For more than 90 yrs, PWB Anchor has been supplying industry with a wide range of premium quality lifting equipment. Amongst these, are small and very large chain links. With a diameter up to 50 mm these large links can weigh upwards of 25 Kgs. So the flash welding machine that produces these links are critical to the operation. Matt Wagenfeld, the Production Manager at PWB Anchor, has had problems with this machine in the past. Many so called ‘engineers’ have tried and effectively ‘jerry built’ the equipment to keep going. But when it decided to stop completely, Matt had to find someone who could fix it right, once and for all.
Spotting an advert in Manufacture’s’ Monthly, he contacted Darius Kowalewski at Data Factory and explained the problem.
The complexity of the task was evident, in that the welder control system used both analogue and digital circuit logic interfaces, which were 45 yrs old. This makes the welding machine quite rare and there is little in depth knowledge of its workings and electronic componentry in Australia.
The circuit boards were taken back to Data Factory’s workshop and the ‘fix’ commenced. As these links are usually a major safety component, the welds have to be perfect, every time. As previous ‘fixes’ had involved altering many of the components and interfaces.
PWB Anchor manufacture a very large range of chain links
Australia Wide — 24 hr Service Available Call: 03 9874 7737 www.datafactory.com.au Servo Drives - Complex Electronic Boards - Repairs and Retrofitting - Control Systems
Data Factory had to not only find and repair the problem, but also to now return the circuit boards back to their original specifications. With this in place, PWB Anchor could finally re-use many of the original settings, something they had not really been able to do with the modifications that had been done.
In his opinion, “Darius certainly knows his stuff,” said Matt. “I really do consider his service to be of excellent value and more importantly, his expertise gives us greater confidence in the safety aspects of the manufacturing process now.” Matt continued, “In fact, he is also working on a number of other projects for us right now.”
With some 2,000 tonnes of chain being manufactured each year, this equipment is time critical to PWB Anchor’s output. By having Data Factory completing a professional repair, they will now reduce wastage and spoils, a financial benefit to the company.
Data Factory is a highly qualified electrical engineering workshop, capable to repairing and re building the most complex servo drives and circuit boards.
They are time conscious and deliver their services on a National level. With repairs to highly complex equipment, Data Factory understand that true customer service is required to deliver on time, every time.
PWB Anchor, Manager
Simon Leach has a large and complex job, as Electrical Services Coordinator for the Fairfax Media Group, Simon has to ensure that the printing presses are ready to run every day; after all, news is a time critical commodity. So when one of his machines starts to have an intermittent electrical fault, narrowed down to the servo drive, this becomes a real problem.
With around 9 machines to look after and being of an age when these parts start to break down, Simon is now ahead of the game.
When the first machine went down, a quick Google search led him to Datafactory. “After a short phone call, it was obvious he asked all the right questions and quickly got a grasp of the problem”, said Simon. “When the drive went down, it is a time consuming process to keep production moving”.
Simon was referring to Darius Kowalewski, the manager of Datafactory and a highly qualified electrical engineer.
A retro fit would have cost nearly half million dollars and the drives were originally from a small, obscure German company. “A new part, if we could have got one, would have set us back at least $10,000; so Datafactory being able to repair these for less than half that – was great value for money,” Simon said.
“I was impressed with Darius’ knowledge, as an electrical engineer, he knows what he is doing and that makes dealing with him, an easy job”. Simon Leach felt that he can now not have to worry about any of the other machines having their drivers go down; “We have Datafactory on our vendors list and a quick phone call is all we need to do. This was a complex digital drive and having someone around who can repair them quickly, makes me happy.”
“Importantly” he said, “Datafactory had the necessary testing equipment, as this was an intermittent fault, we needed the repaired units to be thoroughly tested under load”. This process helps to minimize the intermittent fault occurring again. As they have not o n l y t h e expertise, but also an in-depth understanding of how these servo drives were designed, the repair becomes more effective, with fewer failures and far less down time.
“As far as Fairfax Media is concerned, we will keep Datafactory on our short list so when the other machines start to fail, we know exactly where to go and what they can do for us.”
Datafactory is a highly qualified electrical engineering workshop, capable to repairing and rebuilding the most complex servo drives. They are time conscious and deliver their services on a National level.
Fairfax Media , Manager
With a backlog of jobs and a repair technician that had run out of answers after two full days on a recalcitrant CNC Router, small business operator Chris Branchfl ower was at his wits end. $5000 in work was at stake and at best it appeared he was up for $3500 for a new servo pack.
For a small business less than 3.5 years old, they were big fi gures.
“I was in a terrible position. I’ve got a technician I have used since day one and he’s extremely good but for this specifi c problem he had done as much as he could and after two days couldn’t get to the cause of the problem,” Chris recalled.
Chris started a Google search and a ring around. Some told him he would be down for two weeks, one factory recommended technician said he’d need a new servo pack and couldn’t guarantee a quick delivery.
Then typing “servo pack repair” into a web a search engine brought up Data Factory. A telephone call later and Chris was hotfooting it to Nunawading with the Yaskawa servo drive under his arm, hopeful that that the confi dent “we’re 85% sure we can fi x it” claim proved correct.
“Most others had been at a loss yet after my verbal description of the symptoms Data Factory’s Darius Kowalewski was sure he knew what the problem was and even started to describe how it would involve removing layers with lasers.
“When I arrived, he disassembled it while I was there, said it would require a bit more investigation and gave me a quote on the spot.
