Quality Industries uses its TruLaser 3030 2-axis laser cutter along with a TruFlow 5000 for heavy-gauge parts and parts that would be hard for conventional tooling to produce.
Quality Industries Inc. is always looking for new ways to improve its production of fabricated metal products and its services. A privately held company, Quality Industries implemented a $12.5 million company-wide capital program in 2015 to invest in the latest manufacturing equipment and technology to better serve customers and improve overall quality and efficiency. The investments were made at QI headquarters in La Vergne, Tenn., and at its second facility in Denton, Texas.
The La Vergne campus has 267,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space across three buildings with more than 500 employees. The state-of-the-art metal fabrication facility offers punching, laser cutting, welding, forming, bending, stamping, finishing, powder coating and custom-assembly capabilities. Part of the $12.5 million investment includes a new, cutting-edge powder coating system and two new robotic welding cells.
A Trumpf turret head on a punch machine at QI.
The Denton facility was established in 2011 as an 18,000-sq.-ft. small light-assembly facility. QI is moving to a new 86,000-sq.-ft. facility in Denton in December. This facility will include new fabrication capabilities as well as assembly and will have more than 40 employees.
Robert and Georgianna Russell founded Quality Industries in 1972 in Nashville, and in 1984, the company relocated to the current facility in La Vergne. Robert passed away in the 1990s while Georgianna and their daughters continue to be active in the company.
Stainless steel food service equipment and truck component parts were the company’s first product lines. Over the next four decades, QI evolved into a contract manufacturer that provides component parts, subassemblies, finished products and engineering services to a diverse customer base. The company remains a large heavy-duty truck and commercial vehicle supplier and other markets include electrical enclosures, solar power and recovery vehicle equipment.
Metal fabrication services include work with stainless steel, mild steel and specialty steel components, as well as aluminum.
Quality Industry team members assemble wrecker bodies for Miller Industries.
Laser cutting capabilities
QI currently has four Trumpf 5-kW CO2 lasers. Two are in-line with an automated material handling system and two are manual load/unload. The company purchased its first laser machine in 2005. It uses the lasers to cut heavy-gauge parts and parts with extreme detail that would be hard for conventional tooling to produce.
The laser machines allow for a high degree of accuracy and repeatability, cutting complex profiles with burr-free edges. “You can hardly do that type of work with any other piece of equipment,” says Mike Swift, La Vergne production director. “It would cost our customers much more if we didn’t have the laser cutters. We can also cut on aluminum, carbon and stainless steel. We can do small runs on up to large runs of thousands of pieces.”
The main advantage is the ability to fabricate thick material.
Rendering of Quality Industries’ new 86,000-sq.-ft. facility in Denton, Texas.
Quality Industries’ headquarters located in La Vergne, Tenn.
“NC punches take a tremendous beating if you’re piercing thick material,” Swift continues. “The thicker the material, the more tonnage needed to pierce through the metal.”
The lasers allow flexibility in fabricating any type of flat sheet material without having dedicated tooling. “Cutting them on lasers keeps maintenance costs down on our punches,” he says.
“The tower system feeds raw material to two lasers and two punches,” Swift says about two of the company’s laser machines that are attached to a Sculpin tower system. “This allows the machines to run productively without having to wait on raw material being delivered to the machine with forklifts. The machines can run lights-out without an operator or material handler being present.”
QI has a new, state-of-the-art powder coating system.
Quality is required
Whether day or night, QI offers high accuracy and repeatability to its customers. The company runs capability studies on all of its machines to ensure they have the repeatability to meet customer specifications.
Improving its quality management is another focus for QI. A little over a year ago, the company achieved ISO 9001 certification for quality management. To meet ISO 9001 requirements, QI completed a detailed gap analysis of its operations and began to streamline the identification, development and documentation of its processes.
Document control is a key element of the ISO 9001 program. The ISO certification process requires organizations to have an adequate system in place to purge and remove any predecessor documents, so that only the most current documents are referenced for ongoing work.
Gauge calibration is another key area. The ISO requires companies to provide a system of gauge identification that allows gauges to be monitored and measured. This has an impact on product quality because it helps to ensure that all gauges measure correctly.
The Trumatic 5000R is one of Quality Industry’s four high-speed Trumpf punches.
The company also focuses on product design and engineering to improve its manufacturing processes. QI has been adding to its engineering staff and offers design assistance as well as product development from the beginning of the process for the customer.
And service is a benefit that permeates throughout the operations. The company focuses on engineering excellence and innovative application of technology and processes to maximize value for its customers and profitability for itself. QI’s success is based squarely on its customers’ success.