Welding Fixture Projects
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 supplier for 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 now a loyal Cobb Tool customer, regularly ordering new tooling and 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 clamp the parts to eliminate the twist. This automobile hauling trailer manufacturer 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.
You Sold It, Now We Need to Make It
Several of Cobb Tool’s customers are robotic integrators. Their business is to create a comprehensive integrated package to help manufacturers to produce their parts and assemblies. These packages integrate the robot itself, the power supply for the welding process, safety equipment, controls and automation. But most integrators outsource the design and production of welding fixtures to specialists like Cobb Tool.
Not long ago an integrator came to us with a problem. He’d already sold an integrated package to a customer – with the PO and down payment in hand. He’d also agreed to an aggressive deadline for the package installation to meet his customer’s new product launch date. The package included an order for 14 unique welding fixtures to support the mandated robotic welding process. But at the last minute his existing welding fixture vendor backed out of the job.
In a tough spot, the integrator turned to Cobb Tool with an established low-margin budget and a difficult deadline. With the promise of building a solid long-term customer, Cobb Tool took the job and built the expected fixtures. Cobb Tool came through in a pinch – delivering all 14 of the fixtures on budget and by the deadline. As a result, today, the customer and his sales team are working hand-in-hand with Cobb Tool on a number of prospective projects.