchten GmbH in Germany currently enjoys one of the finest names in expert illumination worldwide, and as the manager of the metalworking department, he plays an important role. ERCO’s sheet metal is moving forward, becoming a decisive factor in the roughand-tumble illumination industry. ERCO specializes in architectural illumination and sees itself as an “illumination factory.” True to course, this family firm — founded 16

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in 1934 – attaches great importance to selling not lamps, but illumination. In the ERCO hierarchy, diaphanous light itself is far superior to the hardware known as the “lamp.” Their philosophy has made its mark on the company’s work for decades. The results of this passion for light, consistently put into practice, can be seen around the globe in museums, industrial buildings, office buildings and showcase shopping malls.

Lamps as tools For building owners, architects and illumination designers alike, the lamp is a tool used to solve a demanding assignment. No one structure is identical to any other, every illumination setting demands a custom solution, and every building owner has his own professional or artistic vision. The lamp, as a tool, is the final link in a complex chain of light. If a standard unit selected from the lamp catalog does not exactly fit the bill, then modifications or special solutions can be devised — flexibly, quickly and cost-efficiently. It is at this point in the process when Edwin Owen’s phone most likely rings. Since January of 2007, Owen has been able to pick up the receiver with far greater composure when the fastidious ERCO clientele calls. His newly outfitted sheet metal processing center allows him to translate even the most unusual wishes into reality — and at short notice, too. The heart of the configuration is two TruBend press brakes and the TRUMATIC 6000 L, (TruMatic 6000) combined punching and laser cutting machine, with a fully automated sheet metal feed and removal unit. Complex sheet metal components, such as those required for the inside of a lamp, can be manufactured all at the same time using this combined-capability machine. The punching head punches holes, embosses edges, bends tabs and taps threads. The laser beam cuts free-form contours absolutely free of burrs, eliminating any need for reworking. “We have worked with TRUMPF press brakes for almost 30 years, but this new generation represents a quantum leap forward in our sheet metal processing chain,” says Owen. In fact, productivity has risen by 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the component involved.

(Pictured at top): The German Bundestag (lower chamber of the national parliament), Berlin (Pictured above): For ERCO, making good architecture even better by way of perfect illumination is both a corporate objective and a cultural contribution.

From odd jobber to master craftsman Owen, an athletic figure in his mid-forties, has been a member of the ERCO family for thirty years now. He started out at age 16 doing odd jobs for the company, then took advantage of the firm’s generous apprenticeship and in-service training programs. Since then, he has worked his way up to pre-processing department manager. Even though he now heads up a team of 90 employees and no longer works at a machine, Owen just can’t seem to keep his hands off sheet metal. Does he still remember his first TRUMPF model? “I most certainly can!” recalled Owen.” That was in 1979 and it was a TRUMATIC 150 W with SNC 814 controls and teletype-like punched paper strips. At that time you still used a pocket calculator and loads of brainpower for programming.” But he can also remember times when sheet metal was not the material of choice at ERCO. In an effort to distinguish its own products from those of the competition, the company placed its faith in complex

cast designs for several years. Some smaller manufacturers could not afford the expensive tooling required, but that advantage evaporated when Chinese producers appeared on the market. With requirements in terms of speed and flexibility continuing to grow, the illumination designers in the town of Lüdenscheid turned once again to malleable materials and sought differentiation in both the product and the process. Together with operations manager Martin Neugebauer, Owen has for some years now tinkered with internal processes. Neugebauer sets high standards — and not just in working with sheet metal. “Our vision includes thorough digitalization and extensive automation. We eliminate anything in the process chain that generates unnecessary interfaces and costs time and money. Put simply: No matter where on the planet the order might be entered, the next > Express Vol.4/07


Pyramid at the Louvre Museum, Paris

“The laser beam cuts free-form contours absolutely free of burrs, eliminating any need for reworking.” person to deal with it ought to be the manufacturing employee here in Lüdenscheid. Not the sales staff, not the manufacturing supervisor, not the work preparation specialist, but the guy who actually makes it.”

And so I would ask whether we might able to do that better with laser light.” Well, the answer to this question won’t be long in coming. Because light is something they know all about at ERCO in Lüdenscheid.

Room for ideas The fact that ERCO doesn’t concentrate exclusively on sophisticated technology and refined processes is made clear by the large number of “25-year workers” on the manufacturing team. “25 doesn’t refer to their age but rather to their years in service,” Owen explains. ERCO is a family firm which can be felt in the generously laid-out buildings with their distinguished architectural design. Doors are generally open and many employees have known each other for decades. The workers at ERCO don’t have a personnel number; they have a name. Their opinions are solicited and recognized as important to the company’s success. It was during a recent TRUMPF workshop, “Designing Parts in Sheet,” that Owen became aware of how important the commitment and passion of his colleagues actually was. Interest in that event was initially reserved, particularly in the development and engineering departments, but as Owen commented, “Once people realized how much potential the new sheet metal machining center offered in engineering terms, such as what can be done in terms of design, engineering and manufacturing, there was no holding them back. New ideas simply bubbled over.” Edwin Owen also already has new plans and ideas: “There’s a lot of welding carried out at our company, using widely varying technologies. 18

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A look inside ERCO.


