Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 129
Eastman Machine Co.
eastman plans to grow its
business by paying attention
to its customers.
ingness to adapt to a specific customer's needs is what
sets us apart."
The company does create "new" machines regularly
as different options are introduced based on customer
needs, and Stevenson plays an integral role in software
and product development at Eastman. He introduces a
new, large machine every three years.
"We are always trying to stay up-to-date on the latest
software and consistently doing that on a daily basis,"
Stevenson adds. "We are updating our software and
working with our motion control vendor to make our
machines the most effective and accurate."
Eastman adapts its manufacturing process to the machine it is building that will meet its customers' needs,
which means its production lines are not set up to pop
out cookie-cutter machines. To increase efficiencies,
Eastman operates in cells to easily perform subassembly
and allow everything to flow from one cell to the other.
Quality is monitored through Eastman's quality division, which checks all products going in and out, expecting and validating quality throughout the entire
supply chain. But its generational knowledge serves as
its greatest asset. "Everyone knows how the products
are supposed to be, look and act," Stevenson explains.
"We have all these eyes - even from people who are not
primarily responsible for a particular assembly - who
will say something's not right, which helps produce that
Eastman quality every time."
Robots have become a big topic of conversation at
Eastman because more manufacturers are looking to
further automation by using robots to run or assist the
machines. "We are building one to put on the end of our
conveyor system to pick the parts," Stevenson says.
Moving forward, Stevenson expects robotics to become more important as the industry evolves. "We are
talking really long-term, but in 20 to 40 years, artificial intelligence - robots - will be running these machines," he adds. "That's something I'll look at when
I'm an old man."
The Stevenson family plans to keep Eastman a family
business to maintain continuity. "The Stevenson family prides itself on keeping the lineage going and having
it control Eastman," Stevenson says. "I read in The Wall
Street Journal that only 3 percent of family owned businesses make it through the fourth generation, and we
are in our fifth. I plan to continue growing the business
through our attention and dedication to our customers,
which is really one of our most important attributes." mt
Eastman recently introduced the Eastman Talon 25x™,
a one-inch multi-ply cutting machine that cuts a stacked
layer of material that, when compressed under vacuum, is
no higher than an inch. "We are very excited about that because it's a competitively priced, compact machine that is
low-maintenance, accurate and very fast," Stevenson says.
MAY/JUNE 2017 manufacturing-today.com