TruForm, with New Presses, Set for Auto-Work UptickNovember 1, 2017
Along I-40 just west of Nashville, the thump-thump-thump echoes from TruForm Way, the newly named street where TruForm Manufacturing LLC stamps and assembles components destined for appliance OEMs and automotive Tier One customers. The rhythm tells you that TruForm is busy. Fact is, TruForm has grown busier every year since the late-2000s recession.
The company opened its doors in 1999 with two 200-ton presses in a 20,000-sq.-ft. plant. Expansions followed, and significant growth occurred after its purchase by Sisler Manufacturing Group in 2012. With its new owners, Jon and Brett Sisler, experienced in the appliance industry, TruForm took on that sector to augment what had been until that point a 100-percent automotive-supply business. A capital infusion followed, with TruForm growing in size from 40,000 sq. ft. at the time of sale to nearly 100,000 sq. ft. under roof in adjacent buildings today.
The campus has room to grow even further, as the company owns several acres of land on the site.
New Work, JIT Needs Make Case for New Presses
Within its expanding space, TruForm and its 96 employees across two shifts provide progressive-die stamping, robotic and resistance gas-metal-arc welding, and assembly. In late-2015, new automotive work, slated to begin in summer 2018, prompted the company to explore added press capacity.
“I’m a big believer in redundant backup, because we are a just-in-time (JIT) supplier,” explains Paul Beaton, TruForm general manager. “Any press that we buy should be compatible with our existing presses with respect to shut height, stroke, bolster scrap patterns, pass lines, die protection, controls and more.”
TruForm supplies appliance OEMs on the order of 4-million-plus primarily complex hinge and lever mechanisms per year, while supplying automotive Tier Ones with console brackets as well as instrument-panel and exhaust components in typical volumes between 100,000 and 350,000 units annually. Today, the appliance-automotive mix hovers around 50/50, with next year seeing automotive comprise about 70 percent of the company’s production after launch of the 2019 Nissan Altima program. Stamped-part materials include stainless and carbon steels, including high-strength grades, in thicknesses from 0.02 to 0.20 in.
Controls, Feeds, Scrap System All Work Together
The TruForm team investigated potential presses from December 2015 to March 2016.
“We looked at used presses as well as new presses from domestic and offshore builders,” recalls Beaton. “We evaluated functionality, features, delivery time, serviceability and price.”