Customer Profile: Falcon
Falcon initially approached BLUCO with multiple concerns including fixturing, material handling, and space restrictions with regards to the production of their trailer frames.
Once BLUCO paid a visit to their location with its hands-on travel demo trailer, it became apparent that safety, quality, productivity, and waste elimination were a big part of Falcon’s search for a better solution.
Falcon manufactures three types of trailer frames – single axle, tandem axle and tri-axle. At the time Falcon reached out to BLUCO, they had a single fixture that could accommodate one of their trailers but not all three. Wishing to expand capacity, Falcon was in the search for a fixture installation that could handle all three of their trailer frame types along with the ability to manage custom frames.
After presenting Falcon with CAD concept designs, it became apparent that manipulation of the tooling for both lifting and rotating was needed. BLUCO introduced ALM Positioners to Falcon, and the perfect solution was born. The combination of ALM Positioners with the BLUCO tooling would allow them to load, weld, rotate and release the part from the fixturing.
Once the concept and quote were completed, Falcon shipped the part to BLUCO’s Validation Center to prove out the solution. At the Validation Center, Falcon operators, using their actual part, experienced and evaluated the ALM Positioners/BLUCO installation.
The following comments are from Jim Jurgens, VPO at Falcon.
Tell us a little bit about your need(s); what you were seeking to accomplish/improve?
With any project that Falcon tackles, we look to positively impact as many of the following five measurables as possible:
- safety and environmental
- quality improvement
- material savings
- productivity improvement
- waste elimination
The preliminary grading of this frame fixture project was that it would positively affect points 1 through 5.
Were there other solutions you considered? If so, why did you not choose them?
We evaluated two other units. Unit A was not customized for our application – it was purchased “off-the-shelf” and you get what you get. Unit B was the lifters only – it did not include the fixture with clamps, spacers, etc. They were not very responsive to our questions or our needs.
How many BLUCO/ALM Positioners units do you presently own/rent? Are you looking to purchase more in the future?
We own the frame fixture from BLUCO/ALM Positioners. We recently added a rent-to-own lift from BLUCO which we use for hopper wall production. We will probably purchase another welding table in the next 6 to 12 months.
What would you pick as the top benefit of using ALM Positioners?
The safety aspect for our employees is the key benefit for the positioners. Our old fixture was more of a fixed jig with the working surface at ~48”; it could not articulate up and down. This would cause ergonomic concerns as our people were loading steel pieces up to this working surface. The positioner from ALM Positioners allows us to move the fixture up and down to levels for the employees to safely lift steel rails and parts.
What would you pick as the top benefit of using BLUCO modular tooling?
The top benefit that we’ve seen for the modular tooling is the ability for our team to move quickly while loading their pieces to predetermined, marked locations. Further, these locations are “true” from a quality perspective. Our old fixture did not have marked locations and after many years of use, the quality was not always true.
What has been the impact on your productivity?
So far, we’ve seen an increase in productivity of 25% and fully expect that to grow the longer we use the installation.
What has been their impact on your worker comfort?
I think our employees would tell you that the fixture has been much easier to work with and thus has been more comfortable for them.