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Single Source Fabrication

All fabricators are not created equal in the service and processes they provide. Today’s buyer is searching for that single source metal fabricator who accommodates their needs and is capable of providing the value added services that are  imperative to meeting cost, delivery, and quality expectations. Through such partnerships eliminates the need for multiple vendors and streams the procurement process. Research has determined that the average estimate for each PO entered, across all industries, incurs a standard cost of $217 per Purchase Order. Through implementation of value added services and providing all necessary processes and services under one roof provides substantial savings to the fabrication purchasing agents. Buyers often are dependent on numerous suppliers to meet their fabrication process requirements such as engineering, painting, or perhaps delivery. Time and money can be realized by consolidating to a single source supplier, compelled to unify your fabrication needs, attaining lower inventory, improved product quality, and administrative efficiency. The strategic objectives of structuring  A-1 Fabricators and Finishers as a single source supplier is established on the concept of forming strategic supplier relationships that are financial and economic for both companies. In building stronger and more collaborative relationships that deliver a range of benefits. Customers realize improved bargaining power in reducing their manufacturing cost through decreased efforts in tracking supplier performance and less time spent managing multiple supplier relationships.

Having only company to deal, one person to deal with, lends itself to effective time and administrative resource management, thus reducing costs over the long term. Realizing the importance of the engineering role to the purchasing process, A-1 Fabricators & Finishers assigns a designated engineer, responsible for reviewing, evaluating, and establishing the required processes. Assigning responsibility to an individual engineer as the customers’ representative and source of contact provides clear communication fostering a relevant and efficient partnering relationship. In our experience these partnerships have Improved Quality throughput by allowing customers to focus and direct their quality improvement efforts more effectively. Fostering clear communication and the allocation of dedicated resources enables both parties the ability to closely monitor and focus on achieving improved innovation and partnership in design collaborations. In eliminating the interaction of processes between multiple suppliers promotes clear and precise product expectations and usage.

Imagine the possibilities, a one source fabrication facility partnered with an experienced and diverse staff of Fabrication Specialist ready to support and fulfill your fabrication needs through:

  • Willingness and commitment to champion and support your fabrication needs through growth and expansion of value added services and processes.
  • Utilizing the expertise of our Engineering staff through assignment of responsibility to design input, improving manufacturability, and eliminating unnecessary cost in both product and the manufacturing process.
  • In house services that support your fabrication machining requirements through the utilization of milling, drilling, and lathes.
  • Leading edge painting processes featuring a 5 stage cleaning process removing scale and laser edge from finished materials as well as application of rust inhibitor eliminating flash rusting assuring proper adhesion of paint to metal.
  • Allocation of resources performing the assembly of both large and small projects.
  • Warehousing and inventory control of finished goods.
  • Delivery of product utilizing either our 26’ box truck or one of our pick-ups.

Capabilities and Our Quoting Process

The quotilaser 2ng process begins with the initial matching of capabilities to the customer requirements. Committed to offering an arsenal of services, quality processes, and varies products, supports our role as a single source supplier in meeting all you fabrication requirements.  Providing value added capabilities and consistently delivering quality results that culminate the realization of cost savings.  Our proven track record of strong supplier partnerships throughout many industries is structured on our commitment, credibility, and shared continual improvement efforts. Through the elimination of multiple suppliers and utilization of a single source supplier capable of realizing all your fabrication needs presents the opportunity for time management efficiency and substantial cost savings.

Realizing the importance of the engineering role to the purchasing team, each customer is assigned a designated engineer, responsible for reviewing, evaluating, and establishing the required processes.  Assigning responsibility to an individual engineer as the customer representative and source of contact provides clear communication fostering an efficient partnering relationship.  Upon receipt of a quote the designated engineer will determine materials needed, required operations, and determine the time needed to complete each manufacturing process. The designated engineer through years of knowledge and experience is capable of quickly and accurately projecting product requirements. Utilizing our ERP System the information is then entered establishing precise cost associated with the manufacturing processes, materials, and labor. Dedicating the expertise of our engineering resources in the quoting process drastically increases the accuracy and timeliness of the quoting process. Once completed the quote is returned to customer for review. Records of the quoted materials, time, and labor are stored in the ERP System expediting the order entry process upon receipt of Purchase Order.

