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2019 Awards of Excellence in Metalforming

By: Lou Kren

Sunday, December 1, 2019
 

An annual affair, the Precision Metalforming Association’s (PMA’s) Awards of Excellence in 2019 honors organizations that have excelled in the areas of productivity, quality, training and education. Selected by a committee of PMA members, these honorees have met strict criteria and demonstrated excellence in their selected categories. For more on PMA’s Awards of Excellence program, visit www.pma.org/awards.

Productivity Award


Improvement of a complex steering-column crash-tube line at Anchor Manufacturing Group netted numerous benefits, including increased customer satisfaction due to improved on-time delivery and quality, and an annual savings of more than $567,000 resulting from scrap reduction and increased efficiency.
Anchor Manufacturing Group, Cleveland, OH

Anchor Manufacturing Group, Inc., Cleveland, OH, received the 2019 Zierick Manufacturing Corp. Productivity Award for productivity gains realized on its crash-tube line, which manufactures three steering-column crash tubes. The company specializes in high-strength aluminum assemblies, stainless-steel exhaust products, safety-critical parts, steering-column components and assemblies, and appearance parts.

2019 Winners

Zierick Manufacturing Corp. Productivity Award

Anchor Manufacturing Group, Cleveland, OH

Pridgeon & Clay Excellence in Quality Award

HK Metalcraft, Lodi, NJ

A.R. Hedberg Training and Education Award

North American Stamping Group, Portland, TN

Clips & Clamps Industries Educational Institution Award

State Technical College of Missouri, Linn, MO

No winners were selected for the following:

Higgins-Caditz Design Award

Link Systems Process Control Award

Ulbrich Award for Competitive Excellence in Product
Development
Improving the crash-tube line was challenging due to tight part tolerances and high throughput expectations. Also challenging: the complexity of the line, which includes a five-station forming machine, a nine-station pierce machine, two CNC machining centers, a deburring operation, parts washer, stencil unit and a restrike press.

The first major improvements occurred on the form and pierce equipment to correct mechanical issues with the equipment as well as quality issues with the parts. Investigation of a galling issue in the forming machine revealed oil sprayers being bumped out of position and not spraying on the correct location of the tube. Hard-lining the lubrication system corrected this problem. Anchor also worked with its lubrication supplier to perform analyses on the lube at different frequencies after a tank recharge. This helped determine when the system needed to be recharged and led to the addition of an appropriate preventive maintenance schedule.

In addition, parts falling and jamming at the conveyers between the form and pierce machines caused downtime and scrap. To fix this, Anchor engineered, built and implemented a pick-and-place system to move parts from one machine to the other. As for part quality, tubes exhibited missing holes as well as slots located out of location along the length of the tube. Anchor corrected these issues through the implementation of linear variable differential sensors and inline cameras.

Lastly, the two CNC machines and the deburring operation required three associates—one operator for each. Determining an excess of time spent on non-value-added activities, Anchor worked with an outside company to fully automate the CNC operations using a gantry pick-and-place system and two robots.

Anchor achieved numerous benefits as a result of the productivity improvements, including increased customer satisfaction due to improved on-time delivery and quality, and an annual savings of more than $567,000 resulting from scrap reduction and increased efficiency. Anchor’s average scrap rate between the three parts was reduced from 3.9 to 1.35 percent. Additionally, the project increased production, from 181 parts/hr. with five associates to 240 parts/hr. with two associates.

Sponsored by Zierick Manufacturing Corp., Mount Kisco, NY, the Productivity Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a manufacturing company in the development and implementation of programs, processes and use of assets that lead to significant improvements in productivity.


In its 15th year, HK Metalcraft’s (HKM’s) bonus system rewards all employees if the company successfully ships zero defects (no customer returns) during a month. The successful program has resulted in HKM receiving numerous customer quality awards. And, as of September 2019, the company had shipped without a customer return since January 2019.
Quality Award

HK Metalcraft, Lodi, NJ

HK Metalcraft (HKM), Lodi, NJ, earned the 2019 Pridgeon & Clay Excellence in Quality Award in recognition of its company-wide quality-management bonus system. Established in 1926, HKM is a fourth-generation, precision metal stamping company serving automotive, aerospace, military, appliance, electrical and other markets.

In its 15th year, HKM’s bonus system rewards all employees if the company successfully ships zero defects (no customer returns) during a month. If successful during month one, employees receive a $25 bonus. After two months in a row, employees receive $50. The pattern repeats in subsequent months, with $450 as the total bonus per employee for a perfect year. A month missed results in the bonus program starting over at the $25 level.

Originated in 2004 due to HKM’s inability to ship each month without a customer return, the program’s aim was to foster concern about quality with all employees. After implementation, the program took time for all employees to get on board, report company officials, but positives eventually resulted as HKM began shipping more months without quality returns.

