How Taylor Metal Products use FARO solutions to give their customers better information to make quick decisions
“Look, having the FARO® Quantum ScanArm has gotten us out of million dollar recalls,” said Jason Swain, Quality Engineer at Taylor Metal Products. “FARO solutions make it easier to communicate with our customers — especially overseas customers, like the Japanese automotive manufacturers.”
Besides just saving time, enhanced quality control in the automotive industry is what prevents costly recalls and saves lives. In the United States alone, the automotive industry is the largest single manufacturing enterprise. Across the entire globe, 5% of the world’s total manufacturing employment is directly related to the automotive industry — and each direct auto job supports another five indirect jobs. If auto manufacturing were its own country, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy.
Most of the world’s new cars come from a refined assembly line — but production is halted entirely if misshapen parts or other problems cause a “no-build condition.” So, it’s essential that every company along the automotive supply chain does their best work to keep the world in motion.
This is exactly the work done by the team at Taylor Metal Products.
Founded in 1928, Taylor Metal Products is a complete metal fabrication shop specializing in transfer tooling, progressive die technology and automated welding systems. The Mansfield, Ohio company went from making stoves in the early 1900s to now supplying metalwork to clients in the automotive, construction, agricultural and appliance industries. Today, their work is “80% supporting the automotive industry,” Jason said — the big three (Ford, GM, Chrysler), in addition to Tesla, Honda, Toyota and others.
Since acquiring their Quantum ScanArm, Jason said there was an additional adjustment integrating its use into the Taylor Metal Products facility. When he first arrived, it was being used on its default settings, and it took him some time fine-tuning and demonstrating to fellow team-members how the technology fit into their workflow. Thankfully, he’d had experience with FARO solutions before — and after getting the team onboard, the ScanArm has become indispensable to business.
Now, Taylor Metal Products uses the ScanArm to save time and money on both the front and back end of their metal stamping process. Recently, they used their FARO ScanArm to troubleshoot and solve some potentially costly situations.
“What the FARO ScanArm allowed me to do was protect my company by proving to the customer that the issue started with their engineering print. With this particular issue, I provided a full layout to the customer with all of the profile call outs from the engineering drawing that showed where the issues were.”
Without FARO solutions and the more accurate data they provided, Taylor Metal Products might have been held financially responsible for these “no build conditions.” Thanks to the fact that the ScanArm was being used, however, Jason was able to “quickly address and correct these severe issues.”
But what would have been different if Taylor Metal Products relied solely on a fixed CMM?
“I could have measured it with a fixed CMM, sure, but you’re going strictly off of the dimensional engineering print,” Jason said. “You can't show the deviations throughout the entire surface. You would be picking a surface and using an average, instead of being able to go in and pinpoint a specific area. For example, when I create a color map with the laser scanner, it might show a red area in the middle — then, I’ll know I’ve got a problem, which I might have missed entirely if I was using the fixed CMM.”
Just having the portable CMM in one of these instances saved Taylor Metal Products “hundreds of thousands of dollars at the very least, and maybe even millions,” according to Jason.
Additionally, the ScanArm keeps metal stamping operations going when the plant is exceptionally busy.
“Let’s say we’ve got a part that’s going to ship out today,” Jason said. “But I’ve only got an hour before a semi-truck comes. I can go down to the floor, pull the part, scan it, then take it back to ship, and still have that scan. I’m not having to hold a part back from a customer. And I still have a complete digital scan of that part here with me forever.”
Those are just examples of cost savings from troubleshooting and optimized quality control processes. Having a ScanArm allows Taylor Metal Products to gain additional business that they wouldn’t have acquired otherwise, especially with overseas automotive manufacturers.
“You guys do a fabulous job with the ScanArms. They’ve been out for quite a while. It’s not like people don’t hear the name and recognize, ‘Hey, that’s FARO.’ We do have a lot of people come in; our ScanArm is showcased when we do tours. We point out how we’ve got a FARO ScanArm and the capability to do 3D scanning. So, the technology is a selling point. The bigger companies that have a ton of your ScanArms, when they find out we’ve got one, it’s great, because now they want to see some scans and talk to us.”