Traceability and Accountability Throughout the Manufacturing Process

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Traceability and accountability with the stroke of a key board throughout the manufacturing process is realized at A-1 Fabricators & Finishers through real time reporting of work in process (WIP) into our ERP System.

Complete and accurate traceability of each individual part provides data that captures:

  • the exact location of product in the manufacturing process
  • employee currently working on the product in that process
  • projected time needed to complete the process at each operation
  • Materials used, needed , and availability

The data entered throughout the process provides accurate and real time information that is monitored and evaluated by each assigned account representative to assure on time delivery expectations are being met.  Accuracy of this information is accomplished through the placement of computers throughout the shop floor allowing each employee to log into the ERP system and input the required data. Utilization of unique identification numbers that have been assigned to each employee, operation, and station allows employees to input the required information at each stage of the manufacturing process.  This data is then used to track and monitor each part as the employee begins and completes the predetermined operation thus assuring traceability as well as accountability of workmanship and process control of the employee and established operation.

Permanent records of collected data provide a chronicle of actual time, labor, materials, and traceability of each individual job packet, employee, manufacturing operation, part, and customer.  This information is analyzed and provides the statics needed to determine and implement continuous improvement efforts and measurements to quality objectives in:

  • cost control
  • efficiencies of departments and employees
  • accountability of workmanship
  • quality process control
  • on time delivery
  • quality conformance

Fisherman’s Credo

FISHERMAN’S CREDO: MY ROD AND MY REEL THEY COMFORT ME did not hold trBOB TuTuue for at least one A-1 Fabricator & Finishers fisherman this 4th of July weekend.

This is the epic tale of two well known A-1 Fabricators & Finishers’ fisherman Sean, jerk then reel, Lanter and Bob, fish-a-holic, Logsdon.

Days leading up to the holiday weekend the shop was full of boastingly talk of skill, tales of past catches, intertwined with accusations of incompetence,  and the lack of skill of the other.  The stage was set and their competitive nature was incited. There was only way to appease this contention of opinions, a fishing contest reigning one victories and the other to experience the agony of defeat.

To assure that the winner’s feelings were truly victories and the losers feelings were that of pure agony a wager was placed upon the contest. Being that picture is worth a thousand words there is nothing more to say………

 

Bob Logsdon’s Story

Bob wasBob2 born in small river town of Moscow, Ohio. Attending his early schools years in Felicity, Ohio then moving to Bethel, Ohio where he graduated. He currently resides in his terms, “The Communion” a 40 acre farm in Adams County, with his wife Helen. Their family farm also accommodates the homes of his Mother, Brother, and Nephew’s Family. Being in such close proximity to his family allows him to oversee and assist in is Mothers needs during these later years of her life. Adjacent to the Lynx Prairie Nature Preserve, This ideal setting provides the natural resources needed to fulfill his passion for fishing, hunting, and gardening. When asked what he sees from his kitchen window he replied deer, birds, animals and children. He also shared his memory of seeing Bald Eagles soaring overhead and remembering their majestic beauty.

Having meet on a blind date, Bob and his beautiful bride Helen, have been married for 33 short years and jokingly described her as a “mean tiny little thing”. Although never having children himself he has taken great pleasure in the caring and guidance of many children who know him as, Uncle Bob. They do however parent 3 fur babies, 2 Chihuahuas, Cujo the youngest, Peanut and Be. Be acquired her name because she is a “Wanna Be” according to Bob, with her big dog attitude and little Rat Terrier size. Be can often be found in the passenger seat, cruising through McDonalds drive through, enjoying her regular order of a Hamburger Happy Meal, hold the bun. Be often accompanies Bob on his fishing and morel hunting adventures providing a set of listening ears and also commented that to date “she has never talked back”.

