Bill Waseleski shares how he solved his supply chain issue and remained competitive through free state resources, 3D printing and the Advanced Technology Center.
Bill Waseleski hit a wall during his search for a replacement part. He wasn’t able to order it from the original manufacturer or anywhere else. The president of Century Spring Manufacturing Co. in Bristol was starting to worry that his shop’s productivity would take a dip if he didn’t find a replacement soon.
Waseleski was familiar with the Advanced Technology Center and the technology support we provide manufacturers and submitted a request for a Technology Demonstration Project. The projects are opportunities for companies to work with our engineering team and learn how industry 4.0 technologies can lead to improvements on the shop floor. The projects are available at no cost for small- or medium-sized Connecticut manufacturers and are part of Industry 4.0 for CT Manufacturing Supply Chain, an initiative funded by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development.
Soon Waseleski connected with our manufacturing applications engineer, David Morganson. We recently caught up with both to learn how the project went.
What problem were you facing?
Waseleski: We needed parts for a machine that were no longer available from the original manufacturer due to supply chain issues.
How was CCAT able to help?
Morganson: We did a high-rate additive manufacturing grant funded project for Bill. His team shipped an example part off the right side of the machine. I scanned it, reversed engineered and mirrored it into a left side part. Bill had a blueprint available to make sure the bolt locations were exact. The part was printed in ASA, an engineered polymer, on our Stratasys F370, a 3D printer we acquired through CATI.
What were the results?
Waseleski: Excellent! The parts fit perfectly and turnaround was quick. The CCAT team was extremely easy to work with, understood the request, and was very accommodating.
Morganson: Total turnaround time starting when we got the part to scan and ending when Bill had the parts in his hands was about a week. This is roughly the same amount of time it would take if there were not a supply issue and he had ordered the parts from the manufacturer. CCAT’s capabilities made the supply chain crisis almost a nonfactor. Bill has parts for both sides of his machine now and should be up and running smoothly with high-quality, safe equipment.
It’s a great example of how these technology project grants keep Connecticut manufacturing running.
What led you to manufacturing?
Waseleski: I was born into it. My father started as a toolmaker at Connecticut Spring when he got out of the navy (WWII). He always made a good salary and provided very well for our family. I was encouraged to pursue a career in manufacturing. Manufacturing springs was a common conversation. My two uncles and grandmother were also employed by manufacturers.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in a career in manufacturing?
Waseleski: I don’t want to discourage anyone from getting a college education. But throughout my father’s career, before we started Century Spring together in 1976, he always earned more as a toolmaker than the engineers at the companies where he worked. My father was never unemployed and could work as many hours as he desired.
Morganson: Visit a manufacturing company and talk to people in the industry like Bill. I really enjoyed touring Century Spring Manufacturing. Bill was so generous with his time and knowledge. He has a wealth of knowledge about his town and the history of manufacturing there. I was blown away by how successful the business is and how they have embraced technology and grown.
Industry 4.0 Technology Projects
If you’re a Connecticut small- or medium-sized manufacturer, CCAT can work with you and your team on a technology project, or demonstrate how industry 4.0 technologies — IIot, big data & analytics (model based definition), additive manufacturing, and automation — can lead to improvements on your shop floor.
Learn more about technology projects, and Connecticut’s Industry 4.0 for CT Manufacturing Supply Chain program, here.
This is a no-cost program funded by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development and established to improve the global competitiveness of the state’s supply chain. Take advantage by applying before April 30, 2023.