Friday, December 16, 2016

Coil-fed laser table - NOT the stuff of wizardry.

Coil-fed laser tables -  NOT the stuff of wizardry.

Here at Feed Lease, we’re big fans of the new coil-fed laser tables.

But all the hoopla surrounding them as this new year of 2017 approaches has people believing they’re the greatest thing conjured up since sliced bread.

Yeah sure, a coil-fed laser table could cut through a loaf of bread. But the reality is, coil-fed laser tables are not the love child creation of magical sorcery.

The coil-fed portion is the same…
They operate on the same technology that has existed on traditional coil-fed stamping presses for decades.

And that’s why we like them so much. They’re like family. The newest addition to the family. Take a look at one and you’ll see.

They resemble a traditional blanking line, right down to the coil reels, precision straighteners and feed units. And they run on consistent cycle times with automatic feed up. (They’re so darn cute at this age.)

Nothing new or magical there.

The biggest advantage of these tables is they allow for greater efficiency on low volume production jobs. We can feed a continuous strip through the machine to lessen sheet handling time and more effectively nest parts to get more out of a sheet.

All of this translates to FAR LESS waste. It also means we increase production capability.

Ours settled right into the family without so much as a fuss. And the benefits of coil feeding your laser table for smaller production jobs are:

     Lower cost per part (no dies or die maintenance)
     Optimized part nesting resulting in less scrap
     Ability to immediately change part geometry vs. hard tooling die
     Flexibility in production, blanks or sheared parts
     Quick change over from part to part with the push of a button

What’s essentially happening is that we’re using the same equipment we’ve always used, but just applying it to different applications.

As for the larger production jobs, we’re leaving those to our stamping presses - our big boys. And we’re as proud of them as ever.

Friday, November 11, 2016

At FABTECH, What’s Old Is New Again

It’s November and we all know what that means.

Well, yeah, Thanksgiving. There’s that.

But for those of us at Feed Lease, it means that FABTECH is quickly approaching. November 16th-18th, to be exact. And for that, we’re thankful. So we’ll soon be packing our bags and heading to Las Vegas for a good time. Metal forming style.

FABTECH is one of PMA’s biggest shows of the year. In essence, it’s the place to be noticed. It’s also NOT the place to be noticed for being absent. Not cool. But we have many other reasons for attending, including reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and meeting prospective clients. Staying in the know with (and ideally out ahead of) new technology is also big on our list of reasons.

Still, in these days of rapidly advancing technology, there’s something to be said for “older” technology that continues to stand the test of time. (Like the bread slicer. One of the greatest things since… sliced bread.)

Take our Gemini 30K with heat shield technology, for example. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The Gemini 30K is a complete line built specifically for heat shield applications. The advantage of this line is its ability to run two layers of different materials simultaneously. Before the Gemini 30K, manufacturing double layered heat shields was more challenging, not to mention expensive. It was simply not cost effective to produce single layers and then put them together after the fact.

So our engineers and designers came up with an effective way to deal with problem. They designed the line with two coil reels at the back end that hold the separate coils and each one is pulled off the straightener and then fed into the press at the same time. But it’s also versatile enough to run as a single reel.

This is where the new technology comes in.

When a company in the automotive industry came to us with the request for a design that had triple layering capability, we said, “Yeah. Okay.” (The encounter was more elaborate than that, but you get the point: Feed Lease was ready to take it on.)

Our solution was a servo grip feed that acts as a component of the Gemini 30K. The option and ability to add that third layer was revolutionary in the field of heat shield technology. It was also essential to the automotive industry in the evolution of their own technology. The company has found so much success with this new line that we’re already busy building the next one they’ve ordered. And they’ve got plans for a couple more next year. (Twins!). They’re even in negotiations for additional duplicate lines for other facilities internationally.

So it looks like we’re going to be busy. That’s the way we like it, though. Because at Feed Lease, we’ll always pursue the best solution, not just the easiest.  And we’ll continue to do it with success.