The machinery pacemaker New TRUMPF software makes work more productive than ever before


Toolbar: Quickstart Laser

Automatic processing of a complete part or sheet

Generate NC program

Show current setup plan

Create production package automatically

Show production package

Entirely self-explanatory Toolbar: Quickstart Punch

Add part and create single multi-copy machining

Generate repositioning automatically

Process complete part or sheet automatically – Standard

Optimize execution sequence automatically

Process complete part or sheet automatically (configuration of the process)

Create NC program of sheet

Show current setup plan

Process multi-copy machining with common cuts

Create production package automatically

Trim sheet

Show production package


“During programming we can customize the toolbars, which simplifies use, as do the many keyboard shortcuts in the new versions,” says Gerhard Schwarz from ASW GmbH in Germany. Schwarz and his colleagues were among the first to test the new software in everyday operations. “We particularly appreciate the exceptionally user-friendly interface.” The new software passed initial trials with flying colors. TruTops Punch, TruTops Laser and TruTops CAD are now ready for practical use and TruTops Tube will be rolled out towards the end of the year. The plan was to completely redesign the software,

recommended to make use of all the software’s capabilities. We also suggest taking advantage of our software maintenance contracts to ensure the most recent version is installed on your machine for the highest machine efficiency.” There is a functions navigator matching the machining requirements of each technology. It enables programmers to see quickly and clearly what functions are required, guiding them through the program, step by step.

Fully intuitive operating concept The new user interface is not the only

new TruTops release is no problem at all.” The TRUMPF developers have also made the nesting algorithm much faster and have decisively improved manual nesting. Thus a new version of the nesting library makes for higher nesting processor speeds; new keyboard combinations and shortcuts increase productivity.

A single database Another advantage: The new TruTops versions require only one single database for TruTops CAD, Nest, TruTops Laser, TruTops Tube and TruTops Punch. The common database increases data quality and process reliability

A new concept, a new graphical user interface, new advantages – TRUMPF has completely revamped TruTops software. Self-explanatory icons, new toolbars and a function navigator are just three of the added features. There’s a reason behind all this, to take advantage of the full potential of your machinery even more efficiently.

Clearly arranged and highly intuitive: the new TruTops user interface

giving it a more international look. TRUMPF held workshops all over the world to find out exactly where there was potential for optimization in TruTops. The outcome was a decidedly user-oriented approach.

A common interface Steffen Kutz, TruTops product manager at TRUMPF in Farmington explains, “The Microsoft-like design makes the software easier to use. With individually programmable tabs, all of the applications are drawn together in a single interface. Icons clarify the individual machining capabilities. Our new software also lets you simultaneously program several different machines that use differing technologies and switch seamlessly between them. Attending our training courses is highly

highlight. The revamped operating concept is simply second to none. With just a few clicks, the programmer reaches the desired program almost intuitively. The icons are modern design elements and provide expanded functions: Multi-action buttons and toolbars boost the efficiency of the software which, incidentally, is entirely fail-safe. “Program writing has become much faster in the new versions. The time savings are significant, especially in the case of complicated programs,” says Roland Biener of Bulach Blechbearbeitung GmbH in Germany. Thomas Bär of Brand Metallbau AG in Switzerland adds: “Since TruTops now uses symbols we’ve become familiar with in Microsoft or CAD applications and since it is so clearly structured, operation is far simpler. Transitioning from the older version to the

and eliminates redundant data maintenance. TRUMPF has also introduced decisive improvements in its product data management (PDM). The programmer can now access stored data from all Windows-programs. Moreover, all the data in the PDM can be sorted and searched for by specific attributes (material or gauge, for instance).Non-resetting dialog boxes to search large volumes of stored data simplify routine work with the product data. Roland Biener of Bulach is particularly excited by the new PDM: “The revamped PDM is very simple, convenient and fast. Truly a great development!” > Additional information and a film on the new TruTops versions is available on the Internet at:


What a difference a day makes

Coaches like John Alamed show how to get the most out of the new software.

Our new TruTops versions offer many new options for fully utilizing the potential built into your machine. The more you learn about the soft ware, the more you can boost productivity — even after just a single day’s training! Whether you work with the laser, use punch technology or employ both in your company, our experienced instructions show you all the tricks for the new TruTops versions, helping you streamline your work. Training focuses on installation procedures, the new user interface and innovations in drawing, nesting and the technology components. What’s more, our trainers – like John Alamed — provide useful programming tips. In addition to a theoretical section, our concept for TruTops update training emphasizes real-world practice. The two computer labs in the training center in Farmington, Connecticut, are equipped with 40 PCs — and participants can put their theoretical knowledge to work right away in programming exercises. Teaching soft ware allows TRUMPF’s six TruTops trainers to supervise all PCs from their desk to ensure

The team behind TruTops Our six-member team at TRUMPF Inc. are the people behind the new TruTops releases. We would be glad to provide any support you might need in using the new software. Please do not hesitate to contact us whenever questions involving the TruTops software might arise. Product Manager, TruTops: Steffen Kutz, Phone: 860-255-6665, E-mail:

Your back-up and support team (l. to r.): Charles Probulis, Duane Gibbs, Joe Pugliese, Bridget Bloom, Steffen Kutz.

maximum learning. Enrollment requirements, you ask? Ideally, you should be an experienced programmer with the current version of TruTops soft ware. Leapfrogging over several TruTops releases is recommended. If you work with older versions of the soft ware, then we will be glad to provide training in a separate course. We regularly offer TruTops courses at our training center.

