“I have been in manufacturing my entire career. I bought Cobb Tool in 2001 after a six-month search across the Southeast. Few candidates were run like businesses. They were too dependent on the owner. They weren’t professional, and many seemed to be run out of a shoe box. In contrast, Cobb Tool was a whole company — one with skilled experts in the right positions, and no one person wearing all the hats. Today, Cobb Tool’s experienced staff brings complementary expertise to the table. We are driven by customer satisfaction. And we work every day to make the company more professional and better able to exceed your expectations.”
Engineering & Machinists
A DIFFERENT KIND OF MACHINE SHOP
Machine shops have been a key manufacturing industry resource since at least the early 1800’s. But, the days when a successful machine shop consisted of a couple of machines in a garage, a few physically fit workmen and an “open” sign are becoming a thing of the past. While those shops exist, and their pricing can sometimes seem like a bargain, their ability to provide skilled expertise, accurate parts on time consistently is seldom accomplished. All too frequently the actual cost of doing business fails to live up to the promise of the quoted price.
At Cobb Tool, we have a different approach to working with our customers, backed by 50 years in business. We combine the skilled expertise of experienced craftsmen with a personal commitment to responsibility in meeting project and relationship expectations. There are plenty of machine shops, but very few possess the ability and willingness to take full responsibility for a project – including design.
We have a pathological desire to please our customers. That goes for both our project results and for the process we take to get there with our customers. We take full responsibility for our projects with you. You know a lot more about your parts and needs than we do, but ultimately it is our obligation to produce a finished product that satisfies you. We always bring our experience to the table to make your project easier, faster and cheaper – while still meeting your needs.
That means we:
- Consistently deliver quality work – perfect finished parts and exacting welding fixtures that work in your production process
- Strive to efficiently design and execute your project to save you both time and money
- Treat our customers as we’d like to be treated ourselves
- Are flexible and easy to deal with, fun to work with even
- Respectfully deal with the inevitable challenges and changes that come up in many projects
- Are committed to see a project through to its end, no matter what
- Stand by our work
At Cobb Tool, customer service starts with our staff’s attitudes, but we implement it systematically throughout the project timeline. Customers need and deserve a full-grown supplier that operates like a business – in every part of our relationship. To successfully serve our customers, we have an engineering manager, a shop foreman, an efficient shop scheduling system, an office manager and a professional salesforce. Every step of the way – that’s how Cobb Tool makes sure that we really do produce customer-focused results.
Our experienced engineers will design the most efficient process to tool your machined part and take full responsibility for your welding fixture and jig needs. Whether we follow your long-established process or work with you to tailor a new one that maximizes your investment, our engineers can help every step of the way. We are manufacturing engineers, not just tool designers.
Some customers come to us with a well-planned process for how they want to build their weldments. More commonly they hand us an assembly drawing and ask us to develop a sequence of operations, subassembly fixtures, fit and tack welding fixtures and final weldout fixtures, to produce a part in the most efficient and practical way possible.
With more than 20 years of practical experience and a Mechanical Engineering degree from Southern Polytechnic, Dan Ryll, our engineering manager is up to the challenge and guides the Cobb Tool design operation. Dan started out as a fabrication / welding engineer in a large equipment manufacturer. He learned firsthand what it’s like on a shop floor. He knows the variables that production customers face. He understands that employees have a broad range of training and experience, so his designs are simple and straightforward. He knows that durability is critical. He gets that weld shops are harsh environments – full of dust and dirt, imperfect parts and welders with hammers. The outcome of this expertise – and our assumption, is that every weld fixture we build has to stand up for years of day-to-day use and the abuse that comes with that territory.
Our engineering knowledge provides value to you even when all we’re doing is machining a part to your print. We understand the purpose of the part, its application and end-goal. We recognize your part’s key features, spending the time needed to meet those specifications, without wasting time creating precise features that don’t matter. We interact with customers to understand their application and make suggestions on how the part can be made most economically without sacrificing its ability to perform its prescribed function.
We design parts using 3D CAD software that lets us literally see each part and how it fits together with others. We engage our customers in this process. We work virtually, sharing and reviewing design information anywhere our customers are. Once designed, the part information is digitally transferred to the CAM software used to program the most up-to-date CNC mills and lathes on our shop floor. This streamlined process saves time, minimizes mistakes and allows the customer to be involved at every step in the process of designing and producing a precision machined part, or a complete welding fixture.
SHOP FLOOR MANAGEMENT AND SCHEDULING
Your job is to source a quality, competitively priced product that you receive on time. Everyone knows that, yet few machine and tool shops take the time and effort to create a system to make that happen and happen every time. Most “schedules” are an open order list, or a scribbled sheet of who is supposed to do what. Those schedules are often ignored or obsolete by the middle of the day because job shops lack the predictability of production shops. The variety of work done by a machine shop means that one week you’ve got too much lathe work and the next week the mills are overloaded. It takes a system to effectively manage a machine shop.
Cobb Tool has adopted an established system that is documented to efficiently deliver on time – and we follow it day in and day out. Our goal is to keep a minimum amount of work-in-process. If we start a job, we keep it going until it is finished. We also have easy access to information on the progress we’re making on every job. Keeping work-in-process to a minimum forces us to address problems quickly. It also gives us the ability to adapt to changing customer needs and rush orders while remaining efficient.
OUR SKILLED MACHINISTS
Machine shops are a complex combination of time-tested mechanical machinery now aligned with sophisticated 21st Century technology. However, technology is not only what distinguishes Cobb Tool from other machine shops. While computers have changed the design and machining processes dramatically, quality products still require skilled designers and well-trained machinists to make the key decisions that produce the desired result.
Experienced machinists plan their work before making the first chip. They develop a sequence of operations that assures that the part’s features are all in the correct relationship to each other and that no time is wasted with unnecessary set-ups. Once that strategic plan is in place, they can take full advantage of the modern technology that Cobb Tool ultimately relies on to make your parts.
For many machine and tool shops, the salesforce is the owner, whose broad responsibilities often limit his ability to provide the sales support customers deserve.
A good salesforce fulfills at least three key functions. One is to bring in new business. The next critical role is to stay in contact with customers. Now more than ever, we believe that personal relationships matter.That’s where our salesforce is key. They are responsible for maintaining direct contact with our customers, whether we have a current order or not, so that we can anticipate and understand your business needs. Finally, they also serve as the customer’s advocate in the shop. As we said before, Cobb Tool has a pathological desire to please, and our salesforce is committed to that objective.
We have two professional salespeople representing us from their regional offices in South Carolina and Georgia. Each has more than 10 years of sales experience and they are a valuable resource for Cobb Tool and our customers.
Yes, Cobb Tool produces great quality machined parts and smart, efficient welding fixtures and jigs. Yes, we have up-to-date equipment and innovative technology – and continue to invest in new technology every year. But it is the Cobb Tool staff that makes the difference. Our people know the equipment and understand how to take advantage of the technology to assure quality outcomes. And we know how to work with customers to make working to achieve great project outcomes easy and efficient. We pride ourselves in being problem solvers and customer resources. We look forward to working with you to tackle your next challenge.