GNS America—with a location in Holland, Michigan—offers metal stamping, hot stamping, welding, and assembly. Their tool and die division provides full design and build capabilities. Their commitment and passion to excel in innovative techniques and processes make GNS an industry leader in metal forming and product assemblies.
The first emergency repair: a broken rod on a safety catcher
GNS called HEL about a broken rod on a safety catcher—the device used to prevent motion of a machine unless specifically authorized to do so. They knew there was a problem somewhere, so they looked to our team for a quick diagnosis.
We deployed our team to remove the safety catcher assembly from the machine. From there, they disassembled the full unit to examine the extent of damage and to begin to facilitate repair.
We quickly realized that, due to the age of the device, it was no longer supported by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM); there was no direct replacement. The initial lead time GNS was given by the OEM to create a replacement was 8-10 weeks. That’s more than 1,600 hours of non-productive downtime.
At HEL, we shifted gears to source an alternative device from our supplier base. We sourced and identified a unit that met the requirements, and we engineered and fabricated a transition ring since the new unit was not a direct mounting unit for the old one.
And we did all this in just two weeks.
This is a great example of how we, at HEL, can provide a full solution for our customers. GNS didn’t have to coordinate the delivery of the first part or worry if it would be a fit. They didn’t need to set up a machine shop, design the new ring, or source additional materials. We’re proud of our ability to adapt and redirect resources.
An unexpected second machinery issue
Unfortunately, once the safety device was fixed and back in place, we collectively learned that it broke because of internal leaks in both of the counterbalance cylinders. So we helped GNS troubleshoot the root cause, bringing in hydraulics partners to assist in the diagnosis.
We learned that the cylinder tubes were bad, and the pistons were damaged beyond repair. We designed new pistons, selected and sourced new seals and cylinder tubing, and modified them to fit off-the-shelf components rather than long lead time items.
The design intent of our repair was to ensure GNS is no longer beholden to one supplier with long lead time. These are wear components that will inevitably fail again someday, so we wanted to protect them for the next time this happens.
This second phase took us less than one week.
We’ll always happily work ourselves out of a job by doing our work the right way for our customers.