Flexible Lean Technology
Pickwick’s transition from its OEM product line to Manufacturing Services in the mid-1980s was driven by focus on eliminating waste in the manufacturing process. As Just-In-Time concepts of Deming and Japanese mass-production evolved into Lean Manufacturing, Pickwick sought a parallel course in developing flexible lean technology and manufacturing processes for varied, complex products in low volumes.
Our skilled workforce was augmented when we acquired the first full-sheet laser in the U.S. in 1985. Specifically, it provides clients with kits of high-precision blanks for each job. CNC Brake Presses were rapidly followed by CAD Systems capable of quickly converting customer needs into accurate production prints. Pickwick’s early process innovations included etching client’s part numbers, bend lines and similar information directly onto the cut blanks; this enabled our operators to simplify setups and quickly identify the differences in “mixed model” production of similar machines. Today, our 3D Solid Modeling systems provide our welders and assemblers with exploded as well as finished views and joint details of more complex products, at their benches.
We build our own weld fixtures in-house if they are required, but applying “Tab and Slot” assembly features to your design (with your approval) minimizes setup and tack welding labor while enabling equal accuracy at reduced cost. Our development of this process was another major reason for acquiring the Structural Shape Laser (see video below), which also eliminates setups and secondary machining operations. When Robotic Welders acquired touch sensing and seam tracking features, making them suitable for shorter runs and lighter materials, we acquired that technology, as well. These processes and the many others developed over the years enable both economical continuous single-piece flow of mixed models and small Kanban batch builds in time to match your actual sales, not inventory.
AWS CWI (Certified Weld Inspector) Program
At Pickwick, welding is a core competency. To achieve the weld quality our diverse customers expect and require, we have committed to the following:
- Cross-Functional American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Weld Inspectors Team (Engineer, Supervisor and Inspector) drives for continual improvement of weld product quality and people quality issues, keeping them at the forefront of our production demands.
- Welder Training Program administered in-house for both new Associates and old alike to achieve AWS D1.1 Certification at minimum and advanced levels as required before they are integrated into a dedicated cell and trained to the specific process and prints.
- Certified Magnetic Particle Inspection is available in-house upon request.
Design/Engineering Process Software
When clients are ready to convert old prints into digital formats, our expertise in Solids Modeling converts basic 2D images into fully realized 3D digital models. Over the years, the cost savings for this one-time investment can be significant. Our 3D model guarantees fit and can be modified with a few clicks. This forward-thinking process enables us to:
- Simplify revisions
- Guarantee fit
- Study and improve designs
- Store and retrieve models quickly
- Facilitate prototype development
- Create realistic images for marketing materials
Pickwick is fully versed in software that brings extra value to our partnership.
Structural Shape Laser
Solve Problems, Eliminate Constraints & Reduce Labor
The FG-300 is a fully automated and highly accurate 3D laser-cutting system. It features a tapping head for processing structural shapes including pipes and tubes with minimal setup. It replaces expensive, slow secondary operations that require machining with multiple tools and setups. Bevels, contours for tight fit-ups on intersecting joints and tabs or slots for fixtureless assembly are easily incorporated. It automatically loads, feeds, laser cuts and unloads mill-length bars and delivers them ready for welding or assembly.
Robotic Welding Cell
Flexible, Intelligent & Efficient
With speed and precision, the dual robot dual head and tailstock cell overcomes the limits of traditional robotic welding cells through high-voltage touch sensing and through-the-arc seam tracking. Touch sensing allows both robots to touch off on the part and determine its exact location, relying less on a heavy rigid fixture and base location. Seam tracking enables automatic course changes made during the weld application, which overcomes minute metal distortion and maintains weld integrity. The robotic weld cell can be a valuable way to employ flexible lean technology in your manufacturing process.