> How do you register for training in Farmington? Here’s the number to call: Phone: 860-255-6068, E-mail:


One Cutting Head – Many Benefits New single cutting head improves cutting productivity

With market demands constantly on the increase, fabricators must strive to implement technology that decreases unproductive time. This message is regularly communicated by TRUMPF customers and resonates throughout the organization. Our engineers continually ask themselves, “what additional features can we develop to take our laser cutting machines to a new level in productivity?” Their latest answer – TRUMPF’s new single head cutting strategy. Available on the TruLaser 5030 NEW flat sheet laser cutting machine, the single cutting head strategy incorporates a newly designed beam guide and cutting head interface. The result is the ability to process all material types and thicknesses quickly and efficiently with a single cutting head. Material specifications are identified and the machine automatically changes the laser beam diameter depending on the material to be processed. This has an immediate impact on productivity guaranteeing continuous quality processing and eliminating downtime previously associated with head changes. When running automated production of a variety of materials, the single head strategy has an even greater impact on productivity. Combined with the optional nozzle exchanger, the impact on “lights out” operation is further increased as there is no need to manually change the nozzle. Another feature of the single cutting head is its integrated collision protection. In the case of a collision, the head folds away, protecting it from damage. With the new intelligent interface, the head can easily be put back in place and processing can continue. For small collisions, the cutting head automatically reassumes the correct position with minimal impact on processing time. In addition to the single head cutting strategy, the new FastLine process can reduce processing time even further. FastLine electronically optimizes the entire cutting process ensuring maximum efficiency. In thin sheets, processing times can drop by up to 50 percent. And, the process also reduces slag residue on the sheet metal surface. Reduced downtime. while maintaining quality and efficiency, is key to the single cutting head strategy. It is also a reflection of TRUMPF’s continual efforts to further innovate and develop laser cutting technology for the benefit of our customers. When fabricators ask for more productivity, TRUMPF will answer.

> Additional information: James Rogowksi, Phone: 860-255-6033 E-mail: Express Vol.4/07


Getting a Quality Cut 24

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A Bad Boy Mowers’ employee works on creating a part for one of the company’s lawn mowers.

Laser technology gives a manufacturer of zero-turn lawnmowers – and those who ride them – a cut to be proud of.

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains is Batesville, Arkansas, population 9,556. Named as one of The 100 Best Small Towns in America, the town is home to classic elements of Americana – a county fair, Independence Day fireworks, a legendary NASCAR driver, and freshly cut lawns. All of this influences the culture of Batesville-based Bad Boy Mowers, one of the fastest growing producers of zero-turn mowers. Named for its zero-turn radius, the highly maneuverable riding mower is operated by left and right steering levers linked directly to the mower’s transaxles, which enable the operator to pivot 360 degrees in one spot for highly maneuverable, precise and fast cutting. Bad Boy mowers can reach speeds of eight to ten miles per hour. “Our mowers are twice as fast as a regular lawn and garden tractor,” says Wes Hubbard, Bad Boy’s purchasing manager. Bad Boy helps its customers realize the American dream of a perfectly cut lawn. White picket fences and luxury cars, yesteryear’s signs of comfort and prestige, have been replaced by something that truly makes neighbors green with envy: a super fast, zero-turn mower. “It’s definitely a status symbol to own a Bad Boy mower,” Hubbard says. Bad Boy Founder Robert Foster began his quest for a highly productive and durable zero-turn mower in his garage in Diaz, Arkansas in 1998. At the time, Foster and his business partner Phil Pulley were busy running successful tire and fireworks companies when they started building mower prototypes. Wes Hubbard, who had worked with Robert and Phil since 1993, watched the hobby-turned-business grow. “Robert had bought and owned just about every type of zero-turn mower and didn’t really like any of them,” says Hubbard. “But he thought it wouldn’t be too hard to combine all his favorite elements and build one of his own.” > Express Vol.4/07



Laser Precision: The intricate Bay Boy bulldog logo.

Hubbard laughed at Foster’s tinkering at first, but quickly changed his tune in 2000, when zero-turn mowers took off in popularity. Unlike existing offerings, Foster’s new heavyduty zero-turn mowers offered a robust transmission, powerful engine, “swing-away” design for quick maintenance, and competitive pricing. According to company legend, the company got its name when many people commented on the mower, saying “that’s a bad boy!” Hubbard recalls the immediate response to the first mower they brought to the Lawn and Garden Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. “People went crazy over it, he says. “We had distributors lining up right away to sell the mower.” Demand for Bad Boy mowers grew and the company needed more space. Bad Boy opened a facility in Tuckerman, about seven miles from Diaz. It soon outgrew that space. In 2001 Bad Boy and its seven employees moved to Batesville, where the company has grown to occupy 300,000 sq. feet at two different plants. Bad Boy Mowers has doubled in size every year since its founding.


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As Bad Boy grew, it had to change its manufacturing processes. In 2003, steel costs spiked and caused a shortage. Unfortunately for Bad Boy, this coincided with a growth spurt in the mower business. “We lost sales because we couldn’t get the parts to produce the mowers,” says Hubbard. The company decided to bring its fabricating operations in-house. In December 2005, the company invested in a laser cutting machine, a TC L 3030 (now TruLaser 3030) to cut its heavy-duty parts without cutting corners. “We were one of the first manufacturers to bring fabrication and assembly of zeroturn mowers under one roof,” Hubbard says proudly. “It helped us to lower costs and to maintain better quality control.”

Having a laser cutting machine in-house gave Bad Boy more production control. “With our own laser we could control our material supply and manufacturing process. We didn’t have to wait,” explains Hubbard. The ability to capitalize on the expanding market helped the company to grow and the laser cutting machine played an important role. “The laser quickly paid for itself,” adds Hubbard. “It helped us to be quicker too. If we needed more to make more mowers, we could just churn out more parts.” Bad Boy appreciates the precise, quality cut of the laser. “We can’t sell mowers if they don’t cut well,” explains Bad Boy Production Manager Jeff Mynatt. “So precision is a must. Every part must be exact. I am amazed at the level of precision of the laser. Everything on the mower is now cut and bent on TRUMPF machinery.” Soon after the company’s first TRUMPF purchase, Bad Boy Mowers added another TRUMPF laser cutting machine and press brakes to its fabricating capabilities. One particular part required laser precision: the intricate Bad Boy bulldog logo.

