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FOREST CITY GEAR EXPANDS BLANKING DEPARTMENT
Leading gear manufacturer acquires three new Haas turning centers to produce “donuts” for its gearmaking operations
Roscoe, IL-Forest City Gear has acquired three Haas turning centers to improve the throughput at its gearmaking facility. The company has made this investment, according to President Wendy Young, “…because we needed to better control our throughput and reduce the time to start up jobs. We were experiencing some severe delays from outside vendors and we saw problems on the horizon from such bottlenecks. Our company is always on the lookout for such conditions, because both our quality and our delivery protocols are vital to our success with current and potential customers in the world market.” These new machines will be used in the company’s Blanking Department, headed by Tommy Kalt, who detailed the new machines.
“We purchased a Haas ST-10 Turning Center with a magazine bar feeder, 300 PSI high-pressure coolant system and automatic tool presetter. It’s a fast, very flexible and very easy-to-use machine tool.” This machine, as well as two Haas ST-20 Turning Centers with 8” chuck and 20-station hybrid turret, fully programmable tailstock and high-pressure coolant pump, are currently operating in the Forest City Gear facility to produce “donuts” from automatically fed bar stock. These donuts are the near net shape blanks used in the gearmaking operation here. As a custom producer of extremely tight tolerance gears for the most demanding applications, according to company CEO Fred Young, “We need to have optimum control of our operation, at every step. Our company today exports gears to every corner of the world and our rigorous quality standards require a number of intermediate steps, prior to shipment. If the blanks are not available and our production is delayed, the entire operation slows and we simply will not allow that to happen,” Young stated emphatically.
Kalt expands on the ST-10. “It has a manual, programmable tailstock for shaft work, another real advantage in our type of shop, where we do a lot of splines in addition to gears. Plus, the Haas CNC system is very easy to learn and to use. It has simple language commands and most operations can be done with the push of a button. I like to say it has an American-made feel to it. The work area is open, the tooling is easy to change and the learning curve was really short for our guys. They were up and making good parts almost immediately.” He noted that the performance of the first machine led quickly to the purchase of the two additional Haas ST-20 turning machines. Kalt also cited the ECO CNC system on the Haas machines, with minimal lubrication requirements and auto-power down features were in sync with the Forest City Gear green initiative programs, as a further value to this purchase.
On the business side, Wendy Young was very satisfied with the cooperation of the Haas sales and delivery team. “We were treated fairly and the support has been first-rate, right from the start. We already see the benefits of this purchase to our company.”
For more information on this story, please contact: FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC. 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 Phone: 815-623-2168 Fax: 815-623-6620 Web: www.forestcitygear.com
Email: email@example.com Attention: Wendy Young, President
PR agency contact for Forest City Gear: Tim Daro Bernard & Company 847-934-4500 firstname.lastname@example.orgContinue reading
13-year-old student visits Forest City Gear to explore career options; meets many women already succeeding in “a man’s world”
Roscoe, IL-Forest City Gear frequently opens its doors to visitors, usually from customer and prospect companies, as well as international trade associations, the media, vendors and occasionally competitors. Company owners Fred and Wendy Young have always believed this policy was beneficial to the visitors, who see some of the industry’s finest gearwork, produced and validated for quality on absolute state-of-the-technology, world-class equipment.
On March 30, 2011, however, another visitor came to tour Forest City Gear with a slightly different agenda. 13-year-old Alexi Cluff, accompanied by her grandfather Brian Cluff, vice president of Star-SU, a leading supplier of gearmaking machinery and tools, visited Forest City Gear to learn about manufacturing and especially to explore the options for women in manufacturing, an environment traditionally thought to be “a man’s world.”
Alexi is not your typical 13-year-old. She is currently enrolled in a program sponsored by a grant from the Motorola Foundation and conducted at the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University. The program is a workshop in partnership with NIU-Enhanced Engineering Pathways, the Society of Women Engineers and the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois. The stated objective of the program is to challenge and sharpen the skills of accelerated learning for 12- and 13-year-old girls selected by their local middle school science and math teachers. Currently, 48 girls work in small groups, assisted and taught by NIU women engineering professors and women engineers from various industries. These instructors mentor the girls on various engineering projects, from the building of simple electrical circuits to create sound, motion and light, to bridge building, chemical engineering and lean manufacturing simulation. The groups meet on Saturday mornings on the NIU Napervillie (IL) campus and also attend a summer camp, held each June.
Often, the groups or individual students have tours arranged for them at local area manufacturing locations such as electronics and communications giant Motorola, where they can absorb “real world” experiences and especially meet women of all ages who have succeeded in the various disciplines required in a manufacturing environment. Since Alexi’s grandfather had a long working relationship with Forest City Gear, he reached out to Fred and Wendy Young to arrange a tour. The Young’s obliged, giving the young lady a complete tour of their factory and quality lab, plus arranging a roundtable discussion with a number of the women at the company, who perform all categories of activity for Forest City Gear. A world leader in precision gear manufacturing, Forest City Gear has an international reputation for “excellence without exception,” which happens to be the motto of the company.