Visit us at our booth at FABTECH to see how we’re making the old new again with our latest servo grip feed. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Feed Lease and PMA: Straight Outta Nashville

When is the last time you found yourself in the midst of a community of metal forming engineers and technicians just having a good old time? You might be saying never. For Feed Lease though, it was October 5th and 6th, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

If you’re envisioning us kicking up our boots, eating barbecue and listening to honky tonk, you’re not quite there. (That came later.)

We were actually attending the PMA Servo Press Technology Experience. And the experience was great. We knew it would be though. That’s why we had a table display there and were proud to sponsor the event.

Here’s a play by play of what we gained at the conference:

-  Information about the most recent state-of-the-art servo technology used in presses, transfer systems, coil-feed lines and more. 
-  Technical presentations and case studies that demonstrated how modern servo-based equipment can lead to improved productivity and quality.
-  Networking with industry thought leaders to gain insight into how this technology is leading the evolution of the industry and where it’s headed.
-  Education on transfer systems, coil-feed lines and other servo-based technology that currently exists in pressrooms and how they work together with press feeds to increase performance and efficiency.
-  Knowledge from the experts, including press control manufacturers, servo press manufacturers and transfer system manufacturers.

As you may know, the PMA (Precision Metalforming Association) is a full-service trade association representing the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. PMA is nearly 900 members strong and includes suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. 

But more than that, PMA is also the linchpin of the metal forming industry community - offering a regular menu of events, seminars and conferences throughout the year to draw a bunch of like-minded folks together who normally only see one another in passing on a busy factory floor. If they see each other at all.

Coming together this way helps us to stay abreast of advancements in other technologies as they relate to servo press technology and affords us the opportunity to talk about such advancements face to face with the manufacturers.

So what’s next for Feed Lease? We’re heading to Las Vegas, Nevada, November 16-18 for the same reason everyone hits Vegas - to have a good time.

In our case, the good time will be at FABTECH, PMA’s big show of the year. Look for us at booth #15055, where we’ll be showcasing servo driven grip feeds in heat shield manufacturing applications, advancements in servo controls, and the exciting technology behind coil fed laser tables. We’ll also be looking to make connections with those who want to coil feed servo presses because at Feed Lease, we have the experience, the knowledge and we fully understand the application.

See you there…?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Feed Lease Offers A 24/7 Hotline for the Health of Your Equipment

You’re not a banker. You don’t close shop at 5pm. Neither do we.

Your factory floor is a 24/7 operation. And because of this, Feed Lease phone support is available any time of the day, any day of the year.

Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. We’re not sure who Murphy is, but he’s right. And it seems more often than not, when that something goes wrong, it’s usually at the worst possible time.

That’s when you get on the horn with Feed Lease. 

Go ahead. Our technicians aren’t going to think horrible thoughts or cast disparaging looks at one another when you call us at 3:24AM. In fact, our 24/7 technical support is happy to help. (Don’t worry; it’s not the annoying “happy morning person” kind of happy.)

We’re happy because we want to help. And we know the importance of being proactive in minimizing downtime.

For example, say the heavy-duty peeler/threader/hold-down arm on your straightener stops peeling. Or threading. Or holding down. Maybe all three. You get the point. Bottom line, you’re in a bind. You’ve got a job that requires this specific part and you can’t afford the downtime. Even in the middle of the night.

A Feed Lease phone support technician will talk you through the troubleshooting process, help you to pinpoint the problem and possibly even get you back up and running. But even if the problem requires a mechanic to come to your factory floor the next day, all of the time draining guesswork is now out of the way and the technician can get straight to work.

Plus, you can be sure that any replacement parts will be manufacturer original components and will meet all of the specifications of the original design, so they’re bound to keep working. 

Regardless of what Murphy says.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Feed Lease Service Contract - Like A Check-Up, Only Better

As we age, we become more seasoned.