LASER TECHNOLOGY The original design was laser cut out of 3/16ths (0.1875-inch) hot-rolled steel. Laser cutting also helps Bad Boy use various thicknesses of hotrolled pickled and oiled steel to create its rugged, heavy-duty mowers. The front wheel fork is constructed from 1/2-inch thick steel and the deck is made from 1/4-inch thick steel. 14 gauge (0.075-inch thick) material is used for the cooler cover. “Bad Boy Mowers is the only zero-turn mower manufacturer to use _-inch laser cut decks,” says Hubbard. “Most use seven or ten gauge. “ Fabricating the heavy decks in-house saved shipping time and costs. TRUMPF technology also sped up Bad Boy’s ability to react quickly to customer demand, a critical factor in the manufacture of built-to-order mowers. Finished mowers are now delivered just seven days after an order is placed. “The laser has accelerated the speed of change and innovation,” says Mynatt. “If we order a thousand parts from a supplier, we’re stuck waiting until the parts are used up to make a change. Now, we can make changes on the fly.” In-house laser cutting and bending also helped Bad Boy quickly implement design improvements. For instance, customer feedback about the mower’s suspension led Bad Boy fabricators and engineers to develop a rubber isolator and front caster fork design that better alleviates shock. They laser cut the prototype parts and bent them on the press brake. Today, the company offers the new design. “This new Easy Ride System™(ERS) absorbs vibrations so the rider doesn’t feel them,” explains Hubbard. “When you hit a bump or go over gravel, you don’t feel it. The laser gave us the ability to put into motion what we had envisioned.” Such customer-focused innovations have made the mower popular with landscapers and residential customers. Even though an increasing percentage of Bad Boy customers are homeowners, the company still bears in mind its commercial lawn and garden contractor audience. “When you ride on the mower all day, you appreciate the extra comfort,” says Hubbard. Both commercial and homeowner customers seem to enjoy the inventive mower and think it is fun to cut the grass with a Bad Boy. Bad Boy employees agree. Employees are given the opportunity to purchase a zero-turn mower at a reduced price. Production Manager Mynatt owns a Bad Boy and can cut his two acre lawn in less than a half-hour. He needs the spare time, as the fabrication shop is busier than ever. Bad Boy ran three shifts throughout the 2007 season. Even with the arrival of a third laser cutting machine in August, the company still runs production twenty-four hours a day, five days a week. “Everyone works hard and treats the company as if it was their own,” says Hubbard. “We are all proud to build a company that we hope will someday be a household name.” Bad Boy zero-turn mowers are becoming better known throughout the world. The company is expanding in the United States, as well as in Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom. Closer to home, a number of Bad Boy spokespersons – including country musicians Willie Nelson and Toby Keith, NASCAR drivers Bill Davis and Mark Martin, and the voice of Monster Garage Brett “Big Schwag” Wagner – are helping to spread the word about the company. Bad Boy also maintains its hometown connections, and not just through Martin, who was born in Batesville, and the Big Schwag, who recently purchased property east of Batesville. “We use the laser to help different organizations in the community, including some local small businesses,” says Mynatt. “We even cut out letters for the local high school baseball park sign.”

Community projects will have to wait for now – production on the 2008 line of Bad Boy mowers begins in November and Bad Boy is planning some customer-focused upgrades and changes. In addition to a new model in its Advanced Operating System mower line, set to debut in October, the company is working on a new multi-terrain vehicle, or MTV. “MTVs offer more room for passengers, rollover protection, and are safer than ATVs,” explains Hubbard. “It is something customers had asked for and we’ve been planning for years.” With new products in the works and a projected 120 percent growth this year, Bad Boy employees have their work (laser) cut out for them.

“Our mowers are twice as fast as a regular lawn and garden tractor.”

35-time winner NASCAR driver, Mark Martin

> Need for Speed Bad Boy Mowers has had a long association with NASCAR racing. NASCAR watchers are loyal fans and sponsorships offer a good return on investment. Bad Boy made this discovery in April 2004 when, after sponsoring driver Dave Blaney, the company website hits climbed from 400 to 5,000 on race day. A number of fans even called Bad Boy to thank the company for sponsoring their favorite driver. Since sponsoring Blaney in 2004, Bad Boy Mowers has sponsored a series of well-know drivers such as: Mike Skinner, Bill Davis, Mike Wallace and Bill Lester. In 2006, Bay Boy Mowers narrowly missed its chance to sponsor a Daytona 500 Driver, but expanded its fan base by additionally sponsoring drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series. Bad Boy Mowers has continued its presence with NASCAR in 2007 by teaming up with 35-time winner, Mark Martin.

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Tooling 101 Q&A with Carl Peterhansel, tool division manager, TRUMPF Inc.


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Although widely recognized as a leader in laser technology, TRUMPF’s machine tool foundation is in punching technology.

Carl Peterhansel holds one of the many tool parts his division is responsible for producing.

Over the years and especially since Prof. Berthold Leibinger patented the first CNC punching and nibbling machine, punching and forming tools have been an important part of TRUMPF’s product line. Producing these tools is the responsibility of Carl Peterhansel, Tool Division Manager of TRUMPF. Carl oversees the sales, service and design of punch tooling, and is also responsible for press brake tooling. Here we discuss the ins and outs of the tooling trade with Carl. How long has TRUMPF been manufacturing tools in the USA? TRUMPF began tool manufacturing over 33 years ago in a small production building that has grown into the current TRUMPF campus. As a matter of fact, punch press tooling was the first product produced by TRUMPF in the United States. How has punching technology changed the tools that are produced? Continuous development and investment in new punch machine technology keeps us busy thinking of new ways to utilize the unique capabilities of our machines. As a result, there have been many innovations that have impacted tooling. All-tool rotation expands the capabilities of punching by opening up avenues that could not be processed previously, so as you can imagine the tooling requirements have become quite interesting. Another major technological change is the hydraulic punching head. This has enabled many additional forming capabilities because we now have far more adjustable and precise control over the depth and speed of the ram stroke. MultiTool technology has expanded tooling options and also added some interesting additional capabilities. When we think of the current punching machines, they are really not just punching machines any more, they are sheet > Express Vol.4/07



