Turning back to a good idea

To keep ahead in a global economy in an industry as precise as gear manufacturing, companies must continually examine processes and equipment looking for new ways to improve quality and efficiency while controlling costs.

Sometimes that means circling back to old ideas.

Forest City Gear opened Roscoe Works in 2012 as a separate division in a brand new 8,500-square-foot building behind the historic main plant. It was dedicated solely to machine blanks and slugs in a single setup that included all turning, milling and drilling operations.

The goal was to improve FCG’s lead times and quality for the production of precision gear blanks.

As a new division, there were hard lessons learned. That included the fact that FCG had a number of quality suppliers to do this for less complex parts. By trying to in-source everything with no regard to complexity or quality it compromised our competitiveness.

So Roscoe Works was repurposed for high-volume production, and the turning, milling and drilling operations were disbursed within the main FCG plant.

The original concept of Roscoe Works was a solid one, though, and this year FCG is moving the  high-volume production into the main manufacturing plant so we can increase focus on our niche in the gear industry – which is to be the first choice when you need to make the most precise, complex gears in the world.

FCG is restoring the former Roscoe Works building back to being solely dedicated to turning, milling and drilling blanks. We’ve spent the past six years investing in personnel, training and equipment to take what we learned with the original Roscoe Works concept and build upon it.

This will allow us to be more responsive to the customers who have a more complex project. Instead of sending the turning process outside of the company and getting the blanks back in four weeks, we’ll be able to do it in-house in a fraction of that time.

At FCG, we pride ourselves in having the most sophisticated machines for our operators and we’re doing more than just changing the manufacturing footprint. We’re making a $2 million investment in two new KAPP Niles gear grinders. It’ll make us a one-stop shop for even the most complicated gear projects.

As always at FCG, we have an open-door policy. If you’d like to come in and tour our new turning center and talk about how it helps us help our customers, just call us and schedule a time.

See how we make our own gear blanks here.
 
Read our article in Gear Technology magazine.