“Importantly, he was understanding that I needed it done straight away and undertook to do it urgently even though, as I later discovered, he had a number of very large jobs on and this was at best a diffi cult, complicated job for only a moderate sum of $1400,”Chris said.
The Yaskawa drive had come off a 1994 SEM CNC Router that had had a long hard life in the Mayton guitar factory before Chris picked it up at mate’s rates for his fl edgling business. The drive constituted part of an integrated control system so repair would prove complicated.
Ultimately Data Factory had to utilise a sophisticated Vision System high power microscope to examine the integration normally invisible to the human eye on what is a highly packed drive. Finally they had to retrofit fit it, redesigning parts for the very complex power supply system.
“Once I realised just how complicated and frustrating the job was, it became obvious why the Yaskawa recommended technician had tried to sell me a new servo pack. There was a significant amount of work involved.
“I guess a challenge is a challenge. Perhaps Darius is like me. There are jobs you shouldn’t take on but because of the nature of the beast you’re reluctant to say ‘no I can’t do this’.
“I was certainly very appreciative because I know he had a lot of work on.
“In our business we do a lot of work for architects, industrial designers, shop fitters and the like but we also do art installations that are quite complex one-offs. I just can’t say no even though I’d be making far more money cutting out large numbers of sheets,” Chris said.
Although Branchflowers CNC Routing and Design is a mere 3.5 years old, Chris has been involved with timber for more than 15 years and for some years worked for a company specialising in installations for such major events as the Melbourne Cup and the Grand Prix, ultimately ending up as one of their CNC machinists.
Since he established his own CNC business he has won a considerable amount of prestige work including displays for David Jones, stands for Veneziano Coffee and artworks that have been displayed in London.
Although he has a plan to upgrade his CNC machine for a new unit, he is quietly confident that having discovered the affordable expertise of Data factory he can at least keep his existing equipment in good order until the new machine is affordable.
“It’s definitely a relief as no small business can afford to constantly shell out for expensive replacement parts. It’s good to know that the repair option is there,” he said.
Textile giant Bekaert Australia has found the secret to keeping its 16 acre Dandenong site operational and repair costs to a minimum. It is to keep key suppliers such as Data Factory in the loop, treating owner Darius Kowalewski almost as a staff member.
The Dandenong site’s Production Manager, Cedric Deleu, makes no bones about the advantages and has many examples of the significant financial savings as well as the times Data Factory staff have literally saved the factory from shutting down.
“For a couple of years now we have had a policy that as soon as something goes wrong with a board or servo drive we call Darius, even if it is only to keep him up to date with what we have done. In this way he has a history of our machines and if he knows what has happened in the past he will be able to make better decisions when he is called in to fi x them,”Cedric said.
The first time the Data factory was called in by Bekaert it was to repair a Lenze drive, a job the company still does today. Prior to this the drives were replaced at a cost of $5000 each and a rate of one every four months, occasionally one every two months.
“Darius is able to repair them at a fraction of the cost,”Cedric said.
Cedric can even point to the day Darius became indispensable.
“We had a dying machine go down. The drive had failed and it contained a lot of information needed to run specific pumps etc. We were in a lot of trouble. We could have bought a new drive but the original machine manufacturer had gone out of business and we would have had to redesign the whole system. It would have taken weeks or even months, starting from scratch at a cost of more than $25,000 not to mention the cost of lost production.
“We sent the drive to Data Factory and a week later it was back in operation. Darius had also been able to retrieve all of the data so we were extremely lucky.”
Recently a failure in the company’s warped threatened to drag production to a halt as the warped manufactures the weave beans that hold the yarn at the heart of the manufacturing process. Service personnel called in in the first instance spent two days fruitlessly searching for the problem.
Once called in, a Data Factory technician took just two hours to trace the problem to a faulty electronic board that would cost $20,000 to replace and, like most equipment in the factory, had to be sourced from Germany, a process that would take a week.
Cedric said that the fact the majority of his equipment had been sourced from Germany means that if a part fails in the morning he loses a half day waiting for time zones so he can contact Germany and start the parts sourcing process.
“With Data Factory, if the part is fixable they can usually have it repaired or the process underway before Germany comes on line.
“When they say they can fix it, they deliver. We’ve had only good dealings with them and they’ve never let us down.
“We’ve dealt with other people in the past who say ‘I can fix it, I can fix it, give me one more day, give me one more day’ and then in the end they say that they can’t fix it.
When Darius says he can fix it he delivers. I can trust in his opinion and in the direction that he takes,”Cedric said.
For Bekaert, a lean and efficient just in time manufacturer, the Data Factory relationship has another plus, reducing the need to overstock on spares to eliminate the delivery delays ex-Germany.
“By using the Data factory we have been able to reduce our stock levels of electronic boards significantly which also represents a saving on capital.
“We’re n ot dealing with Darius because he’s a nice man. We deal with him because he’s saving us money.
“I’ve been at Bekaert in one capacity or another since 1992 and this Production Manager’s role that I’ve had for five years is a bit like a marriage... there are some good days and some not so good days.
“But the key to the job is a network of trustworthy suppliers like Darius, people that you can ring up and tell them which machine is playing up and know that they have such a depth of knowledge of your factory, equipment and processes that they’ll alrady be thinking through the problem while they are en-route.
“And I’ve got to take my hat off to Darius. Any time of the day or night I call him, he’s available and he doesn’t knock off at five oclock, but stays on with us until the problem’s solved,”Bekaert Australia, Designer