That’s just a nicer way of saying that over time our bodies start speaking to us in different ways. In fact, if we don’t pay attention to them, they just plain start talking back. And we don’t always like or even understand what they’re saying.

Your Feed Lease machinery is no different. And while it doesn’t feel pain or forget where it left its reading glasses, it can encounter problems or difficulties that come over time from use. You don’t want issues with your machinery any more than you want a constant headache. And a headache is just what you’ll get if your equipment goes down.

That’s where our service contract comes in.

It’s like visiting the doctor. Except in this case, the doctor comes to you. And the doctors are actually certified technicians dispatched to your factory floor to perform a thorough once-over on your equipment.

Another difference, Feed Lease technicians know your equipment because Feed Lease made the equipment.

Here’s how it works:

  • Appointments are scheduled two weeks in advance to get access to equipment. These appointments can be set up quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Just like a check-up.

  • Technicians will check the important aspects of the lubrication, electrical and operational systems to ensure that all are operating to factory specifications. They will perform a thorough inspection of the following:
  • Hydraulic system
  • Lubrication system
  • Loop control system
  • Air pressure settings
  • Drive parameters
  • Drive belts and chains
  • Sprockets
  • Tension controls
  • Braces
  • Overall functionality and efficiency 
  • Upon reviewing the equipment, technicians will provide any needed maintenance on machines, utilizing only OEM parts. They’re also more than happy to answer any questions you may have. 

The service contract is the ideal solution for busy factory floors; serving as an assist to in-house maintenance so they’re free to take care of other pressing matters. The bottom line result, an increase to your equipment’s uptime, while minimizing any downtime.

Now if only there were a doctor who could offer the same service.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Feed Lease Machine Inspection Is Like A House Inspection, Without All The Stress

If you’ve ever gone through the process of buying a home, you likely remember the inspection. There was so much depending on that inspection.

The same can be said for inspecting your machinery.

After all, your machinery is the heart of your business.

You don’t want something gumming up the works, much in the same way you don’t want to find black mold in your basement. Or squirrels eating your electrical wiring.

And you certainly don’t want to wait until that heartbeat stops, right in the middle of a big project or a busy day. Or ever, really.

It all starts with a call from you.

There could be any number of scenarios:
-You have a big job coming up and you want to be sure your machinery is in top running shape.
-Your maintenance department is overloaded and you need assurance that your machinery is operating at optimal performance.
-You’ve had the machine for a certain amount of time and you just want it to give it the once (or twice) over.
-You like your Feed Lease service technician and want to forge a friendship with more bonding power than a Facebook friendship.

The reasons aren’t important.

Once you make the call, a Feed Lease service technician is dispatched to your site. Wherever you are. Whatever the machinery - even someone else’s. We’re on it.

Our technician will determine what, if anything, from a maintenance or repair standpoint will be required. This could be done on a select line basis or for the entire facility - based on your needs.

The technician will then loop back to Feed Lease with a fully documented report of what was found (hopefully no squirrels) and recommendations will be made to you based on these findings.

And that’s it.

It’s way easier than a home inspection. But every bit as important. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

What To Do When Your Roll Feed Gets Old And Cranky? Consider A Feed Lease Servo Retro Fit.

Just like people, your roll feed ages over time. And given the tough and demanding environment where they “live,” it’s no surprise that with all that wear and tear, they don’t age gracefully. Even if they did, the electronic controls are only supported for about ten years before they become obsolete (which, incidentally, is far better than can be said for that iPhone or smart phone in your bag). What to do?

This is where a Feed Lease Servo Retro Fit comes into play.

So it’s the middle of the afternoon and your roll feed starts acting funny. Or it stops acting altogether. Either way, you’re in a jam.

You try to patch it up. Again. And why not? It worked the last two times. But this time, it doesn’t.

Now you’re left wondering, Is it the motor? The controls? Something else?
Enter Feed Lease.

