A domestic manufacturer of heavy industrial trucking components came to Merrill Engineering & Integration for a solution to their high scrap and low productivity problems. They wanted to replace both antiquated and newly purchased competitor machines with systems similar to those we provided to them years earlier. This manufacturer had purchased equipment from Merrill Engineering & Integration six years prior and since then, the competitor’s equipment they acquired could not withstand their plant’s harsh manufacturing process and environment, while our cell continued to produce product. Longevity and performance motivated the customer to purchase new Merrill Engineering & Integration cells for their capital expansion.
Merrill Engineering & Integration was asked to conceptualize, design, and build four new multi-machine tool processing cells. Two of the cells would be tooled for high volume production with the capability of changing over to run a small assortment of different part types. The other two cells were designed to be lower volume production, but highly flexible to run a wide verity of parts with minimal changeover time. The cells would be fully automated, and equipped with robotic integration, in-process gauging, and error proofing.
From the time the purchase order was issued we had nine months to complete the first cell. While much of the economy was slow, job shop manufacturing was in high demand. This made it difficult to source suppliers to meet the challenge. The companies that make up Merrill Technologies Group were ready and able to take on this significant program. Merrill Fabricators produced weldments integrated into the machine tool structure. Merrill Tool & Machine provided close tolerance machining for spindles, slides and other automation. Product inspection was carried out at the Merrill Aviation & Defense facility. Merrill Engineering & Integration managed the program, provided machine design, controls, tooling engineering, and machine assembly. Some components that did not fit the normal manufacturing scope where sourced through our ever expanding supply chain. Outside suppliers were vetted to make sure they could produce product to Merrill Technologies Group’s expectations. Advanced engineering release of long lead materials allowed synchronization of incoming product to build schedule.
Historically, this harsh machining process was abrasive to the machines and made for a cell environment that was full of chips and dust. A strong design emphasis was placed on controlling process chips and dust emissions. Flow of air in the process envelope was directed away from precision slides and operator access points.
Merrill Engineering & Integration provided in-house operator training and demonstrated the manufacturing capabilities on each of the customer’s part types before shipment. We met statistical capability on required print tolerances, and provided support to a successful installation and launch at the customer’s facility. The Merrill Technologies Group met and exceeded the requirements of the customer, allowing them to feel confident in the choice to source their unique manufacturing solutions with us.