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Archive for December, 2011


Cost-Effective Solutions to a High-Tech Problem

Posted on: December 28th, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized

One of the strengths with Production Materials is our ability to find ways of doing specialized jobs cost-effectively; ones that other component suppliers might sense as too costly to present their clients. Case in point: a prominent company involved in the grooming industry approached us about five weeks ago, and presented us with a complex problem they were facing. A new robotic tool they’d been using to pick up individual parts (eventually assembling them into a finished product) had difficulty in completing its assigned tasks.

One of the robot’s main jobs is finding a required part from a feeder bowl, taking it in its grasp, and then placing it into the proper hole per specification. Once the robot locates the hole, it then screws the component into the mating part. The robot was having trouble locating a particular screw because the screw point was too wide in diameter to fit into the hole in question. We needed to find a way to make the point smaller without compromising the other dimensions or adding a costly secondary operation.

It seemed at first like a difficult task ahead of us. The obstacles were many. But by collaborating with our supplier partner, and strategizing some innovative approaches using various software tools, we were able to come up with a new screw design at no additional cost.

We’re still working with our client, but the feedback thus far has been immensely positive. The trial run – some 25,000 pieces and counting – continues to run great. We look forward to completing the task and getting the job done right. All’s well that ends well, and so far, so good.

A Look at Farm Industry News and its Holiday Farm Photo Contest

Posted on: December 12th, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Whoever said Santa has to ride around on a sleigh? Folks, this is the Midwest. The way we see things out here, he’d probably feel more comfortable driving a red-nosed John Deere through a field of scraggly corn. As December keeps wagging along, and that prairie wind we’ve all grown to love starts gearing into overdrive, and as we all brave the elements to buy gifts on Main Street, or the mall, or at Wal-Mart, or online for our loved ones, we here at Production Materials wanted to alert you to some holiday cheer in the form of a recent contest. No, it didn’t involve downing a quart of eggnog every time someone sang “Frosty, the Snowman.” Actually, it was a contest to demonstrate prairie pride and Christmas spirit all in one (industrial) package.

Up through this December 12th, folks have been submitting their photographs of how they celebrate the holidays out on their farms to farmindustrynews.com. Farm Industry News thought it would be fun to actually take a photographic peek at how people were celebrating the holidays out on their farms, whether that meant photographs of their home, their farm equipment, or their outdoor decorations. Those who took photos of their festive decorations were then asked to post their entries on Farm Industry News’ Facebook page. Photographers with the most “likes” won The Ultimate Guide to Tractors by Jim Glastonbury for first place and The Farm Tractor by Ralph W. Sanders for second place.

All in all, we’re placing our bets that there was some pretty heavy competition and some pretty festive entries from all across the nation. Competition and good cheer are what keep our country running at its best. We were pleased to see Farm Industry News getting this contest going. Next year, we want to see photos of reindeer pulling tractors.

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