Minnesota Toy Manufacturer Increases Productivity, Eliminates Secondary Finishing by Swapping Laser for Jet Edge Waterjet
ST. MICHAEL, Minn. — Jet Edge Inc. announces that St. Paul, Minn. toymaker YOXO® is now manufacturing its wildly popular creative play construction kits with a Jet Edge waterjet cutting system.
Designed to fuel kids' creativity, YOXO ("yock-so") construction kits inspire kids to design and build their own toys using Y, O, and X-shaped links that connect with everyday household items such as toilet paper tubes, paper towel rolls and cereal boxes. The YOXO links are waterjet cut from colorful sheets of locally sourced recycled wood fiber.
Founded in 2011 by Jeff Freeland Nelson -- a dynamic Twin Cities executive who has held leadership positions at several for-profit, not-for-profit and government organizations, including the Minnesota Children's Museum and American Public Media -- YOXO hit the market in 2013 and has taken the toy industry by a storm. YOXO kits are available in 400 Target stores and 27 Barnes Noble stores nationwide. They also can be found in 240 specialty retail stores in 30 states and can be ordered online at www.yoxo.com. YOXO has won several prestigious toy awards including a Tillywig Toy Award and Creative Child Magazine's Top Toy Award.
Freeland Nelson decided to start YOXO when, while playing with his kids, he remembered a cardboard box his parents gave him for his eighth birthday. Inside the box there were only three things: tape, string and wire; he recalls this as the best present of his childhood. When he compared this idea to the cheap, uncreative, plastic toys his kids had been given and never enjoyed, Freeland Nelson felt compelled to start a toy company. Play from Scratch (now YOXO) was born.
"YOXO is unique in three ways," Freeland Nelson explains. "First, we are obsessed with inspiring creativity in kids. We give kids the tools to create and get out of their way. Secondly, YOXO is made from sustainable, recycled, and recyclable materials. Lastly, YOXO is one of the few mass-market toys manufactured in the USA."
YOXO's desire to source locally and to remain "eco-awesome" is what compelled the toy manufacturer to invest in an eco-friendly Jet Edge CNC waterjet system built only 35 miles away in St. Michael, Minn. YOXO selected a Jet Edge High Rail Gantry waterjet system fitted with 10 water-only OmniJet cutting heads. Powered by a Jet Edge iP55-150A intensifier pump, the machine cuts millions of YOXO links with a hair-thin 60,000 psi jet of filtered pure water.
Prior to installing its Jet Edge, YOXO had been laser cutting its components, but that process proved to be problematic.
"Our previous manufacturing process presented two major problems," Freeland Nelson recalled. "First, our parts were essentially burned by the laser, requiring many hours of labor to thoroughly clean each piece. Secondly, the number of laser cutters we would need to meet demand was financially restrictive."
With contracts then in negotiation with Target and Barnes Noble, YOXO needed to find a more productive way to cut its parts. The company tested a variety of cutting technologies before concluding that cutting its water-adverse material with water was, oddly enough, the most effective solution. They then worked very closely with Jet Edge engineering and sales staff to customize their system to meet their needs.
"Buying a waterjet system was a way to dramatically increase our production while still maintaining our ecological mission," Freeland Nelson said. "Water jet cutting is a very efficient, flexible and scalable production method for making YOXO links. After testing was done on many different technologies (laser, die, CNC machines, injection molding), Jet Edge gave us the best final product at the volume we needed. YOXO aspires to be the most ecologically sustainable toy company on the planet, and cutting our links with water is a big leap toward that goal."
YOXO is so proud of its waterjet system, it even gave it a name: "Bennie" of course, as in the Elton John song, "Bennie and the Jets." Jet Edge will be featured on YOXO packaging and YOXO is producing a video about its manufacturing process that will star Bennie.
Freeland Nelson said he has been very satisfied with Jet Edge, and is already planning to install a second waterjet to keep up with the growing demand for YOXO toys.
"The willingness of the Jet Edge team members to work on the product testing and come up with a workable final product using their system is what made the choice easy," he said. "The proximity of Jet Edge to our location is an additional benefit. Working with the parts department and service department at Jet Edge has been outstanding."
Jet Edge President Jude Lague said he is very proud that YOXO selected Jet Edge as its waterjet manufacturer.
"In our industry we hear every day how important it is to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math," Lague said. "YOXO is doing just that in a fun way that gets kids creating and building while playing. It's amazing to see what the kids can put together with just YOXO connectors and toilet paper rolls. The manufacturing industry should commend YOXO for what it is doing to develop our next generation of engineers and builders."
Look for YOXO construction kits at select Target and Barnes & Noble stores, and at specialty retailers across the country. For more information or to order online, visit www.yoxo.com.
About Jet Edge
Established in 1984, Jet Edge is a global designer and manufacturer of waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation and coating removal. Jet Edge systems are used around the world in a broad range of industries, from the world's leading airlines to automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturers, machine and job shops. Jet Edge waterjets are proudly made in U.S.A.
For more information about Jet Edge, visit www.jetedge.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-JET-EDGE or +1 763-497-8700. Follow us on Twitter @jetedge.
Jet Edge, Inc.
12070 43rd Street N.E.
St. Michael, MN 55376-8427 U.S.A.