CNC PROGRAMMING & PROBLEM SOLVING SPECIALIST — ACCURATE GAUGE & MFG.
“IMTS is an idea incubator for me because I gather information there and the ideas just start churning in my mind. Soon it reaches a phase where I know I've got enough ‘mentally solidified’ to make it happen.”
Mark Tario of Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing (Rochester Hills, Mich.) feels like a kid in a candy store when he walks the floor at IMTS – the industry’s largest candy store, that is. As the engineering and safety manager for the last 30 years, Tario has focused on learning and excelling at all aspects of his company’s operations to become the best operations/plant manager he can be. As a result, he never stops hunting for new ways to make improvements – and IMTS is the place he comes for ideas and solutions.
“Everybody has dreams for improving their business, but it takes more than generating ideas,” Tario said. “Being able to think about it, create it, bring it to life and improve what we do is so important. IMTS is an idea incubator for me because I gather information there and the ideas just start churning in my mind. Soon it reaches a phase where I know I’ve got enough ‘mentally solidified’ to make it happen. I feel many ideas are born out of opportunities that are disguised as challenges.”
Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing makes semi-truck axle carriers for most North American heavy duty axle suppliers, including Daimler, Dana, Meritor and Volvo Mack. The company has built a niche market in the industry and was one of the first to receive NSF International certification for the International Automotive Task Force 16949 standard for quality management. This was a major achievement for a dedicated team led by quality manager Darrin Soukup.
Success was no accident for Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing. For 52 years, the company has grown steadily from a small 1,200-sq. ft. building to three plants totaling 122,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space. The key has been investing in modern facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, innovative processes and highly trained staff.
Value of Continuous Improvement
At the core of Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing is a strong belief in continuous improvement. It is Tario’s job to identify and fix variability in quality controlled characteristics of the entire manufacturing process to optimize stability and predictability.
“Working with power sanding tools makes the process very operator-dependent,” Tario said. “Is one worker going to grind an edge heavier than another, or miss some areas? If an operator slips while deburring, will it ruin a bore? We recognized these variables as roadblocks to maintaining high-quality parts and avoiding scrap.”
With this challenge in mind, Tario visited the Sugino Corp. booth at IMTS 2016 and learned about a chamfering tool with an axial float that would automate deburring. As a result, Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing bought Sugino tools. Now operators have less handwork and fewer chances for error, part quality is consistent and abrasive belt costs are much lower.
“Now that we’ve automated the deburring process, we use the same number of workers but we use them more wisely,” Tario said. “As the machine is running, operators can focus on quality and other productive activities. We have people anxiously awaiting these new tools to be implemented on their particular parts and programs.”
The idea of continuous improvement goes into the way Tario sees employees, too. Fostering the growth of the next generation of machining and quality professionals is a top priority for Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing. Like the rest of the manufacturing industry, the company has seen a decline in available skilled laborers, so the company is growing their own professionals. Without the time and efforts invested in training, Tario firmly believes his company would not be what it is today.
At IMTS 2018, Accurate Gauge & Manufacturing paired experienced staff with younger team members to focus on areas that directly impact their work. This guidance helped rookies make the most of their time at the show. Tario knows first-hand how overwhelming the show can be without a plan of attack from his first IMTS experience in 1988.
“For my first IMTS, I was a sponge, soaking up as much as I could, as quickly as possible. It was awe inspiring, and I didn’t know where to go first,” Tario said. “To prevent that from happening to our staff, we chose mentor-mentee pairings this year to give them a chance to hone in on what they want and need to see, to find solutions that help them in their current roles. We want to empower them to find tools that help them do their work better.”
The teams will focus on the areas that matter most to them, including the Metal Cutting, Tooling & Workholding Systems, Quality Assurance, and Abrasive Machining/Sawing/Finishing Pavilions. For Tario, IMTS is the most efficient way to get comprehensive information to improve the company’s bottom line.
“I could spend weeks or months searching online for answers and solutions, but I’d never see the breadth or the depth of solutions I can see in just a few days at IMTS,” Tario said.
AMT’s Emerging Technology Center is a favorite place he goes to dream big for the future.
“I love to see new ideas,” Tario said. “What are the things that the dreamers have dreamed up that the doers have said, ‘We can use that.’ I want ideas that I can use, or ready solutions we can implement. It’s an amazing thing when people come together with ideas and start to brainstorm. You may come out of IMTS with something completely different from what you expected, but it’ll solve your challenge. I always want to see if somebody’s come up with a better mouse trap than I can.”Read More Stories