A publishing company publishes two newspapers in the top 100 circulations in the U.S., as well as dozens of smaller publications, with a combined daily circulation of more than half a million.
The client operates a printing, packaging, and distribution center of more than 680,000 square feet with a maintenance team of 30, including 15 electrical and 10 facilities, operating 24/7. That facility has an on-site team from RS Integrated Supply managing the MRO spare parts program. Part of that team’s responsibility is to bring the client cost-savings opportunities.
One such opportunity arose after a bevelled gear-set failed on the printing production floor. The on-site team was able to avoid downtime by supplying the necessary spare part. However, in reordering a replacement gear set, the team learned that the lead time on the critical spare had grown to over 16 weeks.
The drive assembly, consisting of one large and one small gear that is manufactured as a match-set, drive a large printing impression cylinder. That three-story tall vertical printing unit is critical to production.
The on-site team seized the opportunity to find a more reliable, less expensive source offering shorter lead times.
That search quickly revealed that there were few options, with all suppliers having similar costs and lead times. There was no real benefit to making a change.
RS Integrated Supply reliability engineers and machinists designed a new set without using any formal design plans, instead referencing a well-worn sample. They identified the material hardness, type of gear, pitch of the teeth, dimensions, and other specifications. The process eventually took them to Quebec, Canada, where a machine shop was willing to reverse engineer a new set of gears, both sizes, to the exact specifications required. Consulting with the client’s head machinist, a test sample was developed and shared with the client for inspection and approval.