“The first and most important step when producing a special tool is to understand the needs of our customers.� metal machining centers because of all the technological advancements. How do you get ideas for new types of tools to produce ? New tooling solutions are in a continuous state of development; new ideas are born from listening to our customers and understanding the challenges encountered in their fabrication process. New tooling designs have changed from a singular focus on the tool itself, to the introduction of special software and machine controls working together to produce completely new processing methods. There are many examples of this in today’s tooling products, from MultiShear, MultiBend, EasyType and Roller Deburring, to name a few. With the success of laser cutting machines, is the tooling business slowing down? Not at all. Punching technologies have continued do well and both machine tools have their place to grow and provide solutions to TRUMPF customers. The punch tooling business has sustained consistent growth, while providing competitive, high quality products to both our established machine install base and new machine customers. Current and future forming technologies, software, process controls and automation will continue to define the unique capabilities of punching. What are the steps taken to produce a special tool? The first and most important step when producing a special tool is to understand the needs of our customers. This involves direct discussions, reviewing documents and defining operation parameters. Within this process, we 30

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DISCUSSION Carl Peterhansel works closely with his team from design concept to reality.

“There are challenges of course in the design of complex tooling, but we have a good staff with a lot of experience.” may offer the customer a range of possible options to suit their process and production goals. After taking into account the part geometry, machine capabilities and type of material, the special tool is designed, produced and tested. When testing special forming tools, our design engineers create and run a sample program on a TRUMPF machine. How do you know the limitations of each tool? Special forming tools are often one of a kind, like a prototype that must work the first time. To be successful and provide effective designs requires more than just formulas and design templates. Our engineers need to have a solid understanding of each machine’s full capabilities as well as years of experience in fabrication and design. Combining these elements gives us a good baseline in understanding what will work and what might be reaching the limit of the tool, the machine, or the part. What are the biggest challenges when producing tools? There are challenges of course in the design of complex tooling, but we have a good staff with a lot of experience. We also invest in the best and most capable machines for producing

tooling. But the biggest challenge is always time. From the moment we receive a tooling order to when the customer receives their tooling, time is the measurement and constant challenge. Investments in the correct people, machines and processes are critical to meeting this challenge, but it still remains a challenge How has machining technology changed the way tools that are manufactured? Machining technology has also changed dramatically over the last 33 years, and has improved virtually every aspect of manufacturing tooling. In the early days of producing dies for example, there were five machining setups on several machines prior to wire-cutting the shape. Now, using advanced machining technology combined with automation, it has been reduced to two setups on a single machine, including replacing grinding with hard machining. The cutting of the die shapes is now done on a wire EDM that can automatically cut and feed the wire, allowing many dies to be machined in a single setup. Advancements have effected us in the office as well. Designing in 3D CAD improves both our tool design and manufacturing. With our CAD/CAM system, we can create

programs direct from the solid model and transfer the program directly to the machine. Coupled with state of the art equipment, we can machine complex geometries in a single setup that previously would have taken several. What do you think would be the most surprising statistic regarding TRUMPF tooling production? We keep a lot of statistics about our tooling production, but most of them are probably not that interesting. But here is a fact that is probably quite surprising- TRUMPF’s tooling department continues to produce tooling for TRUMPF punching machines that are over fifty years old. Have you made improvements using TRUMPF’s SYNCHRO lean manufacturing initiative? Yes, we have benefited throughout our office and production process for many years by adopting SYNCHRO principles. Improvements in our processes and investments in technology have allowed us to increase our sales significantly without having to add space and production time. In addition, thanks to SYNCHRO improvements, our lead time and quality key figures have also shown continuous improvement. Express Vol.4/07


Creating a Smooth Ride 32

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An Indiana manufacturer shares how the right attitude, commitment to quality, speed and service pave the way to success.

MOR/ryde is responsible for making the suspensions that go into many of today’s brand-name RV’s.

About 100 miles east of Chicago is Elkhart, Indiana, the RV Capital of the World. Here you’ll find more than forty manufacturers of recreational vehicles and manufactured homes. Elkhart is home to MOR/ryde International, a company whose suspension systems and ride enhancement products for RVs, buses and towing vehicles have attracted quite a number of “raving fans,” as MOR/ryde likes to call its customers. A look through the eyes of a MOR/ryde fan reveals the quality of its products. One customer shares his experience during a 5th wheel trailer trip from Tennessee to Florida. Before setting off on a six-hour leg of the journey, the couple left an almost-full can of soda on the edge of the trailer’s bathroom sink. Daryl Lucas explains what happened when he and his wife stopped at a rest area and made the discovery. “To our complete amazement, the can was exactly where it was left. What a testimony for MOR/ryde Suspension, because some of the highway was very rough and bumpy!” The MOR/ryde story started with a chance meeting in the 1960s, when Robert Moore Sr. recognized the commercial value of a unique high performance suspension system that would isolate and absorb road shock. While working in the family business, a profitable dry cleaning company and manufacturer of rug cleaning equipment, Moore Sr. met a gentleman looking to sell a rubber shear spring design for suspension systems. Moore Sr. was not an engineer by training, but he was creative, had a knack for engineering, and most importantly, was able to recognize a good idea when he saw one. In 1966, he acquired the design, left the family business, and founded MOR/ryde. For 28 years, MOR/ryde focused on designing and manufacturing its patented suspension systems, building a reputation for outstanding quality and customer > Express Vol.4/07



