Page 17 - MetalForming June 2019
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 The Jier 1000-ton four-point eccentric-geared beast features two moving bolsters, a 72-in. by 30,000-lb. Dallas feed line, Allen Bradley (PanelView) controls, a Helm tonnage monitor, and 12 automatic traveling die clamps with presence sensors (from Pascal Engineering) to foster quick die changeovers. Note also the transfer-system mounts on the press columns, should PTM decide to add a transfer system at some point.
U.S. and transplant automotive OEMs and Tier One customers. The key, she explains, to gaining expertise with rails, which often require stamping and welding a tricky variety of low-carbon and high-strength steels, has been col- laborating with and learning from PTM’s customers. An example: weld sequencing, a critical process that min- imizes distortion and helps meet tight dimensional tolerances.
“Normally you can get away with less-stringent tolerances in protoy- types,” Russell-Kuhr says, “but we’re striving to develop production-intent prototypes-of rails and other complex parts and assemblies. We want to make the testing and validation process eas- ier down the road for the customer and for the eventual supplier of the pro- duction stampings and assemblies.”
Two Different Worlds
Used to running a business based, more or less, on a 50-50 mix of proto- type and production work on relatively low-tonnage presses, Russell-Kuhr now finds herself executing a business model more focused on production stamping of bigger parts, on higher tonnage presses and offering more value added work.
“The new Jier press,” she shares, “is 70-percent booked with work—some takeover jobs and some new tooling in development—by the end of 2019. We’re still running one fill shift per day along with a small second shift, but by year-end, our second shift will be fully staffed.”
We took a walk with Russell-Kuhr through the PTM production plant, a 120,000-sq.-ft. building that sits on the company’s sprawling 70-acre campus that’s home to six buildings and a total of 300,000 sq. ft. under roof. PTM added 30,000 sq. ft. to its main production plant in 2017 to make room for the new Jier press, and leave enough room to add one more large-bed press— when the company is ready for it. The plant employs 100 of the nearly 300 PTM employees overall, a 5-percent increase year over year, and the growth continues. The plant’s 17 mechanical
larger parts also will create opportu- nities to perform more value-added work, all part of our long-term business plan,” she says.
Engineering-Based Relationships, Solution Providers
Throughout most of its nearly 50- yr. history, PTM primarily specialized in stamping and slide forming of small- er parts—clips and clamps, if you will— for the automotive industry. “We made our mark,” Russell-Kuhr says, “by devel- oping and nourishing an engineering relationship with our customers and being solution providers. We provide, for example, design support and pro- totype development, all the way through production stamping and process development for welding and assembly.”
For a long time, production and pro- totype stamping at PTM occurred on mechanical presses 300 tons and less, while higher-tonnage hydraulic presses performed much of the prototype stamping. That mix began to change in 2010 when, coming out of the eco- nomic downturn, PTM brought on a
600-ton mechanical press, and shortly thereafter a 550-ton press.
Nearly concurrent to this tonnage expansion came the addition, through acquisition, of an experienced team of engineers—the creation of what PTM now calls its Advanced Engineering Center. All of the sudden, PTM’s work orders began to change, as the firm now produces (in prototype and pro- duction) larger Class A stampings, structural parts such as rails, and even difficult weldments of various combi- nations of metal alloys, including advanced steels and aluminum alloys.
The next logical step in its business plan: continue to grow press capacity, fulfilled in January of 2019 with the addition of its 1000-ton mechanical press from Jier. And, the company plans to add yet another high-tonnage press, ”perhaps a 1500- or 2000-ton transfer press,” shares Russell-Kuhr, “in the not- too-distant future.”
Until then, the PTM team will con- tinue its push into larger work—“work we’ve gotten really good at,” Russell- Kuhr says, pointing particularly to rails, developed and produced for several
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