Global Fastener News

1981 FIN – SPS Opens Division Focused on Automation

February 14
00:00 2010

FASTENER HISTORY

September 15, 1981 FIN – A new Automated Systems Division has been set up by SPS Technologies, combining SPS assembly and materials handling systems into a single attack on rapidly developing factory automation markets.
Headquartered in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with additional manufacturing plants in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, the new SPS division will include all operations of CBSI Inc., the Hallowell Division and the Special Products Division.

SPS president John R. Selby, told FIN that the new division will strengthen the company’s activities in three areas:

• Sophisticated materials storage and retrieval systems using computer technology and robotics to reduce inventories and labor associated with automated material control systems in warehouse and factory environments.
• SPS Joint Control System tightening equipment and other electronically based assembly tools that utilize computer controls and data acquisition systems to improve quality in critical manufacturing operations and document quality control.
• Hallowell industrial storage equipment, including the Hustler order-picking vehicles.

“We want to focus the skills of these three divisions, technical and marketing-wise onto the business of industrial automation,” division president Don L. Hinmon Jr. told Fastener Industry News “It’s a marrying of inventory control and handling with computer-aided systems to assembly systems which are computer controlled and computer aided. ”

Hinmon said the marketing organizations will remain the same for the time being. “There will continue to be a field-level marketing organization for automated assembly systems, and one for automated material handling products. All will report to one vice president of marketing, who will help in coordinating those efforts, and obviously there are some marketing, service, proposal and engineering areas where there is considerable opportunity for cross-pollination.”

“On one side, in our automated systems division, the focus has been on electronics, automotive and general machinery industries,” Hinmon explained. “On the other side, in the assembly business, the only area that we haven’t really done much in is electronics; although we have had considerable interest in the handling of smaller fasteners and in the automated assembly concepts that we espouse for smaller-size assemblies. We will, of course, now pursue that.”

Fastener Industry Needs Automation

“Overall, industry has got to reach a higher level of automation and productivity, both of which are certainly available now,” Hinmon told FIN. “We know that a number of people are looking at automated or semi-automated factory environment that are taking the dog-work jobs out, the material handling and complete control of material right up to the assembly station. People don’t necessarily go away at the assembly station, and we don’t see that as a need. We see the complete control of materials through an automated system as being highly desirable.”

Hinmon rated investments in sophisticated MRP systems as “money well spent. But if you lose the product on the shop floor, it shoots down your MRP system. ”
SPS intends to “capture that component while it is in the process, going through the material handling function on the shop floor, and take it right to the assembly station, perform the required operation at the assembly station, and record the product or the assembly in a system where it is visible to the system at all times.”

“We have done work in a number of industries. I think one of our jobs will be to tie these together. Certainly, we do a lot of government work and I think that will continue to be a high priority with us. We see great opportunities for savings there.”

Hinmon added that the automotive industry “has been and will continue to be a major area for productivity improvement, utilizing our types of equipment. We currently sell the automotive industry with both our assembly equipment and our automated material handling equipment.”

“The electronics industry has been of significant importance to us from the material handling equipment standpoint, but we really haven’t scratched the surface yet in terms of assembly equipment,” Hinmon told FIN.

SPS’ experience supplying the government can be applied to other customers. “Our government work constitutes going to a green field and building a warehouse and putting in the equipment, getting it up and running and operational. We intend to bring that expertise to the commercial table.” ©1981/2010 Fastener Industry News

Related Links:

• SPS Technologies

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