Published: Sunday, 24 November 2013
Written by Super User
We’ve all heard it before, “Work smarter, not harder”. Words to live and work by. The decision to install a beam drilling line is a classic example of that old adage coming to bear fruit for us.
When we made the decision to install a beam drill line we didn’t just jump in blindly. There were many variables and questions that we needed answered. Were we better suited to install a multi-spindle drill line or would we be better served with a single spindle drill on a multi axis unit based on our average monthly tonnage? Were we limited by the amount of fabrication floor space that we could dedicate to beam fabrication? Was our current method of drilling beams too costly to compete on larger projects? And of course, could installing a beam drill line assist us in providing a quality product with a fast turnaround time? In short, how could we process beams at the lowest cost per hole drilled?
Being a custom steel fabricator and installer, we needed to be prepared for anything and everything! We opted for a single spindle on a multi-axis. With over 175,000 square feet of fabrication space we certainly wouldn’t have a problem finding a place to install a beam line. At this point it became academic. What would the savings be and how soon would we begin to see a return on our investment?
Those questions began to answer themselves on its very first project. With our detailing department already using 3D modeling software we know the parts are accurate before hitting the fabrication floor. With accuracy ensured, the line operator can easily download detailed parts from our CAD detailing program and begin drilling. With the drill line outputting holes at a fraction of the pace it takes to do it manually, the cost savings only increase.
But some of the biggest savings become apparent during installation in the field. With the holes lining up as per design, things just went together a lot more smoothly. There was no rework required, no need to go back and review the drawings to see if a stack up of tolerances caused misalignment of holes. With holes lining up as per intent, the installation went a lot quicker and freed up a crew to move onto the next project.
When accuracy begins at the start of a project, the accuracy and savings follow through to the completion of that project. A great example of working smarter, not harder.