Jason explained that even though Taylor Metal Products is not a Tier One supplier, the Tier One suppliers they work with appreciate the extra quality that comes with using a ScanArm. Furthermore, they can share Tier One quality data with their customers, which provides extra peace of mind and easier communication, especially when there might be language barriers. In fact, FARO scans were so appreciated by one of Taylor Metal Products’s customers that they recently used Jason’s scans in a huge annual presentation for one of the big auto manufacturers. The reaction to the presentation was better than any year before, thanks to his scans and how they were able to show CAD integration.
“CAD is your perfect master; it can’t be refuted,” Jason explained. “The great thing about the FARO scans is that I can use color maps. One of the overseas manufacturers is really big about pulling those color maps because with the nature of our product, you’re taking a piece of metal and you’re bending it in different directions. The natural tendency of steel is to conform back to its original state. So, the stamping world is not like the machining world where you’re dealing with really tight tolerances, cutting and threading a hole, or boring out a hole. In the stamping world, you’re pushing metal. So that’s where the scans really come into play. The color maps show any deviation from CAD throughout the entire part. You can scan a profile with a fixed CMM, but it is a linear format, not 3D — and the CMM has to be programed to do this. With the FARO ScanArm after the CAD is locked in, it’s just one click to produce the color map. And the Japanese automotive manufacturers are big on using this technology.”
Beyond providing critical quality control information, Taylor Metal Products depends on FARO to keep the plant’s stamping machines running. With a 100-year-old facility, Jason can use the ScanArm to reverse-engineer parts for his presses if their original manufacturers aren’t making those parts anymore.
Plus, he knows that he has FARO support to count on. Once before, he’d had to send in his ScanArm for repair during a very busy time of the year. He thought he was in deep trouble. But FARO worked with him to provide a loaner ScanArm while his machine was being repaired.
“I am very thankful for the FARO staff,” he said. “You guys pulled through on that when you really didn’t have to. You don’t understand how important it is. And I will say the same about PolyWorks support as well. They have been phenomenal. I’ve got a bunch of those guys on my LinkedIn account, and if I have got a problem, they get it taken care of.”
So, what would life be like for Taylor Metal Products without the FARO ScanArm?
“We’d have to hire more people!” Jason laughed. “Look, the ScanArm makes everything so much easier. Everything looks good on paper. But in the real world there can be variations in steel that wreak havoc if the thicknesses of the stamped parts deviate from nominal. The FARO ScanArm shows real-world deviations much better than a fixed CMM ever could.”
Jason estimated that the same work he does, when done without using FARO solutions, would take two additional days and require two additional employees besides himself. With the ScanArm, it’s just him and half a day’s work. So, when only looking at cost-savings from the staffing perspective — not even factoring in savings from enhanced quality control and additional business opportunities that can be won — it’s the difference (at roughly twenty dollars an hour) between a company spending $125,000 a year and $45,000 a year for the same amount of work.
But Jason doesn’t have too much time to speculate over hypotheticals like this. He’s in new model build season, and car manufacturers are constructing test models of the cars we’ll all be driving in a year or two. Taylor Metal Products is busy making sure our world stays in motion with maximum safety, optimized quality control and extreme savings in cost and time — thanks to good work and good data.
With and without FARO solutions
Reverse engineering to keep TMP operating
|Half a day to scan and fix a metal stamping machine
|Four days to reverse engineer that same part using a fixed CMM
Providing sample parts to customers
One day to scan, clean-up the data and email it to the customer — who can then 3D print the part
|Seven to fourteen days to create and ship the physical part with a fixed CMM to the customer
Additional company expenses to resolve a recent “no-build condition”
|$3.5 million (for 5 days of downtime, at $500 per minute)
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