Unifying his compassion of fishing and love of children he has bestowed his trade secrets upon the children of our A-1 Family. I often hear the excitement in their voices as they squabble in the hallways over who is going to catch the bigger fish and who will out fish the other on one of their fish outing. Observing throughout the years Bob’s patient and caring demeanor I was not surprised to learn of his 15 years spent mentoring and coaching small children in the Pee Wee Football League. He shared that 7 years of his coaching was spent in Cincinnati and 8 years in the New Richmond Football Program.

Counting down the months till retirement Bob is excited to transition to the next chapter of his life. Envisioning the day of relaxing on the bank, with a dropped fishing line, and taking the opportunity to rekindle his passion of coaching a peewee football league brought a smile to his face. Allured with thoughts of warmer weather, discussions of moving south, has Bob and Helen torn. While she yearns for The South’s Warmest Welcome, Mississippi and The Heart of Dixie, Alabama, he longs for The Lone Star State of Texas or Centennial State, Colorado. In hopes of swaying her choices he has begun daunting her with scare tactics and alluding to the fact that alligators like to eat small dogs. After 33 of marriage, compromise is a lesson I am sure they have mastered and with that I said I thought this article might be useful, Keeping Your Pet Safe From Alligator Attack.

When discussing his years at A-1 and his favorite part of working here Bob stated “the camaraderie I feel with everyone I work with”. “Everyone works as a team and pitches in to make things happen.” Commenting that “No one has ever asked from him to do anything they wouldn’t or haven’t done themselves.” Using Dennis Doane, President of our company, as an example he stated that “he is always cleaning and jumping in where ever needed” “Where else could you work where the boss would do that”. Having recently suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm that nearly cost him his life “I am grateful to be alive” without hesitation was his response to what he is most grateful for. Throughout the years Bob exhibits his zest for live in his daily interactions with us all and takes great pleasure in bestowing the nicknames of all employees upon them. Claiming to have never met a stranger he seizes every opportunity to meet new people,taking the time to learn about them and their lives. Sharing stories with me of just sitting and meeting individuals at the store while his mother and or wife enjoys their shopping explains the response the one thing that he could not live without, other than necessities, is the companionship of others.

His love of live and music is apparent when visiting the shop. Either singing a diverse genre of songs or cutting up and giving everyone around him a hard time. Bob beliefs that the song that best describes him is REO Speedwagon’s, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” and if he could join any musical band past or present he answered quickly, “Every one of my generation would want to be the 5th member of the Beatle’s”, understandably making his favorite song of all time the Beatles, “Norwegian Wood Song”>.

Everyone dreams of their perfect day and how they would spend it. His day would start with a morning of fishing, a visit to the Casino where in his words “hit them a little hard, and afterwards enjoy a great meal. Elaborating on his favorite meal choice he replied “A good steak, some deep fried morel mushrooms” “using my Mom’s recipe”, “and believe it or not a D.Q. Heath Bar Blizzard”. So after catching his trophy fish, winning it big at the casino, filling up on his steak, mushrooms, and blizzard he can book his lifelong dream vacation of an African safari, head out on the highway, in his classic Stringray Corvette with Helen by his side, listening to the Beetles playing on the radio.

Here are a few more interesting facts I learned about Bob in our interview: His alter personality is Larry and when he feels a bad day coming on he wears his Larry shirt. Larry is not as nice as Bob so always look for the Larry name tag. The last Reds game that Bob has attended was at Crosley Field. The animal Bob feels best describes him is, a raging bull, because he said he goes in and gets it done. Bobs warning label would say proceed with caution you never know what you are going to get. What makes Bob laugh the most is people doing stupid things and people are always doing stupid things. I have even had to pull over in my car because of laughing so hard. The most unusual food he has ever eaten Mountain Oysters and Turkey Fries, of which he didn’t think was unusual but felt some people may. If he could have super-hero powers he would like to fly. He would want Red Skelton to play him in a movie of his life because he always liked him, he was very entertaining, and you never had to worry about what he would say or do, you could even take small children to see him.