A trained, professional technician will come to your rescue - minus the spandex and cape, of course. The technician will perform an onsite evaluation right there on your machine floor to determine if your issue can be fixed with a servo retro fit. They often can, with the drive being sized to your specifications to meet the needs of your old machine as it was originally built.

And if it can’t be fixed with a retro fit, or doing so is not the best economical choice in the long run, you’ll be given other options to fit your needs.

But what if my equipment is not from Feed Lease?

No problem. We’re all about what we call equal opportunity repairing.

So if it’s old and cranky and in need of help, we don’t care where you got it. We’ll help you bring it, and your factory floor, back up to speed.

Now if only it were that easy for people.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Feed Lease Full Installation Process Includes Confidence At No Extra Cost

Picture it.

A brand spankin’ new Feed Lease press line. Just installed. It’s a sight to behold.

And soon, you’re remembering with fondness the process to get this piece of equipment all the way from concept to factory floor. (Go ahead. Insert flashback scenario and time traveling music here.) It went something like this:

1. You chose Feed Lease.

You heard about their stellar customer service and commitment to work with you through the entire installation process. You heard that they’d provide turn-key if needed, including trucking, rigging on sites, locating the equipment with the possibility of outside contractors, and supervision of the entire process, as well as training.

So kudos on that decision. Good move.

2. You placed your order.

You were able to do this with confidence, knowing that the dedicated and factory-trained technicians at Feed Lease would build your line to your specifications and test everything to be sure it was all in top running condition.

3. You waited eagerly for its arrival like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.

Well, that might be an exaggeration.

But it was a good feeling when the equipment showed up on the truck, the riggers off-loaded it onto your factory floor, put it in place, then leveled it, anchored it and aligned it with lasers. (Nothing space-age here; lasers are just the most accurate and precise way to do alignment these days.)

4. You worked with the friendly technicians from Feed Lease in coordinating final interconnections.  

Once those interconnections were coordinated (electric, pneumatic, etc.) you looked on as the technicians powered up and tested the system, loaded material into the machine, then ran it and tested it.

This is when it started to feel REAL.

5. You were wondering if your in-house technicians and operators would be up for the challenge of this new machinery.

You didn’t need to worry though.

Once initial installation was done, Feed Lease happily worked with your operators and maintenance people to go through the process of proper operations, function, adjustments, various features of the equipment and how to make those adjustments.

They also worked with each individual group to target their needs. For example, with the maintenance personnel, they walked through pieces of the equipment pointing out areas that pertain to them specifically, like filters and lubrication.

After that, you and others in your company may or may not have high-fived the techs. They’re just that friendly.

More than satisfied with the prompt and courteous service and the professional manner of the service techs, you knew the time had come to bid them farewell.

But wait.

That wasn’t the end of your story.

Because at Feed Lease, out of sight is not out of mind.

After the installation process was physically complete, you later received an owner’s manual for your equipment.


You’ve never heard of any of their competition offering such a thing.

And here is what was contained in that manual:

A detailed explanation of the equipment
Safety warnings and recommendations
Installation guidelines and recommendations
Specific instructional documents regarding operation and functions of various features of the     machines
Recommended preventative maintenance
Complete parts list
Recommended spare parts list
Assembly drawings with parts lists
Hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic schematics and parts list
Troubleshooting guide

This wasn’t some flimsy little number written in six different languages with confusing illustrations either.

Feed Lease spent three years putting together these manuals with controls engineering professionals providing proper documents and drawings. And there is one specific manual for each specific machine.

Feed Lease feels there can never be too much information as far as operational procedures.

So with your brand new equipment and that operator’s manual in hand, you feel confident that you’ll have your new press line for a long time to come.

And Feed Lease is confident too.

Great job.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

At Feed Lease, Nothing Stamps Out The Importance Of Customer Service

When you take the step to purchase metal stamping equipment, you’re making an investment in the future of your company. So of course you want the peace of mind that the entire process, from placing your order to full operation on the factory floor, goes as smoothly as possible.

