JD Ellen Manufacturing, Inc. | Haas Customer Success Story
For JD Ellen Manufacturing, Haas Automation means developing a lean culture that is constantly seeking improvements in all aspects of business, as well as providing excellent service to our customers and the community. We strive to follow the examples we’ve observed from Haas and others in pushing the limits of innovation to provide quality service, and improve the quality of life of anyone who associates with the business.
As such, we have taken the leap of faith into collaborative robotics, and have discovered that they fit well within our model, and further promote automation and streamlining of the workflow of the business. With the addition of “Kevin,” as we’ve named the robot, we have been able to grow significantly as a company, and focus more on the quality of our products and improving our processes, thus increasing our production capability throughout the shop; and all of this despite the robot being dedicated to a single workstation.
All this growth and development started with Haas. Twelve years ago, JD Ellen was started by Jacob and Dave Lewellen with a Haas SL-10 and VF-3 (both of which are still in operation today). As the company established its roots and developed its client base, we determined that we needed to make our first “innovation” investment, and got our first bar feeder. As with all innovation investments, there were many learning opportunities that required us to better develop current understandings, and improve our cutting processes. However, through our first experience with a bar feeder, a clear decision was made to utilize similar automation tools wherever we could, and that decision has allowed us to run “lights out,” and improve the quality of life for our team.
As JD Ellen continued to grow, we started investigating robotics for our larger products. Working with Chris Hansen, business manager at our local HFO (A Division of Ellison Machinery Co.), we were introduced to the cost-effective option of collaborative robots, and began our journey with In-Position Technologies and their UR Robots. After studying the Haas Electrical Service Manual and resources on the Haas website, in conjunction with the UR documentation, we developed our plan for implementation. Throughout the 2 weeks of testing prior to implementation, JD Ellen ventured down several different paths, testing what would and would not work, identifying what would work best, and following those paths. Then there were 1.5-2 days of implementation at the machine, and roughly 3 weeks of observation and revisions to the system. With the “final” product, we have been able to increase production at the cell by roughly 225%, and have had to revisit our supply chain strategy in order to keep up. It’s been a great opportunity for growth, individually and collectively, and has been a catalyst for growth and improvement ever since.