“Every Employee Has a Story”

slideshow1While brain storming on what I should write for my next article I automatically began thinking in terms of our equipment and services. After all we are a metal fabrication company and our equipment and services are the tools needed to manufacture parts. Then it dawned on me that, although important, they are not the driving factor of what makes us who we are. What truly defines A-1 Fabricators & Finishers is the individuals that provide the resources needed to manage and execute the day in, day out, operations of our business. Our entire fabrication process is dependent upon these individuals and the diversity of their expertise to provide the foundation for growth and expansion of A-1 Fabricators and Finishers.

When touring the fabrication process for the 1st time, individuals are often surprised by the amount of manual operation, control, and adjustments required in the fabrication process. The individuals skill coupled with their years of experience, knowledge, and commitment assure that the needed equipment and processes are utilized to their full potential. The diversity of our team is characterized by the individuality of each employee and the contributions made. The accumulated strengths of each employee, provides the core foundation of our corporate structure allowing for consistent growth and expansion of our processes and facility.

Each employee is defined not only by their position at A-1 Fabricators and Finishers but also by the lives they lead outside of our company. Every employee has their own story, their own history, and an optimistic future, that characterizes who they are and who they want to be. Our employees are the driving factor of, who A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is, and will be.

In successfully marketing A-1 Fabricators and Finishers I feel that I may have overlooked one of our greatest assets, our people. Why not market the exact thing that makes us unique and special, the thing that symbolizes our expertise and commitment, the one thing that no other company has, our people! To begin this marketing campaign I will interview employees to learn about their skills, experience, families, hobbies, and interest, etc. and publish their stories to share. Together we will learn the value of diversity and individuality of the A-1 Fabricators and Finishers team.

Press Brake Forming

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Forming of material is simple in theory but much more than just placing a piece of metal between a die and punch and pushing the petal. Our quality driven process to maintain precise repeatability and accuracy is only met with experience and skill of our Press Brakes Operator.

Operators are responsible for the installation of the correct punch and die tooling needed to achieve the necessary bends. The die tooling is installed along the bed of the Press Brake and the punch tooling is installed along the ram. All operators must have the ability to read fabrication blueprints to determine the required bend size, degree of bend, material type, and material thickness assuring the correct tooling is used. It is the responsibility of the operator to know the specifications of all available die and punch tooling to meet product specifications. There are many types of dies available but the most commonly used dies at A-1 Fabricators & Finishers are the V-Die, Offset Die, and the hemming Die. The V-die is the most common type of die. The bottom dies can be made with different-sized die openings to handle a variety of materials and bend angles. The Offset dies are a punch and die set that bends two angles in one stroke to produce a Z shape. The Hemming die is a two-stage die combining an acute angle die with a flattening tool.

The CNC Control system on each brake controls the back gauge and tonnage of each bend. Operators input the material thickness, material tensile strength, determined bend widths, bend lengths, and degree of bend required for each bend. From the entered data the press brake program determines the back gauge position and tonnage requirements of each entered bend. Although the CNC program is accurate the operator must precisely measure each bend dimension and angle to assure that tolerances are held. Each piece of material has uncontrollable variables allowing it to react differently, from piece to piece, during the forming process. Operators must have the skill to make necessary adjustments assuring that dimensional requirements are held.

Air bending is the most common type of bending used in sheet metal shops today and is used by A-1 Fabricators & Finishers. In this process the work piece comes in contact with the outside edges of the die, as well as the punch tip. The punch is then forced past the top of the die into the v-opening without coming into contact with the bottom of the v. The v opening is typically deeper than the angle which is sought in the work piece. This allows for the over bending to compensate for the spring back of the work piece.

