Lean Machine Transforms Micron’s Welding Capabilities
Numerous electrical-product manufacturers focus on making either AC inductors or DC power supplies. Micron Industries Corp. is one of a select group of manufacturers worldwide that produce both type of products, as well as transformers, reactors and fuse panels.
Founded in 1966, Micron serves OEMs in a wide range of industries. More than 75 percent of its products are custom-designed, and many have been welded with automated equipment for a long time. Recently, Micron installed a new transformer welding machine that improves quality control and traceability by using real-time data.
Greendale, WI-based Custom Design—Lean Manufacturing Systems Inc. (CDLMS) designed and built the machine, which replaced two older welding machines that were inefficient and unreliable. Michael Gamache, founder of CDLMS, says the company combined new technologies and lean manufacturing principles to develop a machine that makes parts better and faster, reduces operator fatigue, and shortens changeover times between orders.
Gamache says that extensive research and development, as well as applications engineering, took place throughout the design and building phases. CDLMS even hired a full-time electrical engineer to ensure that all specifications were met throughout the entire project.
Machine design began after a thorough evaluation of Micron’s current welding process. CDLMS engineers collected data and developed a list of value-added and non-value-added activities for the machine, focusing on ergonomic issues and material flow constraints.
They then created initial 2D and 3D design concepts, followed by final 2D and 3D detailed drawings of the machine. During building, the engineers used the latest control technology to overcome challenges related to hydraulics, pneumatics and system integration.
CDLMS installed the system in late July 2017, and Micron uses it to weld several types of transformers. These include ImperviTRAN (the industry’s first epoxy-encapsulated machine tool transformer) and several control, insulating and low-voltage general purpose transformers.
Micron’s other product offerings range from transformer accessories and terminal lug kits, to compact fuse panels (for protecting multiple low-voltage DC load circuits) and IP67-rated power supplies (DIN rail mounting, waterproof).
The latter feature a vacuum-encapsulated construction with industrially hardened connectors. Mini uninterrupted power supplies enable critical equipment to withstand multiple voltage sags and allow an orderly process shutdown in the event of a more sustained power loss.
Micron is based in Oak Brook, IL, but operates manufacturing facilities in Elmhurst and Sterling, IL. For many years, the company has done work for the Department of Defense Logistics Agency, and is listed in the federal government’s System for Award Management database.
Gamache says that CDLMS’s lean manufacturing systems offer high productivity and versatility, cycle consistency, accurate and repeatable processes, high-quality products, little waste and a low operating cost. Robotic systems perform welding, assembly, machine tending and painting. Others are semiautomatic workstations, presses, fixtures and material handling systems that enhance processes like single-piece flow, error proofing and value stream mapping.
CDLMS also makes a line of heavy-duty steel machine bases, table tops and light curtain supports that can be customized. For more information, call 414-858-2571 or visit www.cdlms-inc.com.