We get this.

That’s why we place the same premium on constructing quality machinery and components as we do on customer service.

And frankly, we just plain like the opportunity to build relationships with customers and help them improve their operations.

It all starts with dedicated, trained and qualified service technicians.

Our factory trained service technicians are one of a kind.

They understand not only the installation process and proper functionality of each piece, but are also able to troubleshoot if there’s a problem. They also have comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the area of the machinery and controls.

To put it in simple terms, they understand the application of our equipment.

Yeah, sure there are people who can do installs. But you want more than just someone going through the motions. Especially if they don’t understand how the specific equipment was designed to be used because then they won’t be able to explain it to anybody else.

And when it comes to explaining the equipment to anybody else, our technicians are top of line. Beyond just knowing their stuff, they’re patient, respectful and kind. We expect as much. And so should you. Add to that the value of their being able to handle stressful situations because, well, let’s face it, things don’t always go as smoothly as planned. 

They also understand urgency and the importance of time, so they won’t waste yours.

The bottom line, proper training ensures a smooth launch, leading to an effective and efficient system - which is what you’re really purchasing.

Speaking of a smooth launch, Feed Lease is with you through the entire installation process.


Our start-up process insures that everything is operating correctly and as designed. After all, proper installation is crucial for equipment to operate accurately and effectively.

And we can provide the whole package including delivery, laser alignment, components, rigging, pneumatics, electrical, testing and troubleshooting.

Feed Lease’s customers range from metal stampers with a few small presses to larger tier-one and -two stampers with multiple presses spread out over many facilities. So whether it’s your first or your seventy-first machine, we provide the same attention and care to getting you up and running.

And once you’re set to go, you’ll receive an owner’s manual.

Our competition can’t say that.

We spent years generating these owner manuals, working with a collective of highly experienced engineers, technicians and other specialists to get the exact specifications as they apply to each individual machine.

After all, don’t you want the full return on your investment?

We’re committed to getting you that return faster.

And we’ll do it with a smile.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Shankshot Redemption

Your friends and business partners at Feed Lease will be attending this year’s Annual PMA Golf Outings in Grand Haven, MI on June 13 and in Cleveland on June 16. We’d love to see you there to find out what’s new with you, hear what’s going on with us, play some golf and basically, socialize. It doesn’t matter how well we play. For us, it’s refreshing and rejuvenating just to get out from behind our desks and away from the shop for a minute.

Of course, if we’re being honest, we know we’re not totally getting away. Business will undoubtedly sneak onto the links – it always has and always will. Doing business on the golf course may be a tired stereotype, but it still happens. And as well it should. Golf provides the perfect atmosphere for business communication, decision making and selling.

First, since it’s not likely anyone on your foursome is a scratch golfer, there will be a fair amount of shanking, slicing and hooking from everyone. Golf has a way, sometimes a very cruel way, of leveling the playing field. And in fact, the hillier and more undulating the course, the more level that playing field becomes.

Suddenly, that competitor CEO isn’t such an impenetrable force. He or she is just like me, wandering around the rough trying to find my ball. There is common ground to be found at a golf outing. Back in business, our relationship may be ‘them’ versus ‘us.’ But on the golf course, it’s both of us versus little white dimpled balls and a holes in the ground.

On the course, dare I say, we’re partners. We’re even friends. Like a bunch of kids playing in a sandbox. Well, hopefully not too many of the sandboxes.

Everything you encounter in business, you’ll encounter at a golf outing. There’s a lot of planning, a lot of time spent lining things up. Both settings present possibilities for hope, success, disappointment and immense satisfaction. Just like in business, there are times on the course when you just have to survive a hole. You have to play through the failure. You get all your ducks in a row, you take your shot, and for some unknown reason, you end up hitting one of the ducks.

Or worse, a duck picks up the ball and walks away with it. That happens all the time on golf courses and in board rooms.