Because the punch tip does not penetrate the work piece the inside radius of the bend is controlled almost entirely by the size of the v opening of the bottom die resulting in the larger the v opening the larger the radius. This means that the operator can control the radius of a bend even when working with the same material and thickness just by changing the bottom die. This can be used to compensate for errors in the layout or achieve a wider variety of design options. Below you can see an example of Air Bending, notice there are only three points of contact.

Often in forming there is reference to bend allowance. The bend allowance is factored into the material size when the fabrication engineer is laying parts out manufacturing. The fabrication engineer must factor the bend allowance into the part assuring that material consumed during the forming process is factored properly. Determining proper bend allowance is critical in achieving specified finished dimensions. Definition of bend allowance is the length of the arc of the neutral line between the tangent points of a bend in any material. By adding the length of each flange taken between the center of the radius to the bend allowance gives the Flat Pattern length. This bend allowance formula is used to determine the flat pattern length when a bend is dimensioned from 1) the center of the radius, 2) a tangent point of the radius or 3) the outside tangent point of the radius on an acute angle bend.

 

Busy October at A-1 Fabricators & Finishers

It has been a busy last few weeks at A-1 Fabricators and Finishers. Finishing touches are being made on our expansion and soon the new offices will be occupied. Plans are being laid out to increase our current painting capacity in volume, size, and process capabilities utilizing additional space provide with the expansion. Warehousing operations has been successfully relocated to the new facility.

The past month also included a visit from a representative from the OSHA Department. Having no past experience with the office our initial impression was that of fear. Having heard nightmarish stories throughout the years, I am happy to report that the OSHA representative was pleasant and professional. The representatives only objective was to assure that employees concerns were addressed and that A-1 Fabricators provided a safe working environment for their employees; an objective shared by A-1 Fabricators & Finishers. Although the final report has not been issued the experience was found to be insightful and provided the enthusiasm to review and evaluate existing safety programs. Although many of our programs provided the requirements needed for the safety of our employees we were presented with the opportunity to implement improvement to some existing programs and practices thus providing a safer work environment for all.

The fire department also performed their annual inspection of the facility. There were no violations or concerns reported.

Training on the safe operations of forklifts was also provided this month. 48 employees participated in a 4 hour training class and drove the obstacle course to achieve their certification. All employees participating in the training passed both the written and driving exam. They will each be observed operating the forklift in our shop environment to complete their certification requirements.

We also had the pleasure of entertaining a Quality System Audit by the Quality Assurance Department of the Curtiss Wright Corporation, Nuclear Division. The audit reviewed our quality processes but was focused on material handling, traceability, and welding certifications and controls. We are pleased to report that there were no deficiencies reported during the survey.

Looking forward to what we hope to be a calmer November.

The Art of Metal Finishing

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Metal finishers are the artist of any fabrication operation. Mastering the finesse need to perform the transformation of product from an unfinished state to a flawlessly completed product.

What appears to be the simplest of task, if improperly done, can destroy the cosmetic appearance of the finished product. Often the artful skill of their workmanship provides the foundation of a superior paint finish but not in all cases. Our prominence in the finishing of Stainless Steel and Aluminum provides an insight to the expertise of our highly skilled finishers.

The fabrication process presents many inherent opportunities for the finishers to prove themselves. The finisher is responsible for smoothing of welds, finishing of corners, removal of imperfections, and for safety reasons the removal of sharp edges. When touring our facility I often reiterate the fact that our finishers are, blessed or cursed however they choose to look at it, with the task of making our welders look amazing.

With the simplest of tools the transformation to product is performed. Often the process begins with an Angle Grinder the most critical of the finishing operations. The angle grinder is a large bulky hand tools, requiring 2 hands to operate, and a disc spinning at 2,800 to 11,000 rpm. Various grits of sand paper are applied to the spinning disc providing flexibility in the amount of material and in the material type being finished. Mastering the correct amount of material to remove, angle of the tool, and correct application of pressure to achieve the desired results is the key to the artistry and the beginning process to a superior finish.

