Producing quality products and meeting customers’ specifications is a given for practically every manufacturing company. For Process Equipment Co. (PECo), quality means not just shipping a product that works for the short term, but producing components and machines that will continue to work for as long as they are needed.
“We believe in building quality that endures,” says Bill Rosenberg, CEO of the Tipp City, Ohio-based company, which celebrated its 65th anniversary last year. “For us, quality is not just about meeting spec, it’s about ensuring that the component or machine keeps working as it should for the lifetime of our customers’ product.”
PECo offers three main product and service lines to customers in the automotive, aerospace, HVAC, heavy equipment, infrastructure and machine tool sectors:
>The company designs and manufactures machines and robotic accessories used in factory automation with a special core competence in welding technologies and solutions.
>PECo offers machining, grinding and fabrication services used mainly in the production of large, precision components.
>The company produces gear-measurement and metrology systems including software and gear-inspection machines.
In addition to its main services, PECo also provides welding services to customers and has unique expertise in welding difficult components together using the capacitor discharge welding method, also known as high-speed pulse welding. The method is suited for welding powdered metals and dissimilar types of metals, Rosenberg says.
PECo will launch its latest product line – a line of robotic arc welding cells – during the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September.
“We try to focus on interconnections and synergies between our product and service lines,” Rosenberg says. “Some of our services are logical extensions of each other. We really try to distinguish ourselves through our software, welding and tooling capabilities and our special knowledge of robotics.”
The quality of PECo’s production machines allows one of its customers, an automotive transmission manufacturer, to operate 24/7 with no interruptions and rare service calls. “The components and machines we build are fully relied upon by customers to meet spec and be thoroughly dependable, high-quality devices. We seldom have a quality issue,” Rosenberg adds.
The company is also able to respond to the specific manufacturing needs of its customers with custom products and services. As one example, Rosenberg cites a machine tool manufacturing company PECo worked with to design and assemble a rail-guided pallet system used to deliver parts between the company’s machines. The system was developed in response to the customer receiving an influx of major orders, Rosenberg says.
For another customer, PECo was able to customize the tailstock of a ND300 CNC analytical gear inspection machine to handle large parts. “We were able to bring our special machine, tooling and software capabilities together to provide what no one else could,” he adds.
PECo uses the operational methodologies of Eli Goldratt as well as some lean manufacturing techniques to guide its quality and throughput. Goldratt, a physicist, is the originator of the Theory of Constraints, the Optimized Production Technique, Critical Chain Project Management and similar tools used to maximize efficiency. The company is ISO 9000-certified, as well.
Internal investment in both equipment and personnel is a high priority for PECo. The company is expanding and growing its business after paring back its operations in recent years as a result of the recession.
Recent internal investments include the addition of boring mills, vertical turning lathes and robotic arc welding cells to its four manufacturing facilities in Tipp City. The four facilities feature a combined 260,000 square feet of manufacturing space, which the company intends to expand later this year. Ultimately, PECo plans to consolidate its four locations into a single primary facility, Rosenberg says.
Personnel investments include an internal apprenticeship program and certification process, as well as an extensive safety program. “We have a great internal culture of safety and quality, where everyone gets shoulder-to-shoulder and pitches in to do the job,” Rosenberg says.