“Laser technology allows us to respond quickly to short lead-time emergencies and make quick design revisions to meet ever-changing demands.” service. In 1994, the small company began to aggressively expand its business and has since grown into a three-plant company with more than 300,000 sq. ft. of space and 375 employees: The fabricating shop where Mor/Ryde’s TRUMPF equipment is housed contains 130,000 sq. feet. Today, two of Robert Moore Sr.’s children are at the helm – Bob Moore Jr. and his brother Rodney. Like their father, neither has an engineering degree, but both are business-minded. Bob holds a business management degree and Rodney is a certified public accountant. Moore Sr. handed down his golden rule philosophy of doing 34

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business with integrity. “We treat people the way we want to be treated,” explains MOR/ ryde President and Co-owner Bob Moore Jr. “Our commitment to customer service means we deliver on our promises.” When Bob Moore Jr. took over the reins of MOR/ryde in the late 1980s, he made a candid assessment of the employee and equipment resources the company would need to compete and win in the marketplace. At a point of low morale, Moore gathered his team in a conference room and told them flatly, “we spend a lot of time at work and if we can’t have fun doing this, then we’ve got to get out.”

MOR/ryde began to focus more on attitude than experience in the hiring process. To maintain an upbeat work environment, MOR/ryde seeks out the best talent, invests a lot of effort into the interview process, and hires for the long term. Sometimes this means giving a chance to someone without an extensive resume. “An employee with a good attitude (but without a lot of experience) gets better every day,” explains Moore. “You can eventually get experience. But when you have an experienced employee with a bad attitude, their first day is their best day.” The positive workplace gives MOR/ryde

CUSTOMER FOCUS an edge in attracting good employees. “We have a great group of people. Once you have a critical mass of good people, it is easier to bring new good people to the team,” he adds. Today, the company is fi lled with a welcoming atmosphere of respect, professionalism and a palpable sense of joy. A customer from Michigan – one of the many to send in a personal thank you note – praises the “attitude, friendliness and courtesy of everyone we spoke with, or dealt with, at MOR/ryde - even the people who were not working on our trailer.” Good attitudes also brought more business. MOR/ryde’s courteous employees and reputation for quality helped them win their first contract customer. A customer touring MOR/ryde’s facilities in 1993 noticed a robotic welder used in manufacturing. Even though MOR/ryde did not have experience with custom fabrication for other manufacturers, the customer liked MOR/ryde’s positive attitude and asked if the company would be interested in doing some contract work using that equipment. Looking to diversify, MOR/ryde quoted – and won – the job. MOR/ ryde’s contract fabrication work has since expanded dramatically. MOR/ryde came to understand another critical aspect of manufacturing success: speed. Unfortunately, speed was not a key feature of the equipment MOR/ryde historically used. In the beginning, everything was cut with shears and “rectangles ruled.” Moore was committed to reinvesting profits from the fabricating work into new equipment, but he wasn’t sure how applicable laser technology was to his business. Moore had been investigating lasers for some time and had seen laser cutters in action at fabricating machinery trade shows. Although the machines were fast, they were cutting material much thinner than MOR/ryde needed to cut. Moore’s good friend for more than twenty years, Rob Anderson, persuaded him look at lasers more closely. It was Anderson, a distributor with PrimeLine Fabricating Machinery, who introduced Moore to TRUMPF and finally convinced him to invest in laser technology. In 1998, MOR/ryde purchased its first laser cutting machine, a TC L 3030 (now called the TruLaser 3030), and soon gained a reputation for turning jobs around quickly. “The evolution of business is interesting,” explains Moore. “Sometimes you see a piece of equipment and you can’t imagine it fitting into your shop, but then you start to be able to picture owning the

equipment. Gradually it starts making sense and then you can’t imagine not having it. Machines you hadn’t heard of 15 years ago suddenly become an integral part of your business. It’s terrifying to make the initial leap and take on debt, but you have to bet on yourself.” With 300 percent growth in the last four years, the bet has paid off. Ten high-powered, precision TRUMPF laser cutting machines are at the core of MOR/ryde’s multi-shift, 130,000 sq. ft. fabricating operations, which include a complete line of services from material procurement to cutting, forming, welding, assembly and painting. The company credits the laser cutting technology as a key component in its ability to quickly turn around quotes, prototypes and production runs of all sizes. The machines’ speed, flexibility and easy setup are essential. MOR/ryde processes a variety of materials (including hot-rolled steel, stainless steel and aluminum) with range of job sizes for various industries. “We can laser cut complex part designs efficiently and accurately,” says Moore. “Laser technology allows us to respond quickly to short lead-time emergencies and make quick design revisions to meet everchanging demands.” MOR/ryde also uses TRUMPF laser, punching and bending technology to manufacture its own products. “Just about everything [except the rubber] in the suspension system comes off a TRUMPF >

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“Our engineering experts aid customers in their product design to create the best finished product possible.”

A detailed look at one of the machine parts MOR/ryde produces.

machine,” says Moore. The laser’s high cut quality and accuracy help maintain the tight tolerances needed for the suspension’s “no welding necessary” installation. Aftermarket installation is bolt-on and the company prides itself on suspension systems that are less expensive and easier to install than other systems. As a result of cutting-edge fabricating machinery and creative employees, MOR/ryde is handling more design work. Company engineers regularly design parts that match the capability of the latest technology with the customer’s needs and exacting specifications. “We are proud to be able to offer engineering services to our customers,” says Moore, who has invested in building up a team of engineers. “Our engineering experts aid customers in their product design to create the best finished product possible.” Customer service remains a cornerstone of MOR/ryde’s success. “Listen to your customers,” Moore explains. “My strategy has been to find really smart people who agree with the company philosophy and then let them loose to go out and ask our customers ‘what else can we do for you?’” So what does the future hold for MOR/ryde? With the right attitude, a commitment to quality, speed, and customer service, the possibilities are endless. 36

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A MOR/ryde press brake operator bending a machine part.

