Volume 5 | Issue 5 | Year 2002

When you take a look at what has been produced at Gilman Engineering and Manufacturing you might be skeptical that such a high amount of quality can be maintained at all levels. And you might add an exclamation point to this statement upon hearing that Gilman has seen the installation of more than 2,000 systems worldwide, the most in the industry.
But the culture at Gilman is centered on a foundation of continuous improvement, of checkpoints and balances at every step of the manufacturing and assembly process. Gilman engineers and manufactures custom assembly solutions and has successfully integrated transport, controls, robotics, vision inspection, gauging, calibration and information systems and has the industry’s most experienced and trained project managers.

Committed to its customers’ success, Gilman has gathered the assembly industry’s most knowledgeable work force to deliver assembly solutions with the lowest life cycle cost and shortest production lead time. Gilman’s systems integrate proven technologies and products into innovative solutions and the company achieves this consistently through a policy of continuous improvement of assembly systems through reliability and maintainability.

If it sounds like a lot of talk, take a look at Gilman’s past achievements such as receiving ISO 9001/QS 9000 tooling and equipment certification. Other distinctions include the prestigious Q1 award as well as Ford’s Reliability and Maintainability “Green” status. For DaimlerChrysler Corporation the company set the benchmark for assembly systems suppliers in all areas and from Caterpillar, the company became certified as a “Partner in Quality” supplier.

Gilman’s long history of inventiveness in engineering began in 1936 when George Gilman founded the company in his garage to build small lathes. Relocated to its present site in Janesville, Wis., in 1946, it remained Gilman Engineering and Manufacturing Co. until 1948 when it was purchased by Parker Pen Company to design and build automatic assembly systems. In 1963 Gilman was purchased by Gisholt of Madison and in 1966 that company was bought by and became a division of Giddings and Lewis of Fond du Lac, retaining its focus on assembly solutions. Today Gilman is aligned with Johann A. Krause Maschinenfabrik GmbH of Bremen, Germany, a Thyseen production systems company.

Gilman’s key products include custom, automated assembly equipment, modular and lean cells, manual stations, light duty and heavy duty transport systems and simultaneous engineering service. In addition, Gilman provides support for all assembly systems including Gilman/Gisholt balancers for the auto and vehicular markets as well as appliances, commercial and industrial applications.

Customer service is a priority at Gilman, where field service engineers have been strategically located to provide immediate support to their customer base. Gilman’s continued success also can be attributed to its constant emphasis on high quality and customer service. The company’s qualified suppliers also place the highest of priorities in customer service and quality. BTM Corporation, Steel Master Transfer Inc., and Aladdin Engineering and Manufacturing/ Aladco are included in this group of qualified suppliers.

Product Quality Lasts a Lifetime
Quality is the embedded component of every system built at Gilman. Utilizing its one-of-a-kind Assembly Life Cycle commitment, Gilman ensures each product will receive attention down to each tedious, minute detail from design and procurement through operation, maintenance, service and redeloyment. Whether requiring a high production, automated system or a flexible “lean” system, Gilman uses proven technology and customer specific inputs and priorities and combines these into a long-term assembly solution.

Gilman maximizes the content of standardized components and subassemblies that drive higher reliability and shorter lead times with a goal to create a balance between proven system designs and custom solutions. This allows the company to direct its engineering resources on those areas that require a customized solution, such as the end tooling, and also assures efforts are applied on true value-added activities.

Another priority at Gilman is Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) engineering. Gilman’s focus is to understand the assembly life cycle and to understand the needs of customers, delivering assembly solutions that have world-class reliability and maintainability at the lowest life cycle cost.

With its R&M Toolkit, the processes and procedures are in place to make this happen. Gilman’s R&M toolkit consists of analysis, testing, data collection and continuous improvement elements, all carried out by a well-trained and capable workforce. Since implementation of the QS 9000 TE supplement, Gilman prides itself with more than 7,000 training hours.

R&M analysis includes machinery failure mode and effects analysis, R&M predictions, and checklists to ensure safety, reliability and robust design. Testing includes gauge R&R, process capability and R&M verification. These processes apply dedicated testing and information gathering to demonstrate performance metrics such as process capability, availability and overall equipment effectiveness.

A World-Renowned Systems Provider
New at Gilman is its highly innovative “Intellimove” pick-and-place device. The Intellimove is programmable through a user-friendly pendant that also makes it incredibly easy to redeploy. The device demonstrates exceptional uptime and can operate at speeds of up to 10 feet per second in a work envelope measuring up to nine inches by 120 feet. One significant advantage of the Intellimove is its ability to have numerous “pick” and “place” positions.

Gilman has demonstrated its broad assembly expertise and knowledge with proven success in each of the following categories:
• Automotive body and frame: Gilman has more than 25 years’ experience in body and frame assembly systems for automobiles, sport utility vehicles and trucks. Solutions supplied to customers include body in white, underbodies, body sides, truck frames, sidebars and motor compartments. Gilman has designed and installed framing systems used in the Ford Explorer and Ranger, the Dodge Dakota and Durango and Chrysler Club Cab and Isuzu Rodeo vehicle frames.
• Automotive accessories and components: Gilman has designed and built assembly solutions for every type and size of accessory and component, including axles, alternators, wheel bearings, knuckles, steering gears and columns, corner assemblies, A/C compressors and turbo chargers. Gilman has produced more than 450 different models of high-velocity turbo chargers at a rate of 60 assemblies per hour. Every manual operation is error-proofed using state-of-the-art SmartFrames™; new products can be tested and verified in 48 hours with no disruption to throughput.
• Automotive engines and transmissions: Engine and transmission innovations include cylinder head final assembly, valve guides, keepers, lifters, seals and seats, bearing caps, cup plugs, leak testing, and transmission sub assemblies. Gilman’s cylinder head assembly systems deliver the highest output in the industry, producing 310 units per hour.
• Automotive fuel delivery and safety: Gilman has designed and installed assembly systems to produce master cylinders, anti-lock brake modules, air bag inflators, fuel injectors, fuel pumps and intake manifolds. Since the advent of air bags in the late 1980s, Gilman has built more than 200 machines to drill, dimple, prep, mig and plasma weld, load propellant, gas charge, vacuum leak, test weigh and final assemble thousands of inflators per hour.
• Consumer and appliance: Gilman’s history in the appliance industry began with white goods, including refrigerators and dishwashers. Its work was expanded to include assembly of such items as motors, pumps, transmissions, doors and cabinets, plastic liners, range controls and switches for washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, air conditioners and water filters.
• Industrial and commercial: Gilman applies technology to every assembly challenge and every solution requires a unique control system and level of information management to produce superior finished products. Some examples of solutions Gilman has supplied include airplane wing spars, thermostats, compressors, pressure gauges, sprinkler heads and doorknobs. Gilman’s wing spar system is 292 feet long, 25 feet wide and 22 feet high and assembles four spars at a time. Each 106-foot spar uses 5,100 rivets and bolts with the machine selecting the correct fastener from 70 different types/sizes based on location and spar thickness.
• Lean assembly solutions: Gilman’s lean assembly solutions integrate a number of lean manufacturing elements including continuous, one-piece flow; elimination of waste, flexibility, increase error-proofing, continuous improvement, increase space utilization, just-in-time production and value-added operator functions.

The Future Holds Promise
Gilman sees its continued success as the direct result of its commitment to research, leading-edge engineering, a “relentless dedication” to quality and the commitment to each customer’s success.

At Gilman, the bottom line is simple. A worldwide reputation for quality, customer satisfaction and system reliability has propelled Gilman into the forefront and will enable the company to take its vast expertise to new levels of achievement.

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