Design for Assembly

The Problem

Current design produced poor quality with excessive rework and higher cost.

The Solution

Vulcan Sales and Engineering reviewed current design to fully understand the issues. Meetings were held with people representing different areas of the Company. All of the current issues were listed along with a “wish list” of marketing related enhancements. Vulcan prepared a presentation that reviewed the current design and offered various design for assembly improvements. A good, better, best scenario was reviewed with the Team and a final design was selected that offered improved quality, several new product features and a cost that met the Customers budget.

The Results

A container Kanban system was implemented to provide complete tested assemblies as required using weekly Customer pickups. Customer WIP, rework and excessive finished goods inventories were eliminated. Product enhancements were offered to allow the finished product to be distributed into new markets that had regulations that prohibited the old style design.

Automated Laminated Actuator Frame Assembly

At Vulcan Industries, we are fully-equipped to produce high-quality custom assemblies for a range of manufacturing companies. The following case study demonstrates how we helped a leading power distribution and circuit protection manufacturer resolve their existing quality issues.

Project Overview

• Industry: Electrical power management

• Processes: Stamping several components, machining, assembly and zinc plating

• Company Background: Global leader in power distribution and circuit protection for utility, commercial and industrial applications

• Challenge: Partnering with manufacturing and engineering teams to evaluate the existing product. Numerous quality problems were presented as critical issues that needed to be addressed.

• Assessment: With input on a variety of quality issues, we were able to propose alternate methods to manufacture this assembly. Multiple stamping laminations were required, and correct alignment was critical to the assembly. Automating portions of the assembly and utilizing a fixture to assure alignment were considered the best long-term manufacturing solution.

The Vulcan Solution – Process Design, Automated Assembly, Quality, and Cost Control

With extensive experience in the development of computer-controlled tooling, we proposed a method to not only stamp the required number of laminations, but also count and assemble them automatically in the stamping die. The process design was critical to the success of this program.

Here is how we made it work:

• While the press is running, a conveyor is utilized to deliver two separate stacks of laminations from the die required to build one assembly to the press operator.

• A pneumatically-controlled assembly was designed and developed to allow the press operator to position and clamp a variety of components in their respective positions.

• The assembly was completed by assembling many fasteners and tightening them to the proper torque specification while in the fixture, thus assuring correct alignment.

• The final assembly was then zinc-plated to complete the process.

• The assembly fixture investment eliminated prior machining operations that presented quality problems.

• Utilizing the press operator to complete the assembly while the press is stamping lamination stacks for the next assembly meant that no cost was added for the assembly operation.

The Final Result – A High-Quality, Robust Manufacturing Process, Reduced Inventory

Quality problems with their current supplier prompted the customer to consult with Vulcan Industries. The new, robust manufacturing process we proposed addressed all prior assembly-related quality concerns. With quality no longer an issue, inventories were also reduced significantly. Our customer was extremely pleased with the results and now partners with Vulcan for ongoing manufacturing requirements.

At Vulcan Industries, we are experts at addressing manufacturing challenges and reducing assembly costs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you develop cost-effective electrical power management solutions.

Higher Quality, Lower Cost Spring Cover Assembly

At Vulcan Industries Corporation, we employ decades of manufacturing experience to streamline your production process. The following case study demonstrates how we used our engineering expertise to help the world’s largest manufacturer of heavyweight motorcycles improve product quality while reducing assembly costs.

Project Overview


• Industry: Motorcycle

• Processes: Stamping, machining, broaching, welding, and assembly

• Company Background: The world’s largest manufacturer of heavyweight motorcycles

• Challenge: Review alternative designs, estimate costs, and produce prototypes as required

• Assessment: A variety of different materials, fastener variations, weld processes, and assembly methods were discussed, and in many cases prototypes produced and tested

The Vulcan Solution – New Product Design, Weld Process, and Tooling


Our customer was keen to reduce current assembly costs (at Vulcan) as well as improve product performance. The existing bolted assembly cost and strength was compared to several bolted joint configurations and welded joints using various welding processes. The weldability of steel alloys, different welding processes, and a potential stress-relieving process offered a wide variety of options. Product testing was conducted on several designs highlighting the superior strength of a welded joint.

The customer decided on a specific welded product. After the design was finalized, production tooling was designed, built, and qualified. The new weld process required definition for cleanliness and force to press-fit components at two specialized suppliers. To complete the assembly, more tooling was developed to locate and deform a component that retains a stack of disc springs into the final product.

The Final Result – Cost-Efficiency and Enhanced Product Performance


The new assembly designed by the experienced Vulcan team provided the intended cost savings as well as assembly efficiency and enhanced performance. Now, the complete assembly, including a stack of disc springs is directly assembled on engines.

