A new telehandler introduced at the 2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show highlighted Miller Fabrication Solutions’ aptitude for working side-by-side with customers to develop innovative equipment. The state-of-the-art telehandler achieves precision placement up to eight stories and has a horizontal reach of 60 feet to help minimize material rehandling and delay, or altogether eliminate, the need for costly cranes on the job site.
The culmination of this product launch at North America’s largest construction show was facilitated by the close relationship between an equipment manufacturing leader in the material handling industry and Miller, its longtime supplier-partner and collaborator in the telehandler frame fabrication.
Early Supplier Involvement (ESI) Advantages
Early in the engineering-design process, Miller and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) held weekly meetings to review component and top-level assembly designs of the proposed part. Miller reviewed each part’s design, suggesting revised tolerances or modification of features that would ease manufacturability and reduce cost, as part of its Value Analysis/Value Engineering (VA/VE) solution.
The OEM’s purchasing/new product development team also engaged in Miller’s comprehensive project onboarding process. Configured to the core objectives of each project, the collaborative process breaks down costs for each area of manufacturing, including assembly, weld, machining, paint and others, and identifies opportunities for further cost reductions. As part of that process, Miller agreed to design and build a weld bed and acquire a new weld positioner that would ease production of the telehandler frame fabrication.
Fixtures were to be outsourced, and Miller and the customer jointly selected two fixture vendors. Operating as a strategic partner to the customer, Miller held design meetings with the fixture companies and managed their build schedules to ensure both delivered on time. Once fixtures were produced, Miller’s internal team was at the ready to produce a “buyoff frame” that permitted testing of the fixtures before beginning pilot builds.
Multiple Levels, Multiple Prototypes
Miller drew on multiple capabilities and pieces of equipment to then build three prototypes of the complex telehandler frame fabrication.
Single-level detail parts involved:
- Laser, plasma, oxy and saws
- Forming and flattening
- Machining on smaller and larger horizontal and vertical mills and with lathes and lathe/mill machines
Sub-weldment level parts involved:
- Assembly/fabrication using fixtures and manual layouts
- Machining on smaller and larger horizontal and vertical machines
Top-level builds involved:
- Fixture use for assembly/fabrication
- Weld positioner for welding
- Manual powder coat line for painting in the customer’s proprietary colors
Continuous Revision Control
After the customer tested the three prototypes, its design engineers made revisions in tandem with changes that resulted from the Miller/customer teams’ ongoing design meetings. Revisions to new products are commonplace throughout the development process and beyond, and Miller works collaboratively with clients to arrive at an impeccable finished product.
Weighing more than 6 tons, the final telehandler frame is nearly 20 feet long, more than 7 feet wide and more than 6 feet tall. Miller utilizes a combination of its coordinate-measuring machines (CMM) and manual inspections to assure high quality of all parts, material certifications, weld inspections and paint prior to shipping.
Anticipating high volumes of estimated annual units (EAU) of the telehandler frame fabrications, Miller has load leveled to prevent the need for the OEM to incur additional investments and established dedicated capacity for the based on the OEM’s seasonal requirements.
To learn more about how Miller works collaboratively to develop complex, cost-effective heavy equipment parts, schedule a consultation with a metal fabrication expert at Miller Fabrication Solutions today.
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