“We were developing and quoting a part for a customer that was unsure of the total volume,” Bozell says. “This customer reasoned that the job would be successful and that part volumes would increase, but still was hesitant on the initial volume. So we added an intermediate step with the laser-cut blank and then processed it through the forming operations in lower volumes. When the volumes reach a certain level we can build hard tooling. Having the laser cutter at our disposal helped launch that job appropriately and earned us a job that we may not have gotten otherwise.”

To outsource this type of work would have been costly, with lead time becoming a significant issue.

“As soon as that laser-cutting machine came on, we used lead time as an advantage,” Bozell says. “And it allows us to better serve our customers. For example, during product development, we can meet with customers and produce a prototype to use as we share our ideas. The ability to produce parts quickly is a huge advantage.”

Inventory Challenge Offers an Opportunity

Interestingly, addition of the fiber-laser cutting machine has created an unexpected challenge, one that Bozell sees as an opportunity for Weber Specialties.

“We are trying to manage sheet remnants,” he says. “We can offer remnants to low-volume customers so that they don’t have to purchase full sheets to make only four or five parts. We are working on a strategy to keep remnants in stock and in our MRP/ERP system so that we can identify exactly what we have. We hadn’t even considered this when we purchased the machine.” MF

Industry-Related Terms: Blank, Brass, Ferrous, Forming, Hard Tooling, LASER, Lead Time, Model, Prototype, Run, Stainless Steel
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Cutting

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