At Hamilton, we take pride in our commitment to lean manufacturing, always seeking ways to do things faster, easier and smarter. So we love it when our employees take the initiative on our shop floor.
Take, for instance, the tale of Hamilton Welder and Master Assembler Ben Wilson, who recently found himself in a bit of a pickle. He was the sole employee responsible for assembling one of our custom creations, a 6” x 3” high-heat kingpinless swivel caster (XC0481). But what made the caster unique—its ergonomic design—also made it time-consuming to assemble. The caster’s cam-actuated foot brake with toe guard, which makes starting and stopping a breeze, has four pins that required one-by-one manual assembly. It was a process that took nearly half an hour to complete.
As repeat orders for the caster kept rolling in from our customer, a leading global aerospace company, Ben had a “brake-through” moment: why not create a bespoke tool that allowed him to push all four pins into the caster simultaneously? Using his welding expertise, Ben got to work creating a solution using a c-clamp and metal plate. Crafting the new tool took about a week to finesse, but the results were invaluable—it reduced the caster assembly time from 30 minutes to a mere five. This was a win-win that we could also pass on to the customer in the way of speedier delivery times.
“The invention happened completely organically,” Ben explained. “It didn’t hurt that I was able to apply my welding experience to envision how the tool could work. Now anyone can do the job.”
Great work, Ben. Now if you could just help us build a tool for speeding up Monday mornings, we’d be forever in your debt.