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Process Automation

Industrial Cleaning Equipment Manufacturer Collaborates with Hirsh to Automate & Scale Production 

Study at a Glance

Customer's Industry Oil & Gas

Manufacturing Services Utilized

Secondary Operations

Finishing


Challenge

Our customer was unable to scale their production in light of increased demand due to a manual process that bottlenecked their operations.


Solution

Hirsh Precision relieved the customer of their in-house process and developed both a new machine and an automated process to increase throughput, process consistency, and part quality. 


Key Benefits

Manual labor eliminated

Increased throughput to support higher demand 

Operator error and part variance reduced 

Lower costs

Higher degree of quality

 

For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), a crucial component of growing your business is the ability to ramp up your production when demand for your product increases. If demand for your product goes up, but your organization cannot meet this demand, you risk losing business and leaving your customers dissatisfied.

One of Hirsh Precision’s customers ran into this very problem: as they saw demand for their product increase, they could not support shipping larger volumes due to a manual finishing process that was critical to the product’s functionality, but also served as a bottleneck.

The Customer’s Problem

*for confidentiality reasons, we do not name our customers in our case studies

Our customer designs nozzles that channel powerful waterjets for industrial cleaning applications. Some of these nozzles have a nominal exit hole diameter of 0.75 mm, about 15 strands of an average human hair (0.05 mm in diameter). Some nozzle design parameters include shape, size, interior surface contour, and interior surface finish uniformity.

To maintain the waterjet’s necessary output, efficiency, and consistency, the customer developed a manual abrasive polishing process to remove any interior surface roughness within the nozzles, including the perimeter of the nozzle’s exit holes.

For this particular product, our customer’s problems stemmed from a single bottleneck: a manual stringing process that not only exceeded their people resource, but it was also prone to operator error and part-to-part interior surface finish variations, which affected the final product’s quality and performance consistency. Given these concerns, the customer contacted Hirsh Precision to manage the nozzle interior surface finishing process for the nozzles that Hirsh had already been responsible for machining.

When Hirsh Precision took over this required operation to free up the customer’s resources, we inherited the manual process, the process’s unique parameters, and the equipment that was used in the operation.

The Hirsh Solution

In addition to taking over the manual stringing process on behalf of our customer, our team also looked for opportunities to improve upon the original process in order to address the larger problem of scaling up production to meet the market’s demand.

After assessing the scope of work and the operation’s scalability, we invested the time and resources to develop an automated interior surface polishing process. This allowed us to eliminate the manual labor needed to produce this part.

We replaced the manual machine with a 3-spindled machine that allowed the operator to program how many strokes were needed, maintain the required tension on the string part after part, and focus solely on loading and unloading these parts. The manual effort needed to string these parts was replaced entirely by the automated process developed by Hirsh.

Customer Benefits

Once Hirsh had implemented the automated solution, the cycle time was reduced by 50% from the original manual process.

The part’s throughput increased from a few thousand units in previous years to over 65,000 units annually, which we maintain to this day.

The automated process also reduced variations in the product, and increased its quality and uniformity to such a high level that Hirsh and its customer established a Dock-to-Dock stocking program. This resulted in both time and cost savings, as the customer no longer needed to perform incoming inspections and divert precious people resources away from customer-facing support activities.

Conclusion

As finding, recruiting, and training people continue to be a challenge, in addition to retaining current employees, more and more OEMs are looking to rely on their key suppliers to do more. If your company is looking for a partner with a larger Scale and Scope bandwidth, contact Hirsh Precision.

Your growth and success are truly our business.

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