Canadian Fabricating & Welding recently published an article profiling Millomat Stampings Inc., an Ontario-based manufacturing company specializing in metal products for the aerospace, boiler, architectural, communications, and food service sectors. Millomat is a SafanDarley customer, and our successful partnership with Millomat through our business partner Westway Machinery provides a great example of the benefits of our business model.
The article highlights many of the benefits of SafanDarley’s approach to customer care before, during, and after the sale, and I would like to discuss them further here.
World-class Tech Support
The SafanDarley team always strives to provide our customers with the best experience possible. It was a pleasure to read about Millomat’s take on their experience with the support we provided (which the company’s owner referred to as being “great”) while upgrading their press brakes. There were some issues after the install, and we worked closely with the team at Millomat to resolve them as quickly as possible.
While it’s our desire to not have any issues on an install, it is gratifying to see that they saw our action as positive. Their story reflects the values our team strives to demonstrate with all of our customer interactions.
Our process always starts with a strong relationship. Before thinking about sales, we worked with our Canadian business partner, Westway Machinery, to develop a deep understanding of Millomat’s operation. We also developed a detailed analysis that included the estimated time required to produce each part Millomat manufacturers.
From there, representatives of Westway Machinery and SafanDarley worked with Millomat’s leadership through the entire procurement process, helping to identify the growing company’s specific needs, select the best combination of equipment, and provide the customization and hands-on implementation support that’s necessary to deliver fully functional, automated press brake cells.
We remain fully engaged with our customers until their new equipment is 100% operational. In this case, our U.S.-based tech support team worked with Millomat to upgrade their equipment’s programming and make minor adjustments to get the equipment operational once it was installed. The goal is for our customers to be able to start generating ROI as quickly as possible, and the Millomat installation is an excellent example of how the process typically plays out.
Lasting Solutions for Labor Challenges
For decades, the manufacturing sector has experienced a growing labor shortage — a problem greatly exacerbated by the pandemic and related labor market changes. Skilled operators and floor managers are harder than ever to find and retain, and the potential of future COVID-related shutdowns still looms large throughout the industry.
Automation is the best and most equitable answer, because it enables manufacturers to produce more with fewer operators while elevating the value of their operators across the entire marketplace.
In the article mentioned earlier, Millomat’s owner, Mani Sehmbi, explained how their new automated solution works: “With this system, an operator working on another brake will get paged on their cell phone when all the jobs are finished in the cage where the R-Brake runs. That operator can then set up skids for new jobs at the machine and go back to other manual press brake work. All the programming, meanwhile, is done up in the office.”
SafanDarley takes job programming offline and off of the shop floor, so it can be completed in advance for multiple jobs on a laptop in the office, for example. Operators can then spend their time on the shop floor focusing on production.
A Growth Engine
The most exciting aspect of Millomat’s story is that they are using automation as a catalyst for growing their business. The manufacturer initially cut a full shift from its press brake department when the automated press brakes came online, but the business continued to grow to the extent that the company later re-established that shift to keep up with growing demand.
This is a fantastic example of what automation can do for a growing business. Within a relatively short timeframe, the facility was able to increase production without hiring more employees or expanding the operation’s footprint.
ROI is the number one reason to automate, and increased production without increased manpower is perhaps the best indicator of the potential profits to be realized.
Imagine What Can Go Right
Upgrading to automated cells used to get a bad rap for being an expensive and painful process involving multiple engineers and programmers. But times have changed. With the right OEM, modern automated systems are vastly more user friendly and affordable than ever before.
SafanDarley’s automated cells require no support from third-party robotic system integrators, engineers, or programmers, and they can be operated by almost any capable operator. In fact, the efficiencies that are built into our software help younger, less experienced operators “punch above their weight” and perform at much higher levels.
SafanDarley delivers the safest, most user-friendly, energy-efficient press brakes in the world, and it’s always a pleasure to see our customers succeed. We’re thrilled that Millomat’s investment in SafanDarley equipment was a home run for their business, and we enjoy working with forward-thinking leaders in the sheet metal fabrication market like the team at Millomat.
Our compliments to Canadian Fabricating & Welding and writer Rob Colman for the excellent article.
At SafanDarley, we are seeing growth in automation investments across the board, in small, mid-sized, and large fabrication companies. So let’s take a closer look at the growth of automation in our industry.