Management commitment represents a key component of the program, with Raymond Hopp, former HKM president, approving the plan in 2004 and promoting it to employees. Josh Hopp, current HKM president, continues to promote the award during monthly all-employee town hall meetings.

The company decided to implement the bonus program to catch defects as early as possible and ultimately prevent the shipment of rejects to the customer. The bonus, an integral part of HKM’s IATF audit, has received praise from TUV auditors.

The successful program has resulted in HKM receiving numerous customer quality awards. And, as of September 2019, the company had shipped without a customer return since January 2019.

Sponsored by Pridgeon & Clay, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, the Quality Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a manufacturing company in the development and implementation of a company-wide quality system that effectively uses continuous improvement.


North American Stamping Group (NASG) developed a comprehensive tool and die apprentice program as well as an operational excellence program. Additionally, NASG trains team members in problem solving, basic equipment care and 5S.
Training and Education Award

North American Stamping Group, Portland, TN

North American Stamping Group (NASG), Portland, TN, was honored with the 2019 A.R. Hedberg Training and Education Award. Founded in 1976, the Tier Two supplier of components, systems and aftermarket products for the automotive industry won for its outstanding tool and die apprenticeship program and operational excellence training.

By partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), NASG developed a comprehensive tool and die apprentice program that combines two years of inhouse theory instruction with approximately 8000 shop hours. At every step of the program, the student must prove competency before advancing.

As apprentices build time in the shop and complete required NIMS projects, their pay increases toward the journey worker rate. The curriculum includes a step-by-step progression through Level 1 and Level 2 NIMS projects to a study of practical tool and die construction and maintenance. The program also includes shop math, blueprint reading and drafting.

NASG currently is training 14 apprentices in three groups, due to different experience levels and start dates. Ten hours of training is conducted one day per week for each group. Unpaid classroom hours represent the student’s commitment to the program. Apprentices work a minimum of 40 paid hours each week under the guidance of two full-time apprentice team leaders, and as they progress, are paired with journey workers.

NASG also provides an outstanding operational excellence program, with all leaders from shop-floor supervisors to the president and CEO required to undergo a one-week Total Quality Production System for Leadership workshop. The curriculum was developed in partnership with Toyota, Harvard School of Business and key Tier One Toyota suppliers. Since the program’s inception in 2016, nearly 400 associates have been trained, with $6.06 million in tangible cost savings attained in 2018. The company is on track to exceed these savings in 2019.

Additionally, NASG trains team members in problem solving, basic equipment care and 5S. Nearly 150 associates have been trained since the problem-solving workshop launched in August 2018; approximately 400 associates have been trained in basic equipment care since April 2017; and 1390 employees received 5S training since its inception in 2013.

The Training and Education Award recognizes an outstanding achievement by a company in employee technical education through a comprehensive training program. The award is sponsored by HPL Stampings, Inc., Lake Zurich, IL, in memory of A.R. (Ray) Hedberg, a leader in employee training.


The 2-yr. precision machining technology program at State Technical College of Missouri provides students with specialized knowledge in traditional and emerging technical areas, culminating in an associate degree in Precision Machining Technology. The program boasts more than 80 current students, and a 99-percent job-placement rate for those who complete it.
Educational Institution Award

State Technical College of Missouri, Linn, MO

State Technical College of Missouri, Linn, MO, earned the 2019 Clips & Clamps Industries Educational Institution Award for its outstanding precision machining technology program, dedicated to providing students with specialized knowledge in traditional and emerging technical areas as well as general knowledge that fosters a life of learning.

State Tech offers a two-year associate degree in Precision Machining Technology and currently has more than 80 students enrolled in the program. The school’s curriculum provides students with the practical experience, knowledge and judgment to plan, prepare and operate precision machines.

Graduates understand 3D modeling, computerized post‐processing, and CNC setup and operation. Throughout the program, students complete increasingly complex lab projects to develop skills. Those who successfully complete their Level 1 projects receive National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.

With 15 Haas CNC machines, State Tech is an active member of the Haas Technical Education Center Network. Students are exposed to manual machining, CNC turning and multi-axis machining centers, computerized precision measurement, rapid prototyping, and waterjet cutting. State Tech’s program includes 20 hr. of hands-on experience per week. Instructors have at least 15 years of experience and all are graduates of the college’s Precision Machining Technology program.

State Tech also has a 99-percent job-placement rate for students who complete the program, with graduates working for companies across the state of Missouri and throughout the Midwest.

The Educational Institution Award recognizes a public or private educational institution that provides outstanding training and education services to companies in the metal forming industry. The award, which includes a cash prize, is sponsored by Clips & Clamps Industries, Plymouth, MI, and funded by the Dul Foundation. MF

 

See also: HK Metalcraft Manufacturing Company, Pridgeon & Clay, Inc., Zierick Manufacturing Corporation, Clips & Clamps Industries


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