Once the grinding operation is completed smoothing out the ground surfaces, removal of sharp edges, and an overall smoothing to the surface of the product is required. This is most often accomplished with the use of a Dual Action (DA) sander. Various grits of sandpaper can be applied to the random orbital pad providing flexibility in the material type to be finished and control in the smoothness of the surface to be finished.

In areas that are difficult or cannot be reached with the traditional finishing equipment, a Belt Sander, characterized by a continuous loop of sandpaper driven around an arm, maybe be used. Arms are interchangeable allowing extended reach areas, small reach areas, and various angles. Optional grits of belts can also be used to obtain various finishing requirements.

Contamination of product such as Stainless Steel is possible when tools are used on carbon steels and then used on Stainless product. The carbon is embedded into the material and can result in recurring rusting of the carbon that becomes embedded into the Stainless Steel. This concern is addressed with the separation of material processed. Carbon steel product is processed in one department while Stainless and Aluminum are processed in a separated work area. The division of work areas has been established to prevent contamination through dust in the air and through the possible use of equipment that had previously been used on carbon steel materials.

As demonstrated in any process that is centered on the talent and ability of the craftsmen, our operators are assigned to the department that best suit their skills. This allows each finisher to demonstrate the commitment to their craft through the exceptional appearance of our finished product.

Why Both MIG & TIG Welding

While both end results of MIG and TIG Welding are the same, in that the metal pieces or parts are joined together by heating the surfaces to the point of melting, there are very distinct   difference in both appearance and technique. Each of the 13 weld station at A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is equipped with a MIG and TIG welding machine.

The mig process is used to weld most metal types. In cases where weld quality is not critical the Mig process is fast, cost efficient, and produces results that are more than acceptable for most manufacturing and fabrication needs.

MIG welding was developed in 1940’s, and is considered semi-automated. Accounting for the skill of the welder, the continuous filling of the joint being welded through the MIG welding machine, allows for longer weld beads and increased productivity.

Three things are required for the MIG weld process, electricity to produce heat, an electrode to fill the joint, and shielding gas to protect the weld from the air. The wire runs through the liner, which also has gas feeding through the same cable to the point of arc, which protects the weld from the air. MIG welding is done using a very small electrode that is fed continuously, while the operator controls the amount of weld.

TIG welding is mostly used for critical weld joints, welding metals other than common steel, and where precise, small welds are needed.

It is a manual welding process that requires the welder to use two hands to weld. One of the major differences of TIG welding process is the way the arc is created and how the filler metal is added. During the TIG Welding process one hand is used to hold the TIG torch that produces the arc and the other hand is used to add the filler metal to the weld joint. Due to two hands and the coordination required to weld TIG welding is the most difficult of the welding processes to learn. The TIG welding process is the most versatile when it comes to welding of different metals and produces the higher quality of weld , when executed properly, but the process is slow.

TIG welding requires three things, heat, shielding, and filler metal. The heat is produced by electricity passing through the tungsten electrode by creating an arc to the metal. The shielding comes from a compressed bottle of gas that flows to the weld area to protect it from air. The filler metal is just a wire that is dipped by hand into the arc and melted.

The marriage of the three required elements begins with the welder turning on the gas flow, either by or a valve or on the TIG torch itself. The gas begins to flow and starts protecting the weld area from the air. The torch is held over the weld joint just far enough for the torch not to touch the metal. The welder then presses a foot pedal and the TIG torches tungsten electrode starts an arc. Once the arc is started the two pieces of metal begin to melt by creating a puddle of metal. Once the puddle is established the welder with the other hand starts filling the joint by manually dipping a welding wire into the arc to fill the joint. Ultimately this process creates a single piece of metal.

Reference material : http://www.gowelding.org/

Contact Us

4220 Curliss Lane
Batavia, OH 45103

P: 513.724.0383
F: 513.724.0387

Quotes or Questions:
Dennis Doane – President
Joseph Strack – Senior Engineer