Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - 26

PLANNING FOR SUCCESS
hen Wizard Screen Solutions began exploring the idea of automating
aspects of its production, it started by identifying the bottlenecks
impeding manufacturing, says Darcy Puri, general manager of the Burnaby,
B.C., Canada-based company. Wizard employees also:
 talked to customers and spent
time project planning the key
performance indicators for success.

 visited various operations to test
the equipment and technology
already in place.

 solicited consultant help, spoke
with suppliers and met with like
businesses to learn from their
processes/procedures.

 for some areas, spent as much
as two years researching various
equipment specifications.

"We also did lots of reading and had endless hours of dialogue
by email and phone with companies that provide automation and
technology, working with company representatives to provide us with
recommendations," Puri recalls.
"Preference was given to companies that could show the tangible benefits
of using their systems and that had an understanding of our business, from
current to future needs," he continues. "The best question we asked all
providers we considered was, 'How does your system or equipment make
a better product for our customers?' It was amazing how many providers
couldn't answer the question outside the scope of their equipment."

Precision Custom Canvas has used its Autometrix plotter/cutter during the COVID-19
outbreak to produce more than 11,000 face masks, 4,000 face shields and 600 isolation
gowns. This PPE is shipped to doctors, pharmacists, optometrists and other front-line
workers. The company, which in better times manufactures products for the recreational
marine industry, is now listed as a medical manufacturing facility and is about to begin
production on 16,000 of its Class 1 face shields. Photo: Precision Custom Canvas Inc.

human factor. Although Childres says
his employees have become accepting of
technology and Arthur says the same, this
isn't always the case. Companies often face
employee resistance. This was a concern
of Carl Ryan Cordell, owner of American
Canvas Products, when he purchased an
Autometrix cutting machine in 2018.
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the custom
canvas shop specializes in making truck
tarps, awnings, and pool and boat covers.
"All our employees-there are 10
full-time workers-are set in their ways
and don't like to deviate from what's
comfortable," Cordell says. "I was also
skeptical if the machine would be able
to do the cuts necessary for some of
our small projects.
"But this machine has been a blessing,"
he continues. "Most of our cutting is being
done by it, although it's taken us a year to
get away from scissor cutting. Currently,
this table has allowed us to make thousands
of PPE [personal protective equipment]
masks to help with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Without it, we wouldn't have been able to
have the same impact." American Canvas
has orders for more than 7,000 masks,
making them for hospitals, nursing
homes, and police and fire departments.
The company's learning curve was
slow; it went through a lot of cheap
material getting things dialed in. During
this time, employee complaints over how
they could have done it faster by hand flew
at Cordell and his production manager.
It's not like that now.
"Employees love the jobs the table cuts
for them," he says. "One job we do that
usually takes a week to manually cut only
takes 33 minutes using the table. We can
do anything because our cut-time is so low.
We just finished cutting over 5,000 surgical
masks while also doing the other jobs we
have going."
Jeff Newkirk's biggest concern about
the Autometrix plotter/cutter he recently
purchased was the CAD knowledge

26 REVIEW JUNE 2020

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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - 2
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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - Cover3
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