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Arlington Machine and Tool
Precision CNC Machining Company Expanding into New Markets
With growth into international markets and a recent expansion of a new state-of-the-art assembly and test center, Arlington Machine and Tool Co. (AMT) is poised to continue to offer innovative new products while meeting stringent quality standards.
Earlier this year, the Fairfield, N.J.-based company followed up its recent acquisition of Titan Technologies International Inc., by moving the headquarters from Houston to Clifton, N.J., just 15 minutes away from home base. The Titan product line includes Superior Bolting Solution Products, such as hydraulic and pneumatic torque wrenches, tensioners, and hydraulic pumps. Arlington Machine has been manufacturing these products since 2003, but decided in 2006 to buy out Titan and take over the whole manufacturing and distribution of the products. At the new Clifton site, Arlington operates a state-of-the-art assembly, test, overhaul, repair, and distribution center to support its product line.
"It was an ideal product line for us," said John J. Staudinger, COO of Arlington Machine and Tool. "Everything is very high precision and it's a very high-end product line. It deals with 10,000 psi pressure for the pumps, and with those types of pressures, everything needs to be very high precision. We're an expert at high precision machining, so it's an ideal fit."
Since the buyout, AMT (www.arlingtonmachine.com) has expanded the Titan end of the company to be about five times bigger, mostly due to the high demand of such quality products and to the rising demand from mostly the energy market, Staudinger said. There are a lot of oil and gas applications for the Titan product line, for example, and some wind turbines have about 700 to 900 bolts. "When they (wind turbines) are assembled, they need these (Titan) torque wrenches because you have very large torsion and movement on a wind turbine," Staudinger explained. "A 5.3 megawatt turbine is 300 feet in the air and has a 70 ton cell with blades that are 175 feet long. Every six months they need to go back and calibrate 10 percent of the bolts by going back and retightening."
The initial challenge in developing the hydraulic torque wrench was to design a more reliable and durable tool—one that could withstand up to 50,000 ft. lbs. of torque—without increasing cost or weight. Through finite element analysis (FEA), AMT was able to determine weak areas of current designs and design a stronger, more reliable product. The company was also able to apply years of knowledge on military parts to develop additional processes and coatings that helped strengthen the tools and add to their reliability. Arlington Machine and Tool's torque wrenches are used on oil rigs, wind turbines, power generation plants, ship yards, and anything that involves big equipment, such as mining equipment.
With the energy industry growing so rapidly, AMT is expanding into international markets, such as Russia, Brazil, India, and China, where manual wrenches are on the way out due to safety concerns. The company has also just recently teamed up with a big oil and gas distribution company to sell their product line in Mexico and Brazil. "We're expanding internationally now into South America, and we have a very large distributor that's carrying our line and really selling well," Staudinger said. "We're also expanding globally with various distributors."
The new assembly and test center for the torque wrenches and other Titan products features lean assembly cells. "We have lean assembly centers for each different product group. It has expanded so that we can triple our output with the same amount of people," Staudinger said. "We've developed our own test and calibration stand, which is a new, patented test stand [that we can use] to test all of our tools in a new, dynamic way that no one else can. It gives us more information to help us improve the product line so that it's better and more robust."
Two new patented products under the Titan line have recently come to market, Staudinger said. Working with some of its Blow out Preventer (BOP) manufacturers, AMT has developed a new Super Thin Line wrench that enables accurate bolting even in the tightest applications. Instead of using a slug wrench and hammer to open nuts and tighten them in difficult-to-access areas, the wrench is hydraulically driven and fits into tight areas so that a safe and accurate bolting seal is created. The patented Super Thin Line is selling very well and is a "very big differentiator" from AMT's competitors, according to Staudinger. Another new product that is selling well is the patented Tri-Hold Backup Wrench, which is hands-free and is designed for efficiency and ease of use. "Our competitors have to have about 30 wrenches to do the full range of bolts and at $600 apiece, that's $18,000," Staudinger noted. "With ours, you only need five wrenches to cover that same range and it's maybe $5,000, so there's a huge cost savings and a huge inventory savings for our customers."
As a family-owned business that was started in 1963 by John Staudinger Sr., Arlington has grown into 80,000 sq. ft. of space and about 100 employees. Owned and operated by John Staudinger Jr.'s sister, Susan Blanck, the company strives to meet strict customer requirements and keep quality at the forefront, she said. The company has numerous certifications, including ISO 9001:2008 and the coveted AS9100:2004 C aerospace certification, which was procured through the help of the DoD Mentor Protégé program with Sikorsky Aircraft. Gaining ISO in 2000 was the company's "foot in the door," Blanck explained, adding that the program with Sikorsky in 2007 enabled the company to focus on pursuing aerospace work by finally gaining AS9100 certification in 2008. "It opened the door for us. We knew that we wanted to get into the aerospace industry, and that (AS9100) was now becoming a requirement. So, once we got that certification, it sort of catapulted us, not only with Sikorsky, but with others. It opened the door to get work," she said.
Supporting AMT's AS 9100 certification are the company's seven coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), including three Sheffield DCC CMMs, which measure to 0.0001 inch accuracy in order to maintain the highest levels of quality. The company boasts about 70 CNC machines, and its systems, processes, and supporting procedures are designed to support full production runs, as well as any rapid response prototype work. Along with its state-of-the-art technology, AMT has the expertise to do mechanical, hydraulic, and electro-mechanical assemblies and sub-assemblies. The company serves various industries, including energy, aerospace and defense, aviation, firearms, medical, electronics, and industrial tooling. Its wide range of manufacturing capabilities includes CNC lathes, milling machines, screw machines, gun drilling, water jet, and wire EDM.
Arlington's use of flexible machining systems (FMS) gives the company the ability to effectively and productively meet customers' delivery demands, Blanck said, giving AMT a distinct advantage by eliminating setup times on long-term contract jobs. The company has a high-speed machining cell with eight FMS systems and 52 interchangeable pallets. "With that we have a lot of flexibility," she said. "If a machine goes down for whatever reason, we don't skip a beat; we can continue production. It's one of the newer technologies and there are many advantages to it. There's the reduction of labor costs because you set it up once. It requires less space and there's an increase in efficiency and productivity. It also improves the quality of the product and the manufacturing lead time is less."
Blanck's father transferred ownership to her and her brother John in 2007 and she currently has 51 percent of the ownership, putting in long work days and staying committed, along with her brother, to improving the company. Being a woman-owned business helped get the mentor/ protégé program with Sikorsky that eventually led to the AS9100 certification, and many companies look to AMT to fill a certain diversity quota for small, disadvantaged business representation.
The company also has SDB (small disadvantaged business) certification under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guidelines and meets the National Women's Business Enterprise Certification (WBENC) standards as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE). "That's important," Black said. "It's a process where they verify that the woman owner is actually running the facility and is an active owner. It's one thing to say you're women-owned, but another to say you're WBENC certified."
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