At Vulcan Industries, we are experts at diagnosing manufacturing problems, and designing the right solutions to improve quality and cost-efficiency. Our superior customer service ensures quick turnaround, optimized quality, and your complete satisfaction. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with motorcycle parts manufacturing solutions.

New and Improved Battery Busbar Assembly

The experienced team at Vulcan Industries Corporation offers custom assemblies to meet diverse client requirements. The following case study demonstrates how we utilized our tooling expertise to assemble a newly-designed product for our customer in a cost-efficient manner.

Project Overview

• Industry: Power storage

• Processes: Stamping, plating and assembly

• Company Background: Lithium-ion battery manufacturer

• Challenge: Review design, provide prototypes, and quote production quantities

• Assessment: The final product required stampings of numerous sizes to be assembled in between pieces of non-conductive material. The specialized process required for this project needed to address volumes from prototype to full production.

The Vulcan Solution – New Tooling Design, Material Selection, Custom Fixture and Workstation, Product Validation

A lithium-ion battery manufacturer approached Vulcan to manufacture and assemble their newly-designed product. The assembled product would connect numerous cells to a circuit without the possibility of shorting out closely-positioned cells in case an individual busbar is dropped during assembly. Production of diverse sizes of copper busbar stampings is relatively straightforward, but controlling tooling costs for low-volume production can be challenging.

This is how we made it happen:

• The tooling was designed to produce 3 sizes of busbars in one progressive stamping die.

• All 3 parts used the same size of coil material.

• Part production is controlled by feeding the material through the die in 1 of 3 fixed positions and adjusting the feed length accordingly.

• No tooling changes or costs are associated with running the family of 3 parts.

• The completed parts are then plated to allow for final assembly.

Assembly of the plated busbars required the selection of a non-conductive material and the development of a method to secure the busbars in place. A variety of materials were considered along with different retention methods. Final material selection parameters included lack of conductivity, rigidity, and adhesive strength. A custom fixture and workstation was developed to locate all the components and create the final assembly. Final product validation included torque and dielectric testing.

The Final Result – Performance and Cost Targets Achieved

The new assembly achieved the intended cost targets and provided the desired performance results.

At Vulcan Industries, we offer innovative manufacturing and assembly solutions to improve product quality while reducing cost. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your power storage solutions.

Lower Cost Stainless Steel Spindle Assembly for Eaton Cooper Power Systems

The experienced team at Vulcan Industries Corporation produces high-quality, robotically welded, stainless steel assemblies for OEMs in the electrical power and distribution industry. The following case study demonstrates how we helped a prominent manufacturer of vacuum fault interrupter switchgears reduce their parts requirements, and consequently, assembly costs.

Project Overview

• Industry: Electrical power switch gear and distribution

• Processes: CNC machining prototypes, laser cut blanks, CNC turned components, robotic welding, destructive testing

• Company Background: A prominent manufacturer of vacuum fault interrupter switchgear

• Challenge: Redesigning a product to reduce costs while improving quality with additional enhancements

• Assessment: Initial product review with the purchasing representative raised the question about the purpose of a second component referred to as a spacer. As they did not know how the two parts interacted with each other, we were asked to contact the project engineer.

The Vulcan Solution: Product and Packaging Design Review, Parts Reduction, Robotic Welding Process

Our customer was redesigning a product line. Their goal was to create an enhanced version of an existing system while reducing costs. A brief discussion on spacer use revealed that its only purpose was to provide a flush surface for a mating component rather than adding a machining operation to provide clearance for the weld fillet. Additionally, we discovered that the second version of this assembly was in the design phase, and that both versions would ship to two different locations— Olean, New York, and Queretaro, Mexico. The special protective packaging needed was not considered in the quote request.

We presented a proposal which demonstrated how the Vulcan team could provide assemblies that would not require the spacer, and still have flush surfaces on both sides (no weld fillet protrusion). We recommended recessing the shaft in the bell crank handle and weld, opposite the side originally proposed. A distinct advantage of robotic welding lies in its ability to closely control the amount of wire feed, shielding gases, and voltage. This results in a very controlled fillet size; no protrusion beyond crank handle surface, proper penetration (strength), and consistency. The customer accepted our new model and quickly revised their design.

Our second proposal was for packaging both versions. We worked with our packaging materials supplier and designed a solution suitable for shipment to both customer locations, ensuring the machined surface on the shaft remained protected. This proposal was also accepted.

The Final Result – 2 High-Quality Solutions, Significant Cost Reduction

We provided our customer with two versions of a high-quality product that surpassed their design requirements for impact and load bearing, while eliminating a component that was not required. This brought costs down even further than they had hoped.

At Vulcan Industries, we are experts at reducing product manufacturing requirements, performance inefficiencies, and production costs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with electrical power switch gear and distribution solutions.