> MOR/ryde International Company name: MOR/ryde Founded: 1966 Staff: 375 Product line: Sheet metal fabricator serving customers in the recreational and commercial vehicles, trucking, industrial, agricultural and orthopedic industries and manufacturer of chassis and suspension systems. TRUMPF machinery: TruLaser 3030, TruPunch 2020, TC L 2530, TrumaBend V200 and V85 Internet: Did you know? MOR/ryde was one of the first companies in North America to use a TruLaser 5030 cutting machine in production.


Successful business owners often have one very important quality in common: the ability – and courage – to diversify when times get tough. Such was the case a few years ago for the husband-and-wife team of Mike Powell and Gayle Glosser, owners of Regal Research and Manufacturing Company. Regal Research, founded in 1979 as a small machine shop that made parts for the printing presses of the Dallas Morning News, is a Plano, Texas-based provider of comprehensive contract manufacturing services for a wide range of technology-based OEMs, including many Fortune 500 companies. From a fruitful start, to a telecomm industry bust that almost drove Regal Research out of business, Mike Powell and Gayle Glosser persevered, and their story is proof-positive that intuition and perseverance can, an do, pay off. The inception of Regal Research was an exciting time for Mike Powell and Gayle Glosser. The current owners of the company met while working for Electrospace Systems and had strong backgrounds in manufacturing prior to taking over Regal Research. Shortly after getting married in 1980, Powell and Glosser left Electrospace Systems to take other jobs. Within five years of leaving Electrospace, the couple was itching to work together again in manufacturing. By the time Powell and Glosser purchased Regal in 1985, the company had grown >

Together We Can Perseverance and diversity in the face of adversity pay off for Regal Research

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CUSTOMER FOCUS to 12 employees housed in a 7,000 square-foot facility. At the time that Regal Research was taking off, the telecom industry was enjoying a fruitful existence, and Regal looked to TRUMPF when selecting a machine to help the company gain a competitive advantage in the market. Regal Research’s first TRUMPF machine was the 240 CNC punch press. “TRUMPF’s machine was selected because the punch was simple to operate, it could be programmed at the machine, and its accuracy and repeatability were much greater than competing equipment,” recalls Powell. “It also suffered little tool wear due the precision of the punch and die mechanism.” With the help of the punching technology, the sheet metal side of Regal’s business grew in tandem with the booming telecommunications industry, a large portion of which was

concentrated in nearby suburbs north of Dallas. Through the 1990’s, Regal expanded its sheet metal capacity several times, adding 11 new TRUMPF machines, including TC500 punches, L2530 lasers, and a range of CNC press brakes. “By the end of the decade, the telecom industry accounted for about approximately 80 percent of Regal’s sales,” says Powell, “and 85 percent of that volume was with one large customer.” Unfortunately, the success that Regal Research was enjoying in its early days was about to come to a crashing halt. The telecom boom went bust in 2001, and as a result, Regal’s sales dropped dramatically. “Annual revenues dropped from $24 million to $9 million within 18 months, forestalling any new equipment purchases until 2006,” recollects Powell. “In 2002, we were compelled to engage in painful across-the-board cost-cutting, including the

Regal Research owners Gayle Glosser and Mike Powell demonstrating one of the company’s products to a prospective customer.


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elimination of about half of our employees. Savings extended to such measures as removing light bulbs in non-critical areas.” The dismissal of half of Regal’s employees tugged hard at the heartstrings for Mike and Gayle, and they knew they needed a well thought-out, strategic plan in order to stay afloat. Facing potential disaster, and seeing many companies in the Dallas area have to close their doors, Regal scrambled to diversify business, and decided to expand its customer base by taking on a variety of new projects, from high-end custom dog crates, to biomass energy generation equipment, to dermatology and dental equipment, to nanotechnology – anything that might stimulate growth. Regal also renewed its focus on defense and homeland security products. Such diverse undertakings resulted in a wide range of parts and materials on the shop floor. In addition

A detailed view of the electronic components Regal Research produces on a daily basis.

CUSTOMER FOCUS Regal Research’s innovation has led to the production a golf-cart for disabled people. Here, a member of the regal team demonstrate’s the golf cart’s capabilities.

“The speed and capabilities of these new machines have really impressed our customers.” to common materials like cold-rolled steel and aluminum (in various thicknesses), Regal’s work came to include stainless, brass, copper and, occasionally, plastics. The company’s diversification into new business sectors proved fruitful, and by 2006, Regal’s recovery was complete – with revenues climbing to their 2001 peak, and with more than 1,000 different orders in process, ranging from single-piece prototypes to volume production lots. In addition, Powell and Glosser were fi nally able to hire more employees: The company now employs 200 people working two shifts. Powell and Glosser are both quick to point out that the success story that is Regal Research goes well beyond the husband-wife team dynamic. “We have been very fortunate to have an outstanding and very talented work force with little turnover,” says Powell. “In fact, of our nearly 200 current employees, more than 20 worked with Gayle and me at Electrospace back in 1980 –27 years ago. And the newfound success of Regal Research kept coming. In the spring of 2006, the company purchased a 192,000 square-foot building in Plano, as well as a new TRUMPF TruPunch 5000/TruLaser 3030 automation cell. “The new punch and laser have been up and running since May,” said Powell. “The speed and capabilities of these new machines have really impressed our customers. And a new TKL 25 tower (storage and retrieval system) will enable us to run lights-out. As we add to the variety of products we produce, it will become more important to run multiple jobs requiring a variety of materials during a lights-out mode. Together, these automation components will put Regal at the top of the class for sheet metal fabrication in the Dallas/Forth Worth area.” Powell continued, “While diversifying our customer base, Regal has also pursued vertical-integration, enabling the company to offer customers a complete turnkey contract manufacturing solution. In