Women from all departments of the company, including application engineering, human resources, gear grinding, gear deburring, gear hobbing, order processing, estimating, expediting, procurement, materials inspection, quality validation, machine set-up and company management were at the table. Alexi’s eyes and ears were wide open, as she listened attentively to every word.
Seated at the table for Forest City Gear, in addition to Wendy Young, president, were Kika Young, Geneva Parr, Mary McClellan, Krista King, Sharyl Stewart, Lori Lovett and Ingrid West. These women are involved in literally every aspect of the company. As Mary McClellan mentioned, “We touch the products at every step of the process, especially me (in gear deburring), because of my little fingers!” These women were unanimous in their advice to Alexi Cluff. “Always be willing to learn more, never be afraid to speak up with your ideas, bring all your skills to the job, every day, and don’t hesitate for ask for directions…something men never do!” They all had a good laugh.
Alexi said, “I’ve always been interested in making things and finding out how they work,” a sentiment her grandfather echoed. “I started making gears when I was 14 and it’s fascinated me, ever since.” If there’s anything to that old adage about the genes skipping a generation, perhaps the gear industry will have another Cluff in its future!
At the end of the roundtable, Forest City Gear CEO Fred Young had some comments. He detailed the difference in the European education model, where there’s considerably more encouragement given to young women to explore any and every working option. In America, he noted, “Our greatest strength came from manufacturing, the basic ability to make things better and faster than anybody else. The value-added service of making something from raw materials is what builds a nation’s wealth and makes us more self-reliant. Letting go of manufacturing would be a big mistake. By learning and using the technology we develop, as well as what we can gather from other countries, we’ll make America a stronger nation and more successful, in the long run.”
Following the visit, her grandfather remarked to Forest City Gear President Wendy Young, “Alexi was excited and, on the way home, quite animated. The sharing time with your ladies impressed her immensely. She has been journaling her observations. She told us in the car on the way back home that the very first class she had at the NIU workshop for girls was a hands-on exercise in lean simulation and that what she saw at Forest City Gear, from the way the routing sheets, bar codes and processing were set up, that you obviously have implemented lean manufacturing practices! As she downloads, processes and articulates what she saw and observed, she has already started to ask me questions about gear geometry. Such sweet candy to this old grandpa!”
In reviewing the NIU program and the comments above, perhaps it’s possible Alexi Cluff actually IS your typical 13-year-old girl. They just need to be shown their options.
Forest City Gear was founded in 1955 by Stetler and Evelyn Young, parents of the current CEO, Fred Young, who runs the company with his wife, President Wendy Young. Forest City Gear is considered among the premier gearmakers in the worl
d, with successes ranging from the Mars Rover to the BMW/Oracle, winner of the America’s Cup.
Brian Cluff and his longtime colleague and partner, David Goodfellow, manage and operate Star SU LLC, located in Hoffman Estates, IL. The company sells various leading brands of gearmaking machinery, other machine tools and a proprietary line of cutting tools.
Here is a link to the news release about the program on the NIU-EEP website (www.niu.edu/eep): http://www.niu.edu/PubAffairs/RELEASES/2008/nov/scouts.shtml
For more information on this story, please contact: FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC. 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 Phone: 815-623-2168 Fax: 815-623-6620 Web: www.forestcitygear.com Email: email@example.com Attention: Wendy Young, President
PR agency contact for Forest City Gear: Tim Daro Bernard & Company 847-934-4500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest City Gear proudly announces the availability of its new capabilities brochure. This new literature details the many markets for which the company produces highly-specialized, custom gears to suit the most demanding applications for accuracy, stability and wear. A world-class gearmaker, Forest City Gear has a reputation in the international market for “excellent without exception,” the mantra of company CEO, Fred Young.
Forest City Gear produces precision gears for a variety of markets, most notably aircraft, aerospace, defense, instruments, medical, racing (boat and auto), high-end sporting goods and more. The company’s products are found on the Space Shuttle, every car in the starting field at the Indy 500, the world’s longest distance casting reel, highly sophisticated measuring instruments and Siemens magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, as well as Howitzer’s, surface-to-air missiles and other military ordnance. The company proudly boasts it will have every wheel and actuator gear on Curiosity, the next generation Mars Rover vehicle. That achievement was based on its outstanding performance on Spirit and Opportunity, the current vehicles occupying the Red Planet.
Long recognized internationally as a leading gear manufacturer, the company continues its philosophy of reinvestment and ongoing purchase of the latest, most advanced gearmaking technology in the world. As Fred Young explains, “We don’t wait for the order to buy the machine, we acquire the best technology available to push our capabilities into new arenas, every day. That policy, coupled with arguably the most sophisticated gear quality lab in the world, has kept us in the forefront of the industry for decades. We’re very proud of that fact. As evidence of same, Forest City Gear counts dozens of other gear companies among our customers, as they bring work to us which they cannot perform themselves.”
The full brochure is available online at www.forestcitygear.com, which also details the company in a virtual tour of the facility, plus videos and a full personnel directory of key contacts.
For more information or a copy of this new capabilities brochure, please contact:FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC. 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 Phone: 815-623-2168 Fax: 815-623-6620 Web: www.forestcitygear.com Email: email@example.com Attention: Wendy Young, President