A New Approach Creates an Opportunity
Recently, a customer in the packaging industry placed an order with Cobb Tool for a machined casting. This was a new part for us, and the customer hadn’t ordered it in years. The foundry couldn’t find the pattern; time was short; and rapid prototyping options were expensive. Upon review, we proposed a different approach. Instead of a machined casting, we suggested that we redesign the part as a weldment. The customer had his doubts that this could be a cost-effective solution. But we redesigned the part from raw stock. It turned out that the weldment price was less than the casting. With that result, the customer made us the permanent supplier of this part and eliminated the casting. With Cobb Tool as its partner, our customer ended up with a better part, at a lower cost with a shorter lead-time.
An American Solution to a Long-Distance Challenge
In 2015, a Japanese manufacturer of construction equipment was establishing a manufacturing facility near Greenville, South Carolina. With a plant in China and access to inexpensive Chinese tooling sources, they really did not need a U.S. tooling supplier. Recognizing that their equipment would however need to be modified for production in the U.S., they approached Cobb Tool as a potential tooling supplierfor an exploratory project. They were impressed with our familiarity with construction equipment tooling and our design capability. They also saw the value of our proximity – for project supervision and for reduced shipping time and cost. Their first project with Cobb Tool was a massive fixture to build the center frame of an excavator. This was to be no small task. In fact, it was a 27,000-pound, 11-by 17-foot fixture. The Cobb Tool team successfully modified the design for U.S. specifications, sourced U.S.-purchased parts, built and installed the fixture – all on time and within budget. This manufacturer is a continuing Cobb Tool customer, regularly ordering new tooling projectsand enjoying and valuing our close proximity, familiarity with their products, and our creative and reliable solutions.
Welding with a Twist
In this case, the challenge was to fix the parts to eliminate the twist. This automobile hauling trailermanufacturer needed to robotically weld 10 different aluminum part numbers ranging from 46” to 99” in length on the same fixture. These aluminum parts, notorious for heat distortion, needed to be flat after welding.
The solution was a precisely designed, shimmable fixture that clamped the parts effectively, while not interfering with the robot’s ability to make all required welds. While this fixture design challenged our team – we’d never tooled a part just like this before, our experience allowed us to anticipate the problems inherent in welding these parts. After seven years, the customer is still using this fixture to produce some of the best parts they’ve ever made.
Creating Customer Loyalty When the Chips are Down
A purchasing agent’s worst nightmare: late production parts, the potential for a line shut-down, and his vendor wasn’t answering the phone. Fortunately,he had an alternative – Cobb Tool. He was alreadybuying some parts from Cobb Tool and believed that we could handle this new one. But this was not an easy task. The parts were not simple. From a rough casting, they required two different turning operations and two separate milling operations. Tolerances were as tight as +/- .0004” and they needed 300 to 400 pieces per month.But Cobb Tool did what it took to get these parts into production and prevented the customer from shutting down his line. By rescheduling other jobs, reassigning and dedicating positions, training staff on new machines, and taking on overtime, Cobb Tool met their need. An in the process, secured a loyal customer – even withstanding market pressures, absorbing a recent raw material cost increase.