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Evolving to meet the needs of the market

Tweet/Garot recently installed a multi-purpose cutting machine at its Wrightstown facility

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July 12, 2023

WRIGHTSTOWN – Over the years, Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Inc. has evolved to meet the demands of the industry – growing from its early days as a plumbing and heating company to the mechanical contracting firm it is today.

It’s this forward-thinking mentality that Leah Cohen, director of manufacturing, said led to the recent purchase and installation of a new piece of equipment at its Wrightstown manufacturing facility – which she said greatly improves the facility’s capabilities.

“It’s really a trend in the industry as well, but as a company, we’re trying to prefabricate as much as possible,” Cohen said. “And the thought behind it is that we’re in a nicely controlled environment, it’s better for our product in terms of quality and it’s better for our employees in terms of safety and environment in general.”

Cohen said up until now, the facility used partially automated saws to make the cuts.

“A little bit of it was automated, but for the most part you’re measuring, you’re lining it up and then you’re hitting go on the saw to cut your part,” she said.

For more complex cuts, Cohen said Tweet/Garot would outsource the work.

“There are also not a lot of options in the area to outsource this type of work,” she said. “They’re really filling up and they have really long lead times. You could potentially be waiting three to six weeks to get the parts that you need. We were outsourcing a lot of work that we could do if we had the right equipment.”

That “right equipment” for Tweet/Garot, Cohen said, was the Mazak North America Fiber Laser 220 – a highly accurate, multi-purpose cutting machine capable of cutting a variety of shapes, including round, square, rectangular, and triangular for multiple different types of material. 

“We use it throughout our fabrication – meaning we can use it on the piping side, but we also use it a lot on our food and beverage work. Supports for platforms and conveyors and things like that are typically cut from long pieces of either round or rectangular tube and pipe.”

Tweet/Garot’s new Mazak North America Fiber Laser 220 multi-purpose cutting machine is capable of cutting a variety of shapes, including round, square, rectangular and triangular. Photo Courtesy of Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Inc.

Cohen said the Fiber Laser 220 also processes I and H beams, C channel, angle iron and additional user-defined shapes from mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum and other materials.

The machine, she said, will be beneficial for the creation of food and beverage equipment, platforms, piping and plumbing systems, while creating more efficiencies and consuming less power.

Why the Fiber Laser 220?
Cohen said the Fiber Laser 220 supports Tweet/Garot’s desire to decrease its material waste.

“The machine itself has the ability to nest projects – so it’ll put the cuts in a specific order to minimize scrap,” she said. “We were hoping to go from 15% to 5% scrap, but with our production order we’ve done (so far), we’re at 3%.”

Rod Jones, a custom equipment design manager at Tweet/Garot, said the Fiber Laser 220 was chosen because “our studies found that the size would cover about 80% of what our current needs were.”

“Mazak has a long history of quality craftsmanship on what they make, and I liked how this equipment holds the materials and handles the materials,” he said.

Jones said the Fiber Laser 220 program imports Tweet/Garot’s models “seamlessly.”

“We’re able to bring them in and even if we need to modify them, we can modify models within the software,” he said. “The software is very efficient at doing the tasks we need including the nesting or tabbing parts together so that they don’t fall apart. It’s done very quickly, easily and seamlessly.”

Cohen said another reason the Fiber Laser 220 was chosen was its availability of in-state service capabilities.

“That was a big deciding factor for us as well – the level of service for the machine locally,” she said. “There were some other options we looked at that didn’t have service branches in Wisconsin that we could easily access.”

Leah Cohen

Cohen said the quality and speed of the Fiber Laser 220 provides the company the ability to create a “great, finished product.”

“Especially in the food industry where the requirements are so strict for minimizing contamination and things like that,” she said. “We want a clean cut. We want to be able to have a clean weld on the clean cut and just make sure there aren’t any places for bacteria to gather. The speed and efficiency also help our prices – making sure that we’re always remaining efficient and continuing to gain efficiencies so we can serve our customers better.”

Why now?
Cohen said the investment into a piece of equipment like the Fiber Laser 220 makes sense now mainly because of the demand Tweet/Garot is seeing.

“We are actually seeing a lot of growth in our food and beverage area of the company,” she said. “We’ve been growing in revenue about 70% a year over the last five years. It started out as just this really small niche in the company. Then we hired some people that had experience with it, and had a few customers.”

Since then, Cohen said that sector has really grown.

“We’re really becoming well known in the food and beverage industry for the quality of our work and the flexibility we have to meet people’s schedules and really service their plants,” she said. “As that’s grown and grown and grown, the workload that requires a machine like this has grown as well.”

The addition of the Fiber Laser 220, Cohen said, allows Tweet/Garot to control all aspects of the production process in-house.

“People have dynamic schedules, they’re trying to coordinate (their work and if) something goes down in their plant, they may need immediate service,” she said. “Now, we can really handle it and have control over that and shuffle things internally to make it work.”

Equipment training
Cohen said a current Tweet/Garot employee has been brought on as the machine operator for the Fiber Laser 220.

“We took somebody who was operating one of our other sophisticated pieces of equipment and put him on this new machine,” she said. “He’s been going through training over the last few weeks, actually with the vendor themselves, making sure he really understands the machine. It’s a great step for him in his career, and then we backfill his role.”

Cohen said it’s a new role, potentially two roles if the machine is used over multiple shifts in the future. 

Though training is ongoing, Jones said work has already been completed on the machine.

Rod Jones

“Our operator has advanced pretty quickly, so we actually have been cutting jobs through training because the projects that we’re cutting touch on the different aspects that the operator needs to learn – whether it’s material differences, like steel and aluminum versus shapes versus size. It’s kind of a natural ending to our training.”

At this point, Cohen said Tweet/Garot is content with the one Fiber Laser 220 machine.

“For the time being, we’re happy with the one we have – we’ve got some other capital investments that we would have earmarked to do prior to that, such as upgrading some of our current equipment,” she said. “But, who knows? As business grows, we might build the capacity.”

Echoing Cohen’s comments, Jones said “we’ll see where the market takes us.”

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