Newcomb Spring recently supplied large, custom coil auger components to a national food distributor. Working on-site at the distributor’s facility, Newcomb analyzed dough-mixing machinery and previous auger components, created drawings and customized their manufacturing process for the new parts.
Previous parts in the customer’s dough mixing machinery frequently failed, did not fit properly and required maintenance. The mixing augers are vitally important to the dough preparation process—when they broke, not only did dough production stop, but total output was affected.
“The old replacement augers just didn’t fit right,” said Donald Jacobson III, technical salesperson, Newcomb Spring. “OEM replacements were not available, so the customer had to make do with what they could buy through distributors.”
The design team travelled to the customer’s facility during a scheduled maintenance day, when all relevant equipment was shut down for cleaning.
“Us going on-site, seeing the machinery and working with the customer’s maintenance and production personnel provided us with a unique insight into how these parts needed to work,” said Jacobson. “Our ability to plan this on a maintenance day also saved the distributor a lot of money.”
The engineering team created plans for the new parts based on the dimensions of the previous augers and the auger’s position when mounted in the mixing machinery. The application and operating conditions of the parts were factored as well, which helped the team alter the design and recommend materials.
In a traditional order process, engineers would receive specifications and often a CAD for a part that needed to be produced. The company would then custom manufacture the order to meet requirements. While the company often provides design assistance, in this project, staff were involved from the initial design phase. They were presented with a problem part, then collaborated to identify the needed specifications.
“It was a really interesting challenge—much more than just reverse engineering the old parts, since the old parts didn’t work properly,” said Jacobson. “We worked with the distributor and reviewed their production processes to the design of these augers, which are really just giant compression springs.”
The new components have significantly reduced downtime and unscheduled maintenance. Order specifications for these parts are now stored in the engineering team’s archives, and the customer is able to easily obtain new replacement augers when they are needed.