CHICAGO Steel Supply Co. has completed installing two major pieces of equipment designed to improve quality, production and customer service, vice president and general manager David Sheer told AMM.
The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based distributor has installed a Haas-ST40L CNC lathe that includes live tooling capable of producing hydraulic piston rods, fan and blower shafts, and general machine tools. The products made on the new line will include solid and hollow steel shafts used for hydraulic cylinders, as well as steel for use in shafts in blowers such as water chillers and furnaces.
"The live tooling allows for cross holes and key slots to be machined on the lathe rather than transferring the work to a separate milling machine," Sheer said.
The service center also has installed a Hubtex sideloader that retrieves raw bar and tubing from storage racks and loads and unloads the material on production lines. It can handle 6,000-pound bundles and can reach racks 25 feet high, Sheer said.
The equipment installation comes at a time of stable demand, Sheer told AMM. "Business overall is steady but not as strong as first-quarter 2012," he said. "We anticipate a steady year but perhaps 4 to 7 percent down from 2012 volume."
Sheer said mill lead times "are much improved from last year, back to the normal eight to 12 weeks," which is important because the company has to build in processing time when quoting customer deliveries.
The company, which ships finished products to all 50 states and 21 countries, has hired six additional people since the beginning of 2012, Sheer said.