WIEGEL TOOL WORKS – STAMPING IN THE FOREFRONT
Wiegel Tool Works, Inc. (WTW), located in Wood Dale, IL was founded on December 6, 1941. The company began operating as a tool and die manufacturer, but over the years established itself as a leader in high-precision, progressive metal stamping, while still maintaining its tool and die roots. WTW specializes in complex custom parts, including lead frames, bus bars, and terminals, and serves the aerospace, automotive, appliance, electronics, and telecom industries, among many others. WTW is known for investing in the latest modern technologies for enhanced capabilities and production efficiency. WTW takes great pride in working with customers and suppliers to achieve engineering challenges and strict program requirements, all while delivering quality parts for greater applications.
WTW Meets Illinois BIS:
WTW’s success derives not only from the company’s key performance values of safety, quality, delivery, cost, and customer satisfaction, but also as a result of the business leadership’s push for continuous improvement and employee empowerment. The company has even organized an internal committee, in which management frequently meets to discuss improvement projects to reach Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) targets. WTW believes highly in strengthening their most powerful asset in the company, their personnel; and as part of a contributor to this, Aaron Wiegel, President of WTW, often insists on employees enrolling in training courses to improve on skill and added value for the company. In WTW’s mission to acquire additional black belt certifiers within the company, I, Randy Hughes, Quality Director, was sent for black belt training at Illinois BIS. Here, my instructor was Michael Pop; and I couldn’t have been more impressed with his expertise and teaching ethic. The Illinois BIS class worked well at incorporating real-life examples, while walking through each step of the DMAIC process for the best comprehension. I was incredibly eager to take the principles learned in class and apply it immediately at WTW, wherein I initiated a groundbreaking project to extend the lifespan of our tools during production runs.
Oil Project Success:
After identifying tooling oil as the cause for frequent tooling breaks, I conducted a study, with the help of my team, to find an oil that would allow for more punch strokes before tools would break. Four oils were tested on over 10,000,000 parts to observe performance and tolerance. The discovery was prominent when one of the tested oils allowed for 905,000 more running strokes before a punch would break than permitted with the usual oil used in production. It was from this project that $150,000 in maintenance costs were saved, in addition to maintenance and press time. We’ve increased shop floor capacity with reduced production time on programs and managed to meet lead times at quicker rates than promised. Our oil room has even undergone restoration, now containing a very visually-controlled oil preservation process with color coded and shape labeled tubs to prevent oil mixing and contamination. Standardized cross reference sheets are also being used to help oil selection for new programs.
Over a year later, I suggested that our team of production managers take the root cause analysis training through Illinois BIS. Aaron Wiegel not only insisted that production management enroll in the class, but the entire management team, including himself. “This is a catalyst for a culture change at Wiegel Tool Works,” Aaron commented, as the entire team now looks at our company processes in a new light, and better controls are being put into place at the start of every program. Wiegel continues to send employees to Illinois BIS for Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) and Advanced Product Quality and Control Planning (APQP) training, resulting in new programs following through the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) with minimal delays. We have sent several engineers for green belt training and have also added more black belts. When I started my position 26 years ago, we had 35 employees. Now we’ve grown the team to a total of 150 employees, and stronger than ever before with skills training at the highest priority. WTW can’t thank Illinois BIS enough for the impact their classes have had on the company and in helping us maintain our goal of being a world-class metal stamper.
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