A Mountain of RFQ’s for Automation
A mid-sized integrator in the Southeastern US started getting more RFQ’s than usual. As a worldwide pandemic took hold, manufacturers across all industries accelerated their plans to automate. The Integrator was well positioned to win a lot of good projects in the coming months – but the president of the company was worried about engineering capacity. Their internal team of twenty engineers and designers would not be enough to deliver these projects on time. They did not want to turn these projects away.
The integration company got in touch with SGW Designworks. We set up a video call with leadership team at the integration company. The first thing to do was to understand what the projects looked like, and what gaps needed to be filled on their engineering team. We were able to map our in-house resources to the gaps identified and propose an engagement that would accelerate the integrator’s projects. The approach that we proposed allowed the integrator to fully hand-off design and engineering of some of the system, while maintaining control over the conceptual design.
Project Execution Begins
It always begins with a project kickoff meeting. The integrator walked our engineering team through the proposal that he had given to his customer. The integrator already had a conceptual approach for the system in mind, and he shared that. As an established player, the integration company also had preferred vendors for things like vibratory bowls, controls, and actuators. He made those preferences clear and gave our internal team the go-ahead to engage the vendors on his behalf. Everyone committed to executing the project in a way that ensured the outputs would not need substantial review, checking, or rework prior to fabrication and assembly.
The SGW Designworks team started by specifying all long lead-time components and getting them ordered. This would allow fabrication of those subsystems to happen in parallel with system design. Next, ground-up design of all fixtures, components, and fixturing began. This included defining material flow as well as process steps. The integration company gave our team access to previous projects, so we could see how their internal team preferred to specify and design certain things.
As work progressed, regularly weekly project meetings were the norm. This helped the integrator feel comfortable that the system was coming together and allowed the teams to work through challenges together. All team members also were free to pick up the phone and talk through any new information or concerns as needed.
Our team wrapped up the 3D models, and the integrator reviewed them with his customer. After only minor tweak, the SGW Designworks team built out the complete 2D drawing package for fabrication. The drawing set was produced in line with the integrator’s CAD standard, so that his fabrication team would receive a format they were used to.
Fabrication and assembly were executed by the integrator, and went smoothly. The fabrication team said that the drawings were clear and easy to use. Functional Acceptance went as planned, and the system was then delivered to the integrator’s customer. Since then, the integrator has hired SGW Designworks for two additional projects. The integrator can sell and deliver more projects, without adding payroll or overhead. SGW Designworks gains a great new long-term client. And the end customer received the automation system they wanted, on time. Everybody wins.