Strick/Hynes project produces strength, savings

Dec. 1, 2002
WITH some help from Hynes Industries, the Strick Corp was successful in its bid to deliver a 53' dry freight semi trailer that's stronger and more cost-effective.

WITH some help from Hynes Industries, the Strick Corp was successful in its bid to deliver a 53' dry freight semi trailer that's stronger and more cost-effective.

Besides gaining a roof bow that Hynes says will strengthen the trailer roofs to stand up to increased loads from snow, ice, and normal wear and tear, Strick reduced its cost for purchased roof bows for trailers, each of which typically requires 27 roof bows.

“Over time, the customer gets greater value, which is a good thing,” says Steve Burns, Strick's vice president for materials. “It makes us more competitive.”

Based on the partnership agreement, Hynes' Roll Formed Products Division, based in Youngstown, Ohio, elected to absorb the cost of developing and making the necessary tooling and invest in a long-term relationship with Strick.

“One of the things that demonstrated Hynes' commitment to our company was their willingness to review the entire project, purchase the tooling, and bring their engineers and manufacturing people from Youngstown to our plant in Monroe,” Burns says.

How it happened

Hynes says the main reason why it was able to make a less costly bow — which is formed out of 16-gauge 80,000-lb minimum yield galvanized steel — is that Hynes' roll-forming division is under the same roof as its sister division, a steel service center stocking 33 million lb of steel. It also has 30 roll-forming lines and extensive experience with in-line and secondary punching, a big plus on the Strick project.

“It's a great advantage for them to be able to buy steel in larger quantities and not have to pay for an intermediate to process steel for them,” Burns said.

John Stanley, Hynes' chief engineer, says that his company was able to lower costs by reducing the cross-sectional area and by reducing the number of steps in the manufacturing process.

“We roll-formed the part to a developed sweep and cut it to length,” he says. “We then pressed the ends in a multi-station transfer die, which allowed us to increase the section modulus of the cross section at the stress concentration areas only — not throughout the length of the roof bow.”

Mike Giambattista, general manager of Hynes' Roll Formed Products, says an essential component of the success formula was ensuring consistency of the formed length, the preloaded part sweep, and the assembly hole positions.

“The transfer die eliminated several secondary operations and thus reduced the chance for operator error,” he said. “It also allowed for electronic inspection of the bows' position in the die by a series of sensors, thus ensuring that the parts critical to the quality dimensions complied with all the drawing specifications.”

Impact of tariff

Like most trailer manufacturers, Strick has been impacted by the steel tariff. Burns says it's an “emotional issue” because suppliers are raising their prices on all products, regardless of whether they involve a tariff.

“Everybody has raised their prices, so you can't just say, ‘I'm not going to buy from you anymore; I'm going to go buy from somebody else,’” he says. “I agree they needed to raise prices, but mills and service centers have taken advantage of it. That's the part that's bothersome. Mills have taken advantage of warehouses and processors. They've said, ‘That contract we had? It's no longer valid.’ And processors had to do the same to everybody else, or they had to eat it. Processors and OEMs probably absorbed it, for the most part. We have a philosophy that when we quote a price, we stand by it.”

Despite the tariff and the two-year doldrums in the industry, he says that Strick doubled its output in 2002.

“Business looks good going forward,” he says. “Prices are lagging behind, but that's typical. They always lag behind going up and don't go down as fast when it's going down. That's the nature of the business.”

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.