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The Form House?Tops at Tipping

February 1998
"We glue things to other things." That's how Plant Superintendent Joe Carr describes the services offered at The Form House, a finishing house situated in Bedford Park, IL.

Carr's description, while accurate, can be a tad misleading. True, The Form House specializes in affixing, but it's an affixer like no other. This company pushes its machinery—and people—to the hilt, coming up with solutions to seemingly impossible problems.

"We're proud of our creativity," says Vice President Roger Crisman.

Indeed, The Form House is stuck on creativity. The company's innovative approaches to tipping win it the jobs other finishers are afraid to touch.

Often, these jobs may be beyond the basic capabilities of the company's equipment. That doesn't stop The Form House. When a machine can't handle a finishing order, The Form House's mechanics—the employees responsible for setup—go into action.

One job, for example, involved gluing nickels onto paper. Since tippers don't exactly come standard with attachments for feeding coins, The Form House had to improvise. A mechanic bought some piping from a hardware store, rigged it to the tipper, then fed the nickels through the pipe.

Wired for Finishing
A little bit of creativity with baling wire has also helped The Form House complete some really tough jobs—such as a challenging order from IBM. The piece, an ad promoting a partnership between IBM and Nintendo, included self-adhesive stickers of Mario, the popular plumber protagonist who leaps his way through many of Nintendo's top videogames, and a wide-eyed star.

Mario and the star had to appear on different parts of the page, angled in different directions. A handwork job? Not at The Form House. Mechanics screwed in baling wire to set up a series of bumps and turns that allowed the tipper to put the stickers in the appropriate positions—in one pass.

Feeders laced with baling wire are not uncommon sights at The Form House. The company's massive 300,000-square-foot facility contains more than 100 machines, many of which, at any given time, sport wire twisted for specific jobs.

Unfortunately, baling wire can't solve every problem. Some jobs require a unique machine—something unlike anything currently available. That's when the The Form House calls on Minong, WI-based MachTronic Products, one of the company's biggest, and most valued, suppliers.

MachTronic builds the products that The Form House designs. While pondering new approaches, employees often get inspired, dreaming up new devices. MachTronic then brings these ideas to life, delivering the creations to the shop floor.


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