In the end, though, golf outings like the Annual PMA Golf Outings are all about the golf, recreation, getting out into nature, beer carts, steak dinners, door prizes and, under the best possible playing conditions, getting commitments for future orders.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Do Your Coils Need To Be Cradled?

What’s old is new again. Coil cradles are making a big comeback these days. But here at Feed Lease, they never went away. We’ve been building the kings of coil containment with rugged, heavy-duty steel construction and hardened nest rolls all along, although in recent years they’ve been upgraded and refined with enhanced features. 

Coil cradles don’t get promoted as much, but there are several benefits to choosing them over more conventional coil-reel-based lines. They are generally less expensive and, depending on the application, cradles can be a more effective and efficient way to handle thicker materials since they are ideal for thicknesses between .060 inches and .75 inches, including high strength materials. That also makes them particularly useful for fineblanking applications. 

Cradles may have you thinking of babies rocking, but there’s nothing delicate about Feed Lease coil cradles. They can handle coil weights ranging from 4,000 to 60,000 pounds, and widths from two inches to 84 inches. Surely, those material capacities can satisfy almost any application.

Coil cradles are a good choice because they will generally require less floor space than a conventional feeding system. They also offer excellent containment as materials stay within the confines of the entire system.

Coil cradles are simple to operate; so less-experienced people can work the machine. That’s important with employee turnover and rising labor costs.

Today, Feed Lease coil cradles feature AC variable frequency drives that provide automatic variable payout speeds and inside plates that are independently adjustable to handle a variety of widths. Our cradles are also available with inline pinch rolls or powered straighteners; curved material deflectors for loop confinement, flip-open chutes for loading and a peeler/debender to peel the leading edge and backbend for threading.

So, are you ready to take a step back in history to save money and floor space? Give us a call at 248-377-0000 and we’ll get your coils cradled asap.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Congratulations! It's an ERP!

coil handling equipment, decoiler, uncoiler, coil cradles, upender,

We adopted an enterprise resource planning software package (ERP) at Feed Lease. Perhaps “given birth to” the software is a better description since we felt like we were going through contractions, hyperventilating and feeling an intense pressure to push during its early installation. 

But now that our baby is mostly up and running, we are experiencing some of the joys ERP’s bring to businesses. Still, this whole process of transforming our business to operate at a much higher level of efficiency has been our greatest undertaking. And while this transition will probably take 12-18 months to be fully realized, we all see it as very promising. (Twelve to 18 months...that’s when children start walking on their own, right?)

Just as the addition of a baby changes everything for parents, adjusting to our new ERP has been both challenging and eye-opening. How our business operated without an ERP was a lot like how the human body operates on junk food. It’ll run on junk food, but it won’t be as healthy, predictable and energized as it could be. You’ll never get peak performance from junk food. The ERP has allowed us to see that peak performance is well within our reach. And that’s very exciting for us.

The whole process isn’t without its trepidations. You have to expect some level of anxiety when you go from using a hammer and chisel to the space age overnight. We’re all electronic now. We’ve gone digital and now, nothing can happen unless it’s in the system. Deals we used to do over the phone have to be done within the ERP.  

But that inconvenience is way overshadowed by the information that is now instantly available at our fingertips. Data analysis, which we lagged in, is instantaneous.

If nothing else, and there is a ton of “else,” the ERP is letting us see down the road. Operating efficiencies, accuracy in reporting, data, cost breakdowns; this system will positively affect our entire processing system in terms of time and money. 

We understand there is little instant gratification in the early days of this 12-18 month implementation. We’re changing a lot of dirty diapers. But we have all the tools we need now for success and most of them were already a part of us: our strong, cohesive team. Our family. Who better to help us grow and nurture this ERP? 

You know, I just realized if you change the “E” in ERP to a “U,” you get something else newborns do. 

Looking for more information from Feed Lease? We are the experts in coil handling equipment, coil cradles and more. Visit our website today to learn about all the products and services we provide!