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UEM Reduces Electrical Manufacturing Costs by 30 Percent

Electrical Assembly, Design Partnership with CBC Improves Manufacturing Supply Chain Throughput

"Carlton-Bates gives us peace of mind, knowing they handle everything – field support, sourcing, building, and testing all components before it ever leaves their facility. The comfort level of not having to spend our time dealing with each of these issues allows us to maximize our resources in other areas that we do best."
Kevin Sheldon, Sr. Buyer, UE Manufacturing

Staffing for Fluctuating Demand
For equipment manufacturers, the ebb and flow of demand can make it challenging to staff appropriately and continuously meet full production capacity. That was the challenge for Oklahoma City-based United Equipment Manufacturing (UEM), which makes equipment for the oilfield industry. This global supplier and manufacturer sought to add greater efficiency to its electrical assembly services.

"Keeping up with demand and on-time delivery is critical in our industry for success and our day-to-day operations," said Kevin Sheldon, Senior Buyer, UE Manufacturing. "Assembling everything in house, piece by piece, required a lot of manpower, from sourcing to building to testing."

Solving Production Bottlenecks
UEM's longtime parts supplier, Carlton-Bates (CBC), looked at the company's electrical manufacturing and identified opportunities to bring lean manufacturing to its supply chain. CBC offers 20 years of engineering expertise to help improve processes and products. From kitting to light assembly to complete redesigns, the CBC Assembled Solutions team offered a customized approach to solving UEM's production challenges.

"We were already buying a lot of our parts for builds from Carlton-Bates," said Kevin Sheldon, senior buyer, UE Manufacturing. "It was a hands-down decision for us to have CBC provide us a turnkey solution for assembly. CBC was a one-stop shop and eliminated the need for multiple POs, assembling each piece internally, and locating and keeping track of parts."

UEM turned to CBC for contract assembly of its gauge panel boxes – the visual indicator of temperature and flow pressure on fracturing trucks – reducing the company's labor costs and helping it keep pace with demand.

UEM Contracted CBC to Assemble Gauge Panel Boxes

From the gauge panel boxes, UEM expanded its relationship with CBC, relying on the Assembled Solutions team for nearly all the electrical assembly services for hundreds of vehicles annually. That allows the company to virtually eliminate its own onsite electrical shop. Instead, those team members have been reallocated to more core areas of the business.

UEM is also freed from sourcing parts and having to keep them on the books. With CBC electrical managing assembly, UEM dramatically consolidates its bill of materials, from up to 60 line items from multiple suppliers for one assembly to just one part number.

Design Innovation Benefits UEM, Customers
UEM also tapped into CBC's design expertise on a number of electrical components. CBC first brought its engineers to the table to redesign the gauge panel boxes for easier installation in the field. Engineers cleaned up the cable configuration, changed the hose assembly and added shock absorbers during manufacturing, freeing installers from having to do that on site.

Success with the gauge panel box opened the door for more design work with CBC. UEM counts on CBC as an integral part of its engineering team on every design and for their expertixe in electrical assembly services, helping improve current designs and innovate new ones.

When the opportunity arose, CBC engineers designed UEM's JBox from the ground up, replacing obsolete technology with new, innovative components that add efficiency. The JBox serves as the controller for temperature and pressure flow on trucks.

Working with one of its key vendors, industrial automation company Turck, CBC also helped design a control system that's part of every UEM vehicle today. With deep supplier relationships, such as that with Turck, CBC brings a brain trust well beyond its own engineering team.

Reducing Assembly by Two Days
Carlton-Bates adds value for UEM and its customers, from the drawing board to final assembly of the company's electrical components. Teaming with CBC for electrical assembly enabled UEM to the reduce electrical assembly time per truck, on average, from three days to six hours. That's two full days faster that the company can complete its fracturing trucks. In turn, UEM can handle more throughput and realize full production capacity, thereby increasing revenue.

In the first year with CBC managing a small amount of assembly, UEM cut its assembly costs by 10-15 percent – factoring in parts sourcing and labor. In year two, savings grew to approximately 30 percent. The relationship frees UEM from having to staff up and down as orders fluctuate, improves lean manufacturing in the supply chain, and allowed UEM to reallocate assembly team members to other parts of its operation.

"CBC provided us with value and in particular eliminated a big chunk of labor, from paperwork to assembly," Sheldon said.

As for design benefits, gauge panel boxes leave the warehouse more ready to install, eliminating in-field welding requirements, which cuts installation time by six to eight hours.

"Carlton-Bates gives us peace of mind, knowing they handle everything – field support, sourcing, building, and testing all components before it ever leaves their facility," Sheldon said. "The comfort level of not having to spend our time dealing with each of these issues allows us to maximize our resources in other areas that we do best."

Carlton-Bates Company has years of experience in electrical assembly services. Contact our sales team to learn how you can make your supply chain manufacturing operate leaner.