to the painters, who powder coat the products by hand or in an automated
spray booth. Then comes drying, finishing, and packing. Finally, packers
box up the completed fixtures and place them on vertiginously high shelves,
ready for shipping out.
The process is tracked every step of the way. “Once we receive the raw
material,” says Roio, “it is put in inventory in a dedicated bin, each with its
own bin location so you can track material live, whether it’s on the floor, on
the rack, or in WIP [work in progress].”
This tracking is about to get even more precise, as the company readies
for the March installation of a new SAP inventory tracking system. It will
unite the tracking information in the two factories, with the goals of keep-
ing customers informed and further increasing the output of this company
that currently ships around 600 units per day.
All of this computerized efficiency necessitates people who can run,
maintain, and program the machines. While the majority of the hires at
the company are sheet metal operators, “you are not just cutting the metal
with your hands anymore,” says Tommy Vargas, CNC machinist. “You have
to be able to machine it with a CNC machine using code, and that has to be
taught—the mathematics of it, the trigonometry of it.” Vargas learned these
skills at a nearby training program provided by the National Tooling and
Machining Association. So, too, did his brother, two cousins, and his uncle;
one relative works in cardboard box manufacturing, where the same technologies apply.
modulararts.com I 206.788.4210
made in the USA
5. Flat bar metal is welded
to the CNC central hub.