CLEVELAND, Ohio—Federal Tool & Engineering, LLC, of West Bend, Wisconsin, was recently recognized by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) for its redesign of a CB mounting bracket, used in securing heating cables to the exterior of commercial food service ovens. The company’s efforts earned it the 2016 Higgins-Caditz Design Award, which recognizes a manufacturing company for outstanding achievement in developing an innovative product design. Federal Tool & Engineering is a provider of metal components and welded and manual assemblies to OEMs in the food-service equipment, power generation, on- and off -highway transportation, commercial lighting, and consumer appliance markets.
Based on the size of the oven, a single- , double- , or triple-hole version of the mounting bracket is used to secure the heating cables. Previously, each of the three brackets was made independently. Because total process time was 34-48 seconds per part, depending on the part version, a typical 2,000-piece run could take as long as 26 hours to process. On an annual volume of 45,000 pieces, the annual process time exceeded 550 hours. Additional concerns surrounded the storage, management, and procurement of three different SKUs (stock keeping units), in addition to the tabs welded to each bracket.
After the design change, a single part is produced using a progressive die as a triple-hole version, with the ability to split the part into a single-hole and a double-hole bracket. Total process time has been reduced to 5-6 seconds depending on whether the triple-hole version is split into a single or double hole. This equates to a typical 2,000-piece run taking about four hours to produce, resulting in an annual reduction in processing time of 460 hours.
The original part was made as a separate job with two work centers—one laser and one brake. With the new design, three press and post-press operations are eliminated. Previously, the original part was shipped to the customer, which then purchased and spot welded two or three clips to it. Also, parts needed to be stored in three separate bins. Now, the customer is shipped a complete part that requires no further operations, and it can be stored as a single part number until separation is necessary.
The Higgins-Caditz Design Award, created by the Worcester Pressed Steel Co., of Worcester, Massachusetts, and sponsored by The Quarterly Club, is one of nine Awards of Excellence in Metalforming presented annually by PMA.