Assembly – Continuous Tilt Rod Linkage
- Turn-around time of around 6 working days
- Shutter panel parts are processed together for best efficiency instead of by customer order
- Wet-to-wet glue application adds additional strength
- Stabilouver acts as the tilt adjustment system
Brooke: Brant, since you process your styles to order, does it follow that you assemble to order, too?
Brant: That’s right.
Brooke: So what’s your turn-around time? How long does it take for an order to ship?
Brant: Right now 6 working days, but our long-term average is 7.
Brooke: That’s pretty fast! How do you keep it up?
Brant: We pre-manufacture components and moldings up to the point of reasonable inventory costs. Past that, we’re just very organized in the way we assemble.
Brooke: So the parts are always kept in stock?
Brant: Not always. About three-fourths of the parts will be on the shelf with a typical order being placed. But every night, our manufacturing software updates for what was sold the previous day, so at 6:30 the next morning, production has a list of the parts we’re missing.
Brooke: That’s fast but it must be pretty hard to cancel an order.
Brant: That’s true. It can be a problem if it’s going to leave us with over-stock.
Brooke: So how is your assembly organized?
Brant: We work in batches. But it’s important to say that we’re not a job shop.
Brooke: So explain that term, “job shop.”
Brant: Instead of keeping Mrs. Smith’s shutter panels separate from Mrs. Jones’, we’ll process the common parts together for best efficiency.
Brooke: So that’s how assembly is organized. Can we see an actual shutter panel being assembled?
Brant: Assembly begins with the styles and then the rails. Our joints are mortise and tenon, and the glue application is wet-to-wet.
Brooke: Why wet-to-wet?
Brant: By putting glue on the tenons also, we gain some additional strength up here at the rail’s shoulder area.
Brooke: What are those little grooves?
Brant: Those are glue relief veins. The glue that goes on the tenon gets squeezed up to the shoulder, and then it would squeeze out, but those veins trap the excess.
Brooke: Smart design!
Brant: It also makes it easier to train the assemblers.
Brooke: How long does that take?
Brant: A fully trained assembler takes 6 months.
Brooke: I see the louvers go in next.
Brant: After the louvers, the tilt rod goes in next. That’s the answer to the question you asked about — staples pulling out of the back of the tilt rod. We’ve eliminated that problem by using the linkage instead.
Brooke: The tilt rod is glued also.
Brant: Yes, the glue we use has an acid catalyst that bonds to the aluminum of the linkage rod, so it makes for a really strong tilt system.
Brooke: Tell me about the screws going in.
Brant: We have a proprietary assembly screw design, and we use it to reinforce the style of the rail’s joints and also at the Stabilouver (TM).
Brooke: What’s a stabilouver(TM)?
Brant: That’s what we call our tilt adjustment system. The middle louver in each group of louvers is drilled to receive our assembly screw. Then in the pivot hole on the style is one of these brass bushings, and that acts as a bearing point for axial tension from the screws.
Brooke: So the tilt action can be adjusted?
Brant: The bushings preset some tension, but typically at install, our customers add a little more by adjusting the screws.
Brooke: It looks like a well engineered and stout shutter panel!
Brant: One of our customers says they’re bullet proof, but I wouldn’t go that far!
Brooke: It’s all assembled so all that’s left is to ship it to the customer!