Bamberg, SC – Phoenix Specialty Mfg. Co., a leading manufacturer of specialty washers, shims, seals and gaskets, has implemented their own version of specialized feeders within their operations. Many stampers use special feeders called Staggered (Zig Zag) Feeders to make use of raw material that may not be of the optimal width, staggering the material as it feeds thru the Die can result in a better yield. Rather than continue to utilize third party staggered feeders, Phoenix Specialty has developed their own version of this existing technology and hardware.
According to company Operations Manager Russell Hurst this new innovation emerged as a necessary evolution in how Phoenix Specialty approached their business. “One area of improvement that was identified within the organization is optimizing raw material use and yield,” Hurst recently mentioned. “Being the fastest requires that the company maintain a large selection of raw material inventory and having feeders that can get the most yield allows Phoenix to manufacture and ship product before most companies have even received the material.” Also in today’s world as costs continue to rise the last thing we want to do is increase the cost to the customer to make use of material in-house that may not be the optimal width.
Because the company strives to deliver superior service in both quality and speed, the entire team began to identify pain points throughout the overall manufacturing process. What they quickly learned was that full optimization of raw materials – and the processing capability to transform them into custom parts even faster – was a top priority for operational improvement.
From a manufacturing standpoint, the conversion process from raw materials to finished products begins with high quality components. From there, a streamlined integration process is absolutely essential to providing the greatest yield of quality parts.
It was in this integration process where Phoenix Specialty identified a pain point within their material feeders. By understanding how these feeders fit into the overall business operation, the company could better recognize how to make the process more efficient.
As Hurst continued, “To better make use of raw materials, Phoenix has long used staggered servo material feeders on select presses in their press room. While we always ensured we used the highest quality feeders from companies, sending these feeders off for repair or routine maintenance was very costly – both in monetary value as well as downtime when they were unavailable for orders.”
Over time, the Phoenix Specialty team recognized that relying on third party companies for staggered feeders was not the optimal choice for the most efficient manufacturing life cycle, not to mention that many of these feeder companies have come and gone. It was clear that a significant upgrade to this feeder was required to improve operations and make the process more streamlined and reliable. In addition to being cheaper and easier to maintain, the new feeders can be built for 1/3 the cost of off the shelf units, allowing the company to aggressively deploy the feeders throughout the facility.
It was all the way back in 2013 that this improvement process began within Phoenix Specialty's own usage of this feeder equipment. Maintenance technician Lance Cramer first took an interest in developing an improved solution within how the feeders operated. Cramer, well-versed within PLC programming, proposed designing, building and programming a complete machine specific to the Phoenix Specialty business. The new feeder was designed and built in-house, utilizing both off-the-shelf and custom-built components that were fabricated and inventoried within the company's own maintenance fabrication shop.
Part of the advantage to Cramer's bold new strategy was simple: in-house feeders mean a fully internalized operation for the entire manufacturing process. Rather than continually working around repairs and maintenance, the new feeders can be maintained inhouse without shipping out for repairs. Even better, all the required work – including electronic assembly, wiring and programming – are now handled by internal Phoenix Specialty maintenance personnel.
Although the feeders only began formal operation in December of 2015, this new design has already shown remarkable improvements in both efficiency and ease of use within the company's business operation.
As Hurst furthered, these innovations and improvements are primarily pursued to create an even better customer experience. And this is achieved through a greater level of quality, consistency and speed of service within this new internal framework.
“Phoenix Specialty looks forward to doing business with all of our new and old customers,” Hurst discussed. “Our commitment will continue to be vested in our customers’ needs. We are always proud of the work we do at Phoenix Specialty, and our Risk-Free promise guarantees full satisfaction in every single part we produce. We will continue to keep up with ongoing company improvements so that our customers can always trust us for their specialty parts needs.”
To learn more about Phoenix Specialty or to place an order, please visit the company website at www.phoenixspecialty.com, or contact by phone at 1-800-845-2813.
Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing Co. is the leading supplier of custom washers, shims, gaskets and other specialty stampings to manufacturing companies throughout the world. With over 100 years of service, the company has continued to succeed thanks to their unwavering commitment to their customers in quality, speed and service.
Phoenix Specialty’s Risk-Free Promise of Quality, Delivery and Price has established the company as a leader within specialty parts manufacturing. Their latest in-house innovation, a custom-built, staggered raw material feeder, has improved the company’s speed of service for an even greater commitment to providing the highest quality parts for every customer order.
Phoenix Specialty Mfg. Co.
P.O. Drawer 418
7433 Main Highway
Bamberg, SC 29003