Case Study: Looking for a Locomotive Engine Cab?

Locomotive Operator's Cab

Probably not—unless you build locomotives. But what if your primary competency is rebuilding them: Disassembling them down to the frame, repairing their mechanical systems, and putting them back together for many more years of service on the tracks? Your expertise is achieved by mechanics and skilled labor to carry out the heavy rebuilding. The reality, though, is that your success will be judged by what your customer and their customers see first—the sheet metal cabs. They must properly represent the quality of your work underneath.

If you haven’t made the investment in the lasers, CNC press brakes and skilled metal fabricators required for this type of work, it might be time to consider buying these components instead. That is what a recent Pickwick customer decided. They had us build 4 sets of 8 different complete cabinets for a major contract: Operator, Engine, High Voltage, Blower, Radiator, Short Nose, and Sand Tank as well as the Engineer’s Control Stand.

In addition to building the parts, the client asked Pickwick for assistance in redesigning some features for ease in manufacturing (“DFM”). We now make small changes from set to set, which makes our client’s work easier and accommodates variations in the original manufactured design. Each of these instances reflect both the flexibility of CNC blanking and our own experienced workforce.

Your expertise is likely totally different from rebuilding locomotives, but when you need metal parts or assemblies to support your product, give us a call to talk your challenge over with our engineers. We don’t pretend to know your product, but we do know metal fabricating. There is no cost to learn if we can help you drop more to your bottom line!


5 Things You Need to Know About CAM Programming

Pickwick is a continuous-flow manufacturing service, not a one-off job shop.  As such our primary goal is developing a repeatable precision processes for creating your product.  That requires us initially to initially convert your product’s prints, CAD files, Bill of Materials and specifications into our own electronic database systems and machine tool programs. This considerable initial investment of time by our engineering team is included in our service to help ensure precise consistency in every re-order, year after year.

Occasionally, this extensive conversion process reveals problems or variations hidden in the original information we received that must be addressed to produce the accurate part, kit or assembly your customer needs. The reasons vary:

  1. The designs may not have been updated to reflect the item as it is currently being built.
  2. The customer requests changes to the product to better answer his requirements.
  3. The CAD model provided is unusable for generating precise machine code. Inconsistencies in points of origin, interferences, material thickness issues and the like may only become apparent during processing.
  4. Alternative materials are required due to unavailability or ease of manufacturing, and the furnished data must be modified to enable the change (such as converting metric to imperial dimensions, for example).
  5. You see the opportunity to use our CAM process data for your own purposes, such as marketing illustrations, maintenance or repair manuals, or even a starting point for further product improvement.

We are pleased to assist you with any of these needs, should they arise, and will keep you informed if they require an amendment to our original quote or extend the lead time necessary before releasing your job to production.

Our Services: Supply Chain Maintenance

Pickwick’s Materials Team provides expert supply chain maintenance of Tier II and Tier III vendors. As a standard feature of our service, we will acquire the generic materials (steel, hardware, paint, etc.) required to build your product independently, using our considerable buying power. Additional specialized components unique to your product will normally be addressed in the quotation process; either they will be supplied by you or purchased by us to your specifications from your current suppliers. In either case, Pickwick can rely on your existing supply chain and your contract for pricing, availability and delivery or with your permission seek more cost-effective solutions.

However, volumes sometimes grow to the point where it may present a cost savings to assign our team to your vendor maintenance, acquisition, inventories, maintaining quality standards and the like. For some clients, this service extends to maintaining stock for aftermarket orders and assuming responsibility for pass-through vendor warranty response. Circuit boards, gear motors, machined components, extrusions and special wiring harnesses are among the hundreds of items Pickwick obtains and stocks for this client against their orders and forecast.

If you have questions about how we can assist with your supply chain maintenance and Tier II and Tier III vendors, please give us a call. For information about other services that may benefit you with faster delivery or improved quality, check out our blog posts and Featured Solutions on our website.

Our Services: Process Engineering – Design Revisions & Cost Reduction

Pickwick’s engineering expertise is our CAD and manufacturing processes. We have also had success with cost reduction projects in partnering with some of our best customers.

If we can make adaptations or revisions to your product’s “Form, Fit and Function,” we do so at our standard hourly engineering rate and at your specific instruction and risk. The latter is because we do not have expertise in your field. We rely on you to identify what it must look like, critical tolerances, how it will be used, stresses it must withstand, safety considerations and any other factors associated with your design.

Cost reduction projects come into play at your request. With our expertise in sheet metal, fabrication and welding, we can review designs for cost-cutting or value-added ideas. This can take the form of a “funded request” or on a “shared benefit” basis.

For more detail about our many value-added services, visit our Featured Solutions page.


