Curt, supplier of a complete line of towing products and manufacturer of USA-made custom-fit trailer hitches, has made significant investments in its Eau Claire manufacturing facility over the past year. It has implemented several advanced assets that have significantly improved manufacturing, processes, capacity, speed, and efficiency, according to the company.
The investment was divided between new welding robotic cells, tooling, two vertical storage lift modules, a new tube bender, and two new laser cutting machines, all using the latest technologies available.
Among the new investments are six new dual-arm robotic welding cells that have reduced cycle time for faster production response. There are also two new plate lasers used for cutting steel side plates for hitches. These are three times faster than those previously used, according to Curt, and provide increased cutting accuracy, better quality, more product, and faster response time to customers.
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Curt has also invested in a new all-electric tube bender that ensures better repeatability with less changeover, as well as two new vertical lift modules for efficient fixture storage, allowing for quicker changeover of tooling.
A new machining center has been established within the Curt hitch plant. This will help support continued growth of new product development, engineering and assistance in creating repeatable weld fixtures at a faster rate. Additionally, Curt has invested in a new “mini mill” – a high-accuracy engineering tool that allows one-off samples of parts to be produced quickly and in-house.
Finally, Curt invested in its people. At the Eau Claire facility, a new welder training program and three new welder training booths have been set up. These training resources allow new welders to be trained on Curt processes, and it gives Curt associates the opportunity to learn a new trade, making an increased salary, and adding value to the company. A new fume collection and air conditioning system has also been installed for the manual weld stations.