- SPECIAL REPORTS
Sunbeam Products Inc. is a leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor appliances. At its plant in Neosho, MO, the company manufactures nearly 600,000 GrillMaster and Coleman gas, electric and charcoal grills during the six-month grilling season (Memorial Day to Thanksgiving).
Nearly two years ago, Sunbeam decided to streamline production of grills with a two-burner base. The base has on-off and temperature knobs that are marked “off” and “high-low,” respectively.
Sunbeam had been using a two-step production process to make the base, but wanted to combine the cutting and marking steps. The company knew that doing so would require a change in how the burner bases are marked.
“After the bases were cut by a stamping press, lettering was applied by silk-screen or heat-transfer in a separate opera-tion,” says Tienchai Puangnak, senior design engineer for Sunbeam Products Inc. “We then sent the completed bases to the packing line.”
To help implement one-step production, Puangnak met with engineers at Geo. T. Schmidt Inc. Although Schmidt makes marking systems and steel marking tools used primarily to mark non-consumer products, the company welcomed the op-portunity to work with Sunbeam.
Puangnak told the engineers that Sunbeam needed a marking system that would produce aesthetically pleasing marks durable enough to meet Certified Gas Association standards and remain legible for the life of the grill. Schmidt engineers recommended Sunbeam use embossing stamps in place of silk-screening or heat-transfer.
After Puangnak agreed, he told Schmidt engineers that Sunbeam needed embossing stamp samples within one week. The short timeline was necessary because Sunbeam’s marketing department had to approve the base with the new markings. Schmidt engineers not only met the deadline, they provided the final stamps within three weeks.
“Sunbeam had very stringent requirements to ensure that its marks would stand out and look a special way,” says John Gaast, sales engineer for Geo T. Schmidt. “A lot of detail goes into marking consumer products.”
Schmidt created separate custom embossing stamps for the GrillMaster and Coleman production lines. The two-part stamps reconfigured the lettering of the words off, high and low; and produced a lightning bolt graphic and company logo. The exact-fit stamps were inserted into the existing sheet metal dies that cut the burner bases.
Sunbeam says the embossing stamps save three minutes and 65 cents in labor and materials per base. After nearly two years, Sunbeam has saved more than $200,000 in production costs and many thousands more in sheet-metal dies.
For more information on product marking systems, call or visit www.gtschmidt.com.