Our Services: Process Engineering – Supporting Your Staff

A member of our engineering team manipulates a diagram
A member of our engineering team manipulates a diagram

Once a customer comes on board at Pickwick, they will find a team of process engineers to help with a variety of tasks, such as Computer Assisted Manufacturing (CAM) programming, design and revision assistance and cost reduction projects. First, we’d like to tell you about our team, and in future posts, we will share more about the specific engineering services we provide.

Our goal is to ensure precise repeatability of future reorders. Pickwick is proud to have nine process engineers on our team to ensure that goal with every project. Several staff members have multiple years of experience here, and all are thoroughly trained in creating and working from 3D models in both SolidWorks and AutoCAD. Very few manufacturing services firms provide an engineering support team of this size and with this level of expertise.

Sometimes, our customers don’t need help. They may have an engineer or two experienced in fabrication on staff, which is usually sufficient. In that case, we simply convert the designs into our system and begin production. However, on occasion, we are able to improve a project or process for our customers. This can save money and time in manufacturing the metal parts or metal assemblies they need.

A few quick examples of services we provide beyond the typical design conversion process:

  • We can provide the detail shop drawings from a provided design model
  • We can enable the client’s team to work faster
  • We can provide a thorough “manufacturability” review to discover cost reductions

We have improved many products and processes through this investment of time and process engineering expertise. We’re here when needed with unparalleled manufacturing-specific process engineering expertise.

Our Services: Drop Shipping

Export CratesDo you ship your product to locations in the U.S. or internationally? If so, Pickwick Manufacturing Services is eager to assist. We welcome requests for drop-shipping the product we build to your end customer. We frequently provide heat-treated export crating for overseas shipping. To reduce waste and streamline shipping, we can also provide reusable crates for domestic shipping back and forth to your plant.

Recently, one major client asked us to install its products on the fabrication we built to their requirements and test the final assembly. Then, following their work instructions, we crate and ship the end product in overseas containers to locations around the world. A special connection has been installed to allow their technicians to remotely monitor the final tests before packaging.

We gladly provide a high level of service and technology to our customers. Drop shipping nationally and internationally is just one example. Please visit this blog often to learn more about our other services:

Our Services: Testing & Certification

faro arm certificationPickwick Manufacturing Services provides the support services OEM manufacturers need to ensure quality in their finished products. Everything we manufacture is automatically included within our ISO 2008 Accreditation, which benefits from the oversight of both our Quality Assurance and AWS Certified Welding Inspectors Teams to assure compliance with your design.

But did you know that Pickwick’s expertise can be extended to include performance testing when required? Our capabilities include test fixtures, performance monitoring, compliance affidavits and a professional staff ready to take on whatever specialized training these processes require. For one customer, this includes installing and calibrating their instrumentation while they observe the process via the Internet.

Please contact us with questions about how we can help streamline the manufacture of your product, and visit our blog often to learn more about our other value-added services:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Supply Chain Maintenance
  • Production Scheduling
  • Drop Shipping

Case Study: Equipment Trailer Decks

Large, Heavy Weldments: From Engineering to Certified Welding

Heavy-haul Trailer DeckPickwick Manufacturing Services has manufactured a variety of large, heavy weldments, from mobile rock crushing plants and truck frames to asphalt hopper bins. For one customer’s heavy-duty trailer decks, we procure materials, fabricate beams and weld 3 to 4 units per week in a continuous flow for delivery to their facility in the Upper Midwest.

Upon request, Pickwick provides engineering detail and shop drawings for these units. Manufacture includes laser blanking of sheet and plate metal, sawing structural steel, forming and Certified Welding to American Welding Society D1.1. The overall dimensions are 8’-6” wide and over 28 feet long, weighing up to 7,500 pounds each.

With each unit, Pickwick inspects the overall dimensions, pin locations and all welds. Tolerances must be within 1/16”. Custom internal inspection forms are used for the main deck weldment and each beam. In addition to meeting the AWS D1.1 standards with 2G welders and CWI inspection, the project is completed within ISO 2000:2008 Accreditation.

From large equipment to small fabrications, Pickwick offers the engineering, supply chain, fulfillment and logistics capabilities that save customers time and money while improving products and enhancing their competitive edge. Please let us know about your manufacturing issues and we will share our success stories with you.

Our Services: Lean Manufacturing

Certified Lean Manager Craig Purdy
Our Certified Lean Manager, Craig Purdy

At Pickwick, we tailor our manufacturing services to your needs. These services include lean manufacturing. Our on-site Certified Lean Manager guides our internal implementation and coordinates new client joint ventures such as the “supermarket” with flow-lanes a client requested to support a 300% increase in their needs.

Our team also analyzed 15 subcomponents of a major assembly to see if we could simplify their manufacture. This review resulted in reducing 18 separate brake press setups to 5, making it possible to flow the parts in small batches to match the day’s production and eliminate inventory. We gladly shared the cost savings with the customer.

Please check back for more about the other services that are available when you need them.

  • Engineering
  • Supply Chain Maintenance
  • Production Scheduling
  • Testing and Certification
  • Drop Shipping