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Challenging the Status Quo: New Tools and Tricks at Wisconsin Steel & Tube and WST Fab

Author: WST FAB

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July 17, 2020

As a company focused on service and innovation, we’re excited to share new manufacturing capabilities and recent projects in several industries, including: agriculture, construction, heavy equipment, lawn and garden, recreational equipment and fitness industries.

While it’s been said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the WST way is to challenge that status quo and re-imagine our potential. In recent years, the company invested in equipment and training to transition from not just a distributor but also a manufacturer.

“We believe that by increasing our scope and capabilities, we will be able to provide an even higher level of service to our customers,” said Charlie Lenn of WST Fab.

Since 2018, we have purchased 7 machines that drastically increase the services we can provide, while maintaining and even accelerating our quality.

What Does This Look Like

We’ve made strategic investments that added several new core competencies. In many cases, this means projects previously out-sourced are now completed in-house, which allows us to better serve customers. 

These changes directly speak to two of our core values: service and innovation. We believe that by increasing our scope and capabilities, we will be able to provide an even higher level of service to our customers. In addition, we will be able to live the value of innovation as we will continue to drive innovative solutions to our customers through strategic investment in cutting edge technology.

Here’s a breakdown of the ways our upgrades will serve our customers.

Upgrade No. 1

Machine(s): Tube lasers (Mazak Fabrigear 220 C02 and Trumpf TruLaser Tube 5000 fiber) 

Location: Milwaukee 

Since 1952 Wisconsin Steel & Tube has provided steel distribution and saw cutting services. We knew we were way behind the times in the necessary technology to accelerate the growth of our company.

In 2018, we added our first Tube Laser, a Mazak Fabrigear 220 CO2 laser, which allowed us to focus on heavier walled structural tubing and shapes. 

It filled a niche with some of our OEM customers in Agriculture, Construction and Heavy equipment. 

While this initial investment was exciting, we knew we weren’t done yet. We knew we needed a complimentary piece of equipment that gave us speed for hole intensive parts and small and medium diameter tubing that better supports our customers in the Lawn & Garden, Recreational Equipment and Fitness Industries. 

The Trumpf TruLaser Tube 5000 Fiber gives us additional capabilities to flow drill and tap as well the tremendous speed and cutting capabilities of fiber.

 

Upgrade No. 2

Machine(s): Two tube benders (AMOB eMob 150 6” all electric tube bender, and an AMOB eMob 80 3” all electric bender set to be operational at the end of July 2020)

Location: Milwaukee 

As a customer focused service center, we have a number of long-term contract based customers; as such we do a number of unique stocking, kitting and inventory programs to better support lean manufacturing and line side material handling. 

With one such customer, we had been providing a complex bent tube for a number of years. This part was outsourced to a third party bender, while the supplier has always done an excellent job.

Yet, we knew we needed more control over our lead times and wanted to continue to enhance our value-added capabilities. 

In October 2018, we started researching the best machine not only for this existing application, but for future growth and settled on the AMOB eMob 150, 6” all electric tube bender. 

This machine gave us the ability to bend heavy wall square and rectangular tube, as well as round tube up to 6” in diameter. With a significant customer base in Agriculture and Lawn & Garden, we knew this would allow us to produce a number of products including frame rails, bumpers, cab steps and Roll Over Protection Structures (ROPS). 

After a year of running this machine, we decided we needed to cover a broader range of sizes and have subsequently purchased the eMob 80 3” all electric bender as well.

 

Upgrade No. 3

Machine(s):  Bystronic ByStar 6225 12kw Fiber Laser with an 8’x20’ bed and full Antil automation, a Bystronic Xpert 320 350t x 20’ press brake, and a Bystronic Xpert 80 80t press brake

Location: Manitowoc

Our latest investment has been by far the most exciting. We’ve worked with some of our most strategic customers to not only look for ways to better support their needs, but also fill a niche in the supply chain that allows us to focus our investments on equipment. This approach allows us to make an immediate impact in our target markets.

The large format 12kw fiber laser gives us the combination of cutting edge speed and technology with the ability to handle oversized material and cut long parts. The Xpert 320 allows us to form full 20’ long parts up to 6mm thick. 

“We have a goal in mind to be the best and most capable supplier we can, and we will continue to invest in the latest technology to achieve that goal,” says JT Teich, President of Wisconsin Steel & Tube and WST Fab.

 

We look forward to serving your needs with all of these great new capabilities. Contact us HERE for more info!