Custom carts

JACO displays quality cart and platform production with help from laser cutting

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JACO displays quality cart and platform production with help from laser cutting

James Rogowski

A leading manufacturer of custom-designed, precision electro-mechanical products, JACO Corporation turned to laser cutting technology to increase its production-not its headcount-and maintain a high level of quality. Since January 2005, JACO has been reaping the benefits of its laser cutting machine at its 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Franklin, Massachusetts. In addition to manufacturing, this ISO 9001:2000 Registered facility provides complete engineering and in-house powder coating services.

“After extensive research, we found the [TRUMPF TC L] 2510 to be equipped with many of the features we were looking for,” says Vice President of Operations Bert Santucci. Santucci oversees the fabrication of all JACO products, including the nation’s leading line of mobile wireless PC carts and platforms.

Saving shop floor space and labor costs were big draws for the New England manufacturer. “We’re pleased the machine doesn’t take up too much real estate in the shop,” explains Santucci. “I also appreciate that material can be automatically loaded and unloaded, so I don’t need anyone watching the machine once it is set up. That saves us the equivalent of about 2.5 people a week, or 100 hours in labor. And with a second TRUMPF (TC L 2510, installed in June 2005), we’ll be looking at another big manpower savings.” Over the past 20 years JACO has, on four occasions, added substantial production capacity and has increased the number of employees from 20 to 140 people.

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Since 1972 the company has been designing and manufacturing custom products, which now includes an extensive line of easily configurable wireless PC platforms.
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Safety and ease of operation are also high on Santucci’s list of must-have features. “The machine loads and unloads beautifully,” he says. “We can take a full skid of stock, drop it at the left of the machine, and pretty much forget about it. The loader does all the work, which is great because the sheets can get pretty heavy after a while, so we don’t have to worry about back injuries.”

Santucci, who has been with JACO since 1977 (when the company was strictly a job shop fabricating everything from small brackets to chassis for cables and fans), adds that the laser cutter has the ability to tightly nest both its steel and aluminum products. “That minimizes scrap and saves us even more, and because of the tight tolerances we are able to maintain, the quality of the parts is top-notch.”

The machine’s laser also gets high marks from Santucci. “Our 2000-watt resonator appears to cut as fast as a comparable 2500-watt model. And I like that TRUMPF makes its own resonator because I only have to deal with one company.” With that said, Santucci emphasizes that he hasn’t had any reason to contact the company since the first system was installed. “We haven’t needed any service people because the quality of the machine is so good,” he says.

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JACO offers eight different cart models with 120 options.
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During the past 15 yeas JACO General Manager Kevin Griswold has implemented countless production improvements, enabling the company to deliver superior precision sheet metal solutions job after job. He has brought on-board millions of dollars of lasers, robotics, system software, and personnel training programs. He also has complimentary things to say about the laser machinery. “We can clean the machine by quickly removing the trays from the work surface at the end of every job. That enables me to go home and run lights-out without worrying about anything going wrong.” Furthermore, he notes that the machine’s minimal setup time enables JACO to operate in a just-in-time environment. “We build to order and we only build what we can ship that week,” he says. “I only run what I need.”

These days-despite a slowdown in the manufacturing sector in the Northeast-Griswold needs to run a great deal. This year, JACO will produce between10,000 and 12,000 custom-designed, fully assembled PC carts, the majority of which will be purchased by the medical industry for use in hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout America. Meanwhile, JACO’s high-tech electro-mechanical assemblies continue to be the assemblies of choice for such demanding customers as Motorola, Lucent, Nortel, and Helix. “We grew 70 percent last year,” says Griswold. “We like to think it is because we offer quality products in a quality shop.”

James Rogowski is product manager for the Laser/Automation Group, TRUMPF Inc., www.us.trumpf.com.

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