The Punch Hole Problem
Louvered sunshades and many of our component level parts require holes to be drilled at specific dimensions. The Arch-Fab method for achieving this, historically, was to use a paper template and mark the hole locations using a center punch. After each hole was marked on the material using the paper template, a stationary drill press was used to drill holes in the marked location 1 at a time. The drilled material would then be used as a template to drill holes in the remaining parts.
This process was very time consuming and regularly inaccurate. Parts could effectively be drilled at a pace of 2 holes per minute. This severely limited our ability to produce sunshades at a competitive price point and our overall capacity in the shop.
Our Solution to the Problem
After months of research, Ben Davis found a used Iron Worker that would effectively punch single holes into our materials. With a $1,500 investment and some redneck ingenuity, Ben was able to bring the Iron Worker online and used it immediately to punch holes in a large quantity of brackets on the University North Park project in Norman, Oklahoma. The machine paid for itself on this one job by speeding up the number of holes being punched per minute to 20. After gaining efficiency and increasing capacity in the shop using this machine, Ben was able to make the ROI case for a larger investment in a bigger piece of equipment.
Within a year of purchasing the Iron Worker, Ben located a 90-ton press that would be capable of punching multiple holes at once and reliably sheering material. With the help of Mike and Paul Hernandez, Ben was able to get the 90-ton press online. This entailed finding the correct tooling dies and jigs to allow our shop to setup a variation of templates. Our 90-ton press is now the primary source for hole punching for tee brackets, embeds, slip brackets, outriggers, and other parts.
This innovation increased the efficiency of hole punching to 75-150 holes per minute. It has saved Arch-Fab $50,000 in efficiency performing this work and reducing work that would have otherwise been outsourced to vendors like SDMI.