SEMA Member News - September/October 2010

Hellwig Updates and Expands Production Capabilities

  SEMA Member News - September/October 2010 - TORA 

TORA-member company Hellwig Products Inc. recently took delivery of several pieces of manufacturing equipment. Placement of the large machinery required specialized vehicles. Seen here are the new Cincinnati CNC press brake (on the flatbed trailer) and the Verson OBI punch press (tall, gray machine under the crane). Always looking to the future, Hellwig plans to use the sizable investment to enhance production output and quality control.  

Founded in 1946, Hellwig Products Inc. has been a successful manufacturer of springs and suspension components for the automotive aftermarket for more than 60 years. One key to the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) member company’s continued success is to always move forward and look to the future. It recently lived up to that philosophy by investing in several new pieces of manufacturing equipment in spite of the downturn in the economy. The investment will broaden and enhance Hellwig’s in-house production capabilities. The list of new equipment includes an induction heating system, a Verson CNC press brake, a CNC tube bender, a 105-ton Verson open back inclinable (OBI) punch press, a coordinate measuring machine, a high-speed belt sander and other equipment. As the accompanying photo illustrates, “move in” day this past spring required specialized cranes and lifting vehicles.

The new induction heating system will speed up the heating process for tubular and solid sway-bar forging and forming. It has the ability to heat solid bar stock to 2,000º in mere seconds as opposed to the natural gas furnaces previously used, which can take up to 10 minutes to heat the same material. Quicker and better controlled heating of the material will yield higher-quality finished products.

The CNC press brake from Cincinnati Inc. (the large green press seen in the photograph) has an automatic back top feature that will allow Hellwig to make precision bent brackets for products, such as sway-bar kits, air kits and helper-spring kits. The press brake will link to a computer-assisted design program to speed prototype and production work.

The Verson OBI punch press (the tall, gray piece of equipment seen under the crane in the photo) will provide additional tonnage to be used in the forming and forging of tubular sway bars. It will also provide greater manufacturing capability for a variety of components across all of Hellwig’s product lines.

The coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment used for part measurement and inspection. The CMM capabilities will allow Hellwig engineers to quickly interpret sway bar and other component designs to be programmed into the CNC tube bender and CNC press brake. The CMM will allow quicker turnaround times from design to production.

Specialized de-burring equipment will clean and machine imperfections away from manufactured parts, and the high-speed belt sander will provide touch-up capability on surface finishes and allow polishing of critical tolerance parts. The addition of a new powdercoating gun not only improves the output of the powdercoating system, but also allows production to alternate between colors with very little down time.

The large equipment was delivered this past spring.

TORA Welcomes Two New Select Committee Members

Along with returning incumbents Tom Brooks of Truckin’ Thunder, Bill Cole of Yankee Customs Inc, Fred Snow of Hella Lighting and Melanie White of Hellwig Products, the TORA membership elected two brand-new members to the Select Committee in June.

While new to the TORA Select Committee, David Crockett of Rolling Big Power is no rookie when it comes to SEMA involvement. He has been a SEMA member since 1990, a YEN member since 2000 and an TORA member since 2004. His other SEMA and council activities include YEN Select Committee membership from 2003–2006, Rep of the Year committee chair in 2003, WD of the Year committee chair in 2004, SEMA Young Executive of the Year in 2004 and Silent Auction task force chair in 2005.

“During my time on the TORA Select Committee, I want to focus on issues that improve the return on investment for TORA members attending the SEMA Show as well as what SEMA can do to help improve the light-truck accessory market and the challenges it is currently facing,” Crockett said. “I also believe that we as an organization need try to find ways to assist members in getting more customers in the stores, which ultimately helps everyone in our industry.”

The TORA Select Committee’s newest member, Isaac Ronquillo of Big Country/Go Rhino Products, said he believes that supporting SEMA’s councils is important to the success and growth of the industry. “It is through these councils that vitally important work is being done to address issues specific to the various niches that our association encompasses,” he said.

“Over the past 15 years I have had experience as a retailer and buyer as well as my current duties as a manufacturer calling on customers ranging from small jobbers to large distributors. Due to the multifaceted nature of my experience, I feel well qualified to bring a broad perspective that will benefit the council. As an automotive enthusiast, it is an honor and a privilege to serve this council as well as this industry that has provided so many opportunities for us all.”