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Ahead of the Curve: Pushing Capabilities Beyond Industry Standards

Author: WST FAB

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September 21, 2021

Wisconsin Steel and Tube and WST Fab showcase a commitment to maximizing capacity and capabilities through innovative technology investments.

When it comes to our performance, there is no higher reward than our customers achieving their dreams. That’s why we’re almost always evaluating our current technologies and equipment to meet the needs of our customers, maximizing our capacity and capabilities.

“Our No. 1 focus is and has always been our customers' success,” said Charlie Lenn, Director of Sales and General Manager of Wisconsin Steel and Tube and WST Fab. “We have tremendous relationships with our customers because they know how much we value them, regardless of their size, and so we are in constant communication with them and often make our investments around the needs of our key customers.”

The company made two key machine investments recently that offer perfect examples of this approach to growing the business alongside customers’ companies.

 

ByTube130 Laser Cutting System and Tube M3 Laser System for Tube Cutting FL300

Wisconsin Steel & Tube

“We knew we could get fiber technology from several suppliers, but what we were really lacking was the ability to do large diameter and heavy wall tubing,” Charlie said. “Ross, our rep at OnPoint Solutions really helped us get the ball rolling and the FL300 really struck a chord for us in terms of adding the top end of the spectrum and Bystronic really worked with us on putting together a package that would help us really go.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin Steel & Tube actually experienced an uptick in business, and the FL-130 provided much-needed capacity for its team to continue to grow and have added flexibility of two high-speed machines.

With some pre-existing customers being in large equipment manufacturing, the FL-130 created a number of opportunities for heavy wall and large diameter parts, and added the ability to go all the up to 12” round and 10 sq x .375 square. 

“The FL300 will be a game changer for us,” Charlie said. 

 

Bystronic ByStar 4020 15kW with Double Tower Storage and Automation

WST Fab

“The story of the growth of our fabrication department has been so cool,” Charlie said. “We took delivery of our first laser (Bystronic ByStar 6225 with automation) in October of last year, along with our Bystronic Xpert 80 and Xpert 320 20’ machine. Fast forward to today and we are near full capacity on our laser, and we are continuing to grow our press brake department as well.” 

The company began researching options to increase capacity and keep capacity open on the 6225 in order to have the flexibility to take on large, long parts. 

“We also like having the large bed size, so we felt the best choice for us was to go with the 4020 and have 80x160 bed size to still maximize our cutting times,” Charlie said. “We are tight on space and so we also needed something that could fit into a relatively narrow space. Bystronic came up with an Antil automation system that will allow us to fit two 20 shelf towers and the 4020 into the space we have open. This is incredibly beneficial to us, not only for raw material storage but also finished parts storage and the ability to run lights out.”

 

Overall, both of these updates are just a snapshot of the company’s commitment to advancing its capabilities and technology.  From an automation standpoint, WST aims to better utilize its people and equipment - not only robotics, but also material handling automation, welding, and even ways to automate our quality inspection processes. 

 

“We are 100% zeroed in on advanced technology, innovation, and automation,” Charlie said.
“We continue to focus on growing our apprenticeship program and really tapping into the skills, ideas, and creativity of the next generation of manufacturing talent. We are so fortunate to have a great group of employees that want to make a difference.”