Monday, August 8, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mig Welding - Robotics

Midland Metal Products continues to utilize automation to drive higher quality, greater throughput, and lower cycle times. In the mig welding area of the shop, robotics is changing the way we approach welding challenges. We are using virtual models such as those created in Solidworks as a reference to create both our welding fixtures and machine programs. See the results yourself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Engineering Toolkit

Time is a precious commodity in the POP industry and there is never enough of it. There is increasing pressure to rapidly transform concepts into prototypes and then, prototypes into production. A costly way to accelerate results is to devote more resources. A better method is to identify and eliminate all waste in the process, such as redundant tasks. POP engineers invest time and energy creating the specifications for a project using CAD tools such as SolidWorks. If their vendor base can work seamlessly with the model to drive their production great efficiencies can be gained. If the vendor is unable to use these tools or the engineer does not create the models properly so the information can be used by the vendor, great inefficiencies are created. It is imperative for the POP engineer and the vendor to work together to divide the work appropriately and to avoid any redundancy or rework in the process.

In 2010, Midland Metal Products completed over 1,800 separate prototypes. We have witnessed a large variation in the usability of the information provided. Often, the information must be edited or recreated before it can be utilized. We have compiled a short list describing these common occurrences. Through education, we hope to minimize the occurrence so that we can accelerate the cycle time and lower the cost of the development effort.

1. METRIC CONVERSION – Files arrive in metric instead of inches. Since our machinery requires inches in order to produce parts, all the files must be translated from metric to inches. Time consuming and unnecessary.

2. BEND SETTINGS – SolidWorks gives users the capability to transform their formed parts into flattened parts with the click of the button. Since most primary fabrication occurs in the flat, this is a useful tool. If the program settings are correct, the translation can be highly accurate. If the settings are wrong, the information is almost useless. As a guide, we have provided a screen shot of common settings that will work in over 95% of the cases.

*Double click on images to enlarge.

3. SHEET METAL PARTS – SolidWorks allows users to transform parts into sheet metal components. If they are sheet metal components, the flatten function can be used. If the parts are drawn as extrusions – there is no function available to flatten the parts for fabrication. If engineers are able to flatten their parts, they are drawn correctly for use in a metal fabrication shop.

4. ASSEMBLY – Multiple components often come together to make an assembly. The most useful models are drawn first as individual components and then mated together to make an assembly. There are times when users will take a shortcut and draw multiple individual components in one large part file, rather than drawing components as parts and mating them in an assembly file. When this path is chosen, it is difficult to pull out information regarding one of the components for fabrication, making the model almost useless. In those cases, the model must be redrawn using the previous model as a guide. It is a large waste of time.

5. HOLE DIAMETER – Fasteners such as PEM nuts, weld nuts, and PEM studs are often included in the models. These fasteners require exact hole diameters for proper installation. We have provided guides on our blog that specify the hole size required in almost every application, including pop and semi-circular rivits . If these guidelines are not followed, the model must be reviewed hole by hole and requisite changes need to be made.

Tighter integration between the POP engineer and the vendor base can pay large dividends in terms of quality, cost, and time. Hopefully, these few pointers will start a broader discussion of how companies in the industry can form relationships in order to satisfy the increasing demands of the industry.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Did You Know?

That Midland offers full packing and assembly service? Many customers have already taken advantage of this service to move their finished displays to market in the most cost efficient way.

By using one centralized facility to engineer, manufacture, assemble, and pack their displays our customers turn a variable cost into a known, fixed cost. Utilizing Midland as a centralized location to receive and accurately document customer support material (i.e. vac-form wood, printed matter, cartons, etc.) while shipping to all parts of the country from Chicago has made sense to many of our customers who want to increase efficiency and control costs.

Completing the assembly and packing in the same facility where the metal parts were produced streamlines the entire project. Fit and finish issues can be dealt with at the source, without costly down time and return freight issues. In many cases it is actually more expensive to ship large and irregularly shaped metal sub-assemblies bulk to our customers for final assembly - so simply taking advantage of the packing and assembly department at our plant saves our customers both time and money.

We want all of our customers to know they can benefit from our 50 years of experience with packing and assembly. This, in addition to Midland having developed an outstanding leadership and supervisory staff over recent years, has enabled us to provide increasingly higher levels of sophistication in the assembly services we offer.