such cases, the complete product is built and often shipped directly to the end user or customer. This strategy fits well with the company’s core mission: to add maximum value in everything we do.” The solution also goes back to the notion of family, as each product is crafted in-house, through a dedicated, tight-knit staff. As an example, Powell notes that Regal has been building an after-market camera product for Redrock Microsystems, which allows a digital movie camera to simulate the “movie-quality fi lm” of a traditional 35mm fi le. Regal assisted with the design of the unit and has directly shipped more than 2,500 of them all over the world. Another product showcasing Regal’s diverse skills and capabilities is a golf cart designed for a disabled person who has limited or no control of his/her legs. The cart features hand-control operation, the ability to pivot the seat to position the disabled golfer to make a full swing, and a wide, low-pressure tire that allows the golfer to drive into sand traps, as well as on the greens. Regal assisted the manufacturer with design and manufacturing support in hopes of providing a complete, assembled, ready-to-ship golf cart. Today, Regal Research is stronger than ever – and very much a family affair. Glosser’s older son Deryck, 39, has been with the business since high school and currently produces Regal’s sales literature and manages special projects. Her younger son, Greg, 35, who also has worked in the business since he was a teenager, is director of fabrication. Powell’s son, David, currently assists Regal as an outside I.T. consultant. Powell and Glosser are proud of their family’s contributions to the business, and know that it was their courage and perseverance to diversify in a time of crisis that allowed Regal to carry on when many other companies were forced to close their doors. In the words of Mike Powell, Regal Research can now officially be recognized as, “Your onestop shop for world class fabrications.” Express Vol.4/07



CREDITS TRUMPF Express Volume 4, 2007 Magazine for Sheet Metal Processing Published by TRUMPF Inc. Farmington, CT 06032 Responsible for the content Sheila LaMothe

Keeping it in the family with these TRUMPF employees

All in the Family Since its inception in 1923, TRUMPF has prided itself on remaining a company seeded in family. Even today, the tradition of familial relationships remains strong amongst employees. In the US alone, there are currently more than 20 sets of relatives working for TRUMPF Inc. Being a privately-owned, family-run company can be a definite selling factor for those seeking employment within a stable organization. Fred Grohs, Regional Manger at TRUMPF Inc., recalls that the notion of a family-owned-andoperated business was a must for him when seeking new employment. Fred had previously worked for three publicly-held companies and all three experienced tumultuous times. Fred was impressed with the family dynamic of TRUMPF, and realized there is something to be said for family-run businesses: there is a centralized, community-based focus and with family come the notions of value, dignity and respect. These principles translate into the way TRUMPF treats its employees and customers on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that once someone joins TRUMPF, their family member(s) needs little convincing to join as well. Through internships and career fairs, to growing up with a TRUMPF employee, family members have come to know and appreciate the long-standing reputation of the company. With several sets of family members working at TUS, the benefits have been tremendous. For example, Brian Litherland, Sales, looked to his father, Edward Litherland, for suggestions with the implementation of 40

Express Vol.4/07

his department’s office SYNCHRO, as his father has already been through the process and knew tips and tricks to expedite workflow. Sue Grohs, Marketing Coordinator, and daughter to Fred Grohs comments,” Since my father has worked at TRUMPF for numerous years, his already being here made the transition into the company easier.” Sue continues by adding, “Even now when I occasionally need a better understanding of something technical, I will still go to my father for an explanation. He also continues to be of help when I am looking for specific marketing projects. Since my father has interacted with a lot of customers and applications across North America, he has been helpful in identifying interesting stories, sample parts or customer contacts.” Having a family member at the same company has also allowed employees to expand their work relationships, as they have been introduced to a variety of people they would not normally see on a daily basis. Of course, having a family member working at the same company can also make for an interesting workday, as misdirected emails and phone calls can create some hilarity. TRUMPF was built on a family foundation and its underlying principles will only entice future generations of family members to seek employment through its doors.

Editor-in-chief Chrissy Timreck 860-255-6112 Editorial staff Kristina DiGirolamo Mike Gordon Susan Grohs Sheila LaMothe Karen Miller pr+co. gmbh, Stuttgart Design and production John Mik, MIK Advertising Printing and assembly Paladin Commercial Printers LLC Authors Robert Devol Catherine Flynn pr+co. Todd Rosenthal Photographs Steve Adams Photography American Dryer Corporation Ariens Company Marty Eby, ME Photography Hytrol E Conveyor Company Greg Latza, Peoplescapes Mark Matthews, Mark Matthews Photogrpahy Playworld Systems Pr + co Deryck Jernigan, Regal Research Rockwell Collins Society of Manufacturing Engineers TRUMPF Archive Von Duprin

About SME: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the world’s leading professional society supporting manufacturing education. Through its member programs, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME promotes an increased awareness of manufacturing engineering and helps keep manufacturing professionals up to date on leading trends and technologies. Headquartered in Michigan, SME influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners and executives annually. The Society, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2007, has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of hundreds of technical communities and chapters worldwide.

Ready to Rumble Worldwide, Stainless Works is making themselves heard with the unmistakable rumble of their custom high performance exhaust systems. As a leader in the fabrication and design of products for engine intakes and exhaust systems, Stainless Works utilizes their TRUMPF technology to thrust street rods, special interest autos, as well as sport and muscle cars into the glistening sunshine. But, Stainless Works is not just roaring by with their specialty exhaust systems. They also lead the pack as a job shop, with top notch stainless steel fabrication ranging from architecture applications to high tech computer manufacturing – so they are always fabricating at full throttle.


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