Modular fixturing system helps custom-made constructing producer enhance effectivity


When custom-made constructing producer Hostetler Development developed its distinctive metal truss system greater than 50 years in the past, the purpose was to assist clients construct their desires. Not too long ago the corporate’s engineers had a dream of their very own: to take manufacturing to the subsequent stage by bettering effectivity, security practices, and remaining half high quality.

To do this, they knew they needed to transfer away from conventional shielded metallic arc welding (SMAW) and discover a new technique for fixturing.

“We had been utilizing old style fixturing that we welded for every undertaking, and it bought to be extraordinarily time-consuming,” mentioned Lead Engineer Micah Swartentruber. “Too many fixtures solely labored for one undertaking. We wished to be extra environment friendly and versatile.”


The undertaking began when the crew at Hostetler referred to as on Fronius to assist with the conversion from SMAW to fuel metallic arc welding (GMAW). With that conversion underway, Fronius launched the Hostetler staff to Andersen Industries, the producer of WeldPro 360 MIG Booms, which might combine with the brand new Fronius gear whereas eliminating twine muddle.

Swartentruber wished to take a look at the booms in individual, so Andersen referred him to Bluco’s Validation Middle in Naperville, In poor health., the place he may see a number of booms in use. Earlier than making that journey, although, Swartentruber referred to as Bluco Senior Gross sales Engineer Todd Bennett and described Hostetler’s fixturing drawback—one Bennett had seen dozens of occasions and knew tips on how to remedy.

Bennett then visited Hostetler for a hands-on demo that permit the staff fixture and weld one in all their trusses on their very own store flooring. In addition they examined a appropriate FARO laser projection system. Seeing how laser outlines may information element placement helped the staff envision even higher effectivity.

Whereas Swartentruber’s staff was impressed, Hostetler Development doesn’t take funding choices evenly. “We mainly verify into each firm on the market, interview them, and ensure the possession group is assured that we chosen the right accomplice,” he mentioned. As a part of that course of, the staff visited Bluco throughout an open home that featured Bluco’s trade companions, together with Fronius, Andersen, and FARO. “That basically helped us make the ultimate choice on each Bluco and Andersen,” he mentioned.

As soon as the staff determined to go forward with a modular system, Bluco’s engineers labored with them to design a single system to deal with each joist, rafter, and truss that they constructed.

After set up, it was clear that the fastened anchoring of the desk legs was limiting the fixture’s effectivity. Instantly, Bennett and his staff bought again to work and got here up with a first-of-its-kind repair: a curved flooring rail that allowed Hostetler to regulate the desk’s place immediately to suit an infinite number of half sizes.

“It really works like loopy,” mentioned Swartentruber. “We are able to do completely different pitches, legs, and all the things on that. It makes for quick setup, too, as a result of we are able to anchor to a particular gap and simply go proper as much as it.”

The ultimate system introduced a giant enchancment in effectivity. “Among the setups would have taken as much as two days. We’ve minimize the time in half for a few of these bigger setups,” he mentioned.

Each fixture is saved as a STEP file in SolidWorks. Shifting a element to fixture a brand new half is as straightforward as counting holes on the modular base to match the drawing. “There’s days after we do 5 completely different barns, and there was a ton of setup the previous means. That is far more environment friendly.”

As well as, the system holds every half straighter and ensures the tabs welded to every submit and truss are exactly positioned each time. Because of this, roof boards might be minimize to nominal lengths with out structure or measuring. Outer metal panels, roof sheets, and inner ending now match collectively flawlessly. “In the event you match gap to gap and spacer to spacer, there’s simply not numerous room for error,” mentioned Swartentruber.

The staff additionally discovered it straightforward to learn to use the modular system. “It took a couple of month of manufacturing earlier than we bought actually comfy, whereas prior to now the coaching interval would have been a 12 months, so it’s simply superb on that aspect,” he mentioned. “Now there’s means much less of administration’s assist and time wanted out on the store flooring, as a result of we have now guys which have by no means accomplished setup exit and do a fixture in a really brief time. It’s only a large profit.”