Our Supply Chain Management connects us with our customers, vendors, our customer’s vendors, and their logistics companies. We insure that product flow is consistent with no down time; coupled with our setting, reviewing, and continuously monitoring our high quality standards enables us to satisfy delivery requirements as outlined by our customers.

• Years of experience working with various freight companies that handle full trailer load (TL), less than trailer load (LTL), and small package shipments (UPS and Federal Express)
• Mass distribution of product; drop shipped to multiple locations
• Coordinating outbound shipments with customer and third party freight companies to meet customer delivery schedules
• Generating detailed tracking reports
• Coordinating inbound materials to meet packing / shipping schedule
• Inventory control of customer supplied items
• Reporting customer supplied material usage (including issues such as shortages, and substandard materials) to customers

• Combining manufactured metal with supplied materials (i.e. wood, plastic, graphics, corrugated, etc.) to complete displays
• Assembling sub-components as well as entire displays "ready to use" once delivered to your end destination
• Flexible conveyor lines, manageable space, and trained personnel bring a project full circle to insure total customer satisfaction

The Samsung Home Security project, designed by Rand Display, is one of the most recent examples of our service:

The whole unit was plug and play (ready to go straight out of the box) upon arrival at the retailer. All electronic components (400 monitors, 400 recorders, and 3,200 cameras) were stored in a high security cage with zero shrinkage. The whole job was produced, assembled, and shipped within four weeks and, due to central distribution, at their destinations within 2-3 days without a single complaint from the receiving retailers.

This is just one example. We have also recently done an operational testing unit for 3-D glasses as well as numerous flat screen television displays, with their interactive promotional playback equipment already installed and tested.

Inventory control, daily receiving reports for customer inbound promotional material and electronic equipment is part of our daily routine. Just thought you would like to know!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Shut Down

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ISO 9001 Certification

Midland Metal Products is proud to announce that it will be seeking ISO 9001:2008 certification of our quality management system.

An internal project team is already working on reviewing our policies and procedures and preparing for our eventual audit. We fully expect to achieve this certification in 2011.

More information about this initiative will be available as the project moves along. This is the next logical step in ensuring that we meet and exceed our customer expectations on each and every project.

Winter of 2010 Midland Creativity Contest

The winner of the 2010 Midland Creativity Challenge is the Cormark Engineering Department.

The premise of the contest was to invite the industry to challenge our sophisticated CNC equipment with their most creative design and to have a little fun. The Cormark Engineering Department answered the call. See below for their entry – a 100% recyclable Christmas tree. The elements of the Christmas tree demonstrate our various production capabilities – tree (laser and press brake), trunk (tube laser), and ornaments (wire forming).

At Cormark’s request, we will be making a $ 1,000 donation to the American Cancer Society. This will be an annual event at the close of every year. Check our blog periodically for details of the next challenge.

Simply the Best

This month, we unveiled an exciting addition to our state of the art CNC laser center. The second laser more than doubles the capacity of our system. Now, the two lasers and a material handling system can operate “lights out” – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our system matches the productive capabilities of the most sophisticated manufacturers in this country. In our industry, our lead over the competition is dramatic – we are simply bigger and better than next best option. Continuing investment in technology gives Midland an even stronger capability to provide the outstanding quality, solid delivery, and competitive pricing you have come to expect from Midland Metal Products. Stay tuned for our next exciting announcement right around the corner.

Plant Tour Video

Occasionally we will share a short Plant Tour Video to demonstrate our capabilities and show just how things work. Our first video shows our Mig Welding Department.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blizzard of 2011

With the "Blizzard of 2011" behind us, we would like to express our sincere thanks for your continued patience. We greatly value your business, and are committed to addressing your concerns.

In addition to the challenges brought on by the massive snowfall, Midland Metal Products lost electrical service during the night of the blizzard, which was not restored until last night.

Midland Metal Products took the weather forecasters warnings very seriously, and we executed an action plan well before the storm hit. We extended production shifts and made huge headway on our task load. We alerted our vendors to our requirements, taking delivery of necessary materials in advance. We made sure our staff had a chance to make it home safely, so they could return to the operation rested, healthy, and ready for action!

We are responding promptly, and urgently to these conditions, and have continued the extended shift schedule to minimize production delays.

If you currently have a project with us, we can provide information as to the status of your order. If not, please be assured that Midland Metal Products is operating at 100-percent capacity, and is ready and willing to accept your project.

Thanks again,

The entire Midland Metal Products Family