FAST AND ACCURATE LARGE PARTS, A FAMILY RECIPE FOR GROWTH
“Shops that machine small parts may have the luxury of scrap, but we don't,” says Don Covert, President of Covert Manufacturing. “Accuracy, speed, and a stable process are vital. Big parts take longer to machine, so you have to maximize the number of parts you finish in a day, without sacrificing quality and with as little scrap as possible.”
Covert's customers come from a mixture of markets, but their focus is on large heavy-duty, off-highway truck and agricultural customers with parts exceeding the limits of small machining centers. Parts machined at Covert include airbrake systems, transmissions, heavy duty truck parts, industrial compressors, pumps, agricultural equipment, hydraulic pump components, marine engines, truck trailers, components, spindles, brackets, and outdoor power equipment.
Sixty percent of Covert's business is in machining and production, with 40 percent in mold and tooling work. The company has a total of 345,000 square feet under one roof and owns a 45,000-square-foot piston plant. To keep up with the increasingly heavier workload, Covert Manufacturing now has 300 employees running three shifts.
“Our company has been growing every year,” says Covert. “We are up 20 percent over last year. Our core customers help to fuel our growth, especially the agricultural and heavy-duty truck industries, but central to our growth is continued investment in updating our machinery.
“We've always invested to take advantage of sales opportunities, putting millions into the company each year for new technology and reliable equipment. It's important for us to have equipment that exceeds our customers' quality standards and enables us to make delivery, all while retaining a job-shop mentality. This is why we have repeat opportunities.”
When it comes to the Covert family business, success is a word that directly correlates with the family itself. The hard work they provide to the business and wise business decisions in purchasing the highest-quality machinery have made for a business that will provide for the family and employees for many years to come.
“With the incredible results and service we've consistently received from Makino, I see no reason why Covert would ever be without Makino machines in the future,” says Fox. Covert says that in addition to his family's commitment, the company also employs many other families who are just as passionate about the business.
“We have a lot of fathers and sons—second and third generation—working in our shop,” says Covert. “Most of our people are long-term employees who have been around an average of 15 years. We have 15 to 18 people who have been working here 30-plus years. That contributes to our success.”
Silicon-nitride-inserted face mills were used to run at more than 4,000 surface feet per minute (SFM) and at feed rates of 125 IPM while holding 0.005-inch flatness. Multiple diameter boring bars were used to rough and finish valve bores, which had a 0.0005-inch diameter tolerance and a 32 Ra or better finish.
“This is exactly the type of part that results in high scrap rates for shops,” adds Fox. “Deep holes can wreak havoc if chips aren't cleared properly, tight face milling has to result in a very flat surface, and boring bars for finishing down to a fine finish. That's a recipe for a big, junked part if you don't know what you're doing and don't have the right machine.”
The results in Covert's large part manufacturing can be partially attributed to the A88E's ability to use its full workzone. All Makino HMCs are designed to machine accurately to the top of the Y-axis without pallet-tip. This accuracy, in combination with the thermal stability of the machine, keeps scrap rates at a minimum and allows for tighter work deadlines.
Covert Manufacturing's annual customer review has shown a continued demand for large, complex parts.
“Quality is a given these days. The question is, who can deliver parts on time and still make money? Our investment in reliable, accurate, fast machines, combined with our years of manufacturing experience, allows us to achieve the low scrap rates and turnaround necessary to fulfill these large contracts at a profit,” says Covert. “Our customers want bigger parts, larger quantities, and more capabilities out of their suppliers.”
To continue to satisfy their customers, Covert Manufacturing is expanding their capabilities to include assembly and even automation design and production for other manufacturers.
“We're planning on expanding this location to add more equipment, allowing for continued diversification, meeting this demand and growing with our customers,” explains Covert. “But the core of our business is high-volume, large part production. The fact is, low scrap rates and reliable equipment, combined with our whole family of manufacturing experts, are propelling the growth of Covert Manufacturing.”
Covert Manufacturing, Inc.