Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FACTORY TOUR!!!! The magical world of Plaques.

Since i made the jump to my new career in award components i've had trouble explaining what we make to people. It's not that i have trouble describing what we do, it's just that most people think of a trophy shop when i tell them that we manufacture plaques, trophy bases, etc... I've found that once people see the actual factory it helps them understand the scale of what we do. In a nutshell we are a manufacturer plaques and bases made out of MDF (medium density fiberboard) and covered with a foil (actually a mult layered paint that is applied with heat and pressure) to make the pieces look like differnt types of wood or marble or other colors. Half of our building is used for manufacturing and the other half is our warehouse where we inventory the stuff we manufacture along with other items that we offer in our catalog. (colored metal engraving stock, plastic figures, solid walnut items and other accessories used in the trade.) We try to offer all the pieces required to create the finished trophy or plaque.
Here are some pics from the factory:

Here is a view from outside of my office window. The factory is approx 80,000 sq. ft. half of which is shown here and the other half is the warehouse
this is a pic of the front and back(below) of our panel saw. This saw is programable to cut the desired size pieces out, and will cut 7 sheets of 5/8" MDF at a time.

Here are the CNC routers. Similar to CNC mills for metal working, these routers can do all sorts of cool things. Any shape we want, cut outs for pictures, fancy border work for perpetual plaques. We actually keep the programs pretty simple, but these things run everyday. Depending on how busy we are we run them 8 hours/12 hours/16 hours a day. Right now we are running 12 hours a day.this one just finished it's cycle...1 sheet of this plaque down...79 more to go. (there are 72 of this style plaque per sheet)
The machines in this photo are the edge foil, they take the plaque, shape the edge with a concave or bevel, sand it smooth and then apply the foil.

These plaques are waiting to be top foiled. Just like it sounds, foil is applied to the front and rear, then the plaques are boxes and taken over to the warehouse side for storage or shipment.

Here is a poor quality picture of the warehouse. You can see the back of my sister's minivan that is for sale...anyone needing a 2002 Caravan?

There ya have it. The Factory. I can't help ya with finished plaques, but i can get you the pieces.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What good are rules if even the enforcing body won't follow them?

I'm reading the headlines on CN this evening about the cycling team everyone loves to hate...Rock Racing and their troubles with the Tour of California. The UCI has a rule that says if you are actively being investigated and prosecuted for a doping offense you can't race. But apparently they have decided that isn't enough. It appears that if they even think someone might be involved but they don't have enough evidence to proceed with prosecuting them, that should be enough to ban them too. The TOC crowd has fallen in line with this. I could care less about botero or sevilla, but hamilton should be alowed to race. He was caught, prosecuted and has served his punishment. Regardless of whether he admitted to it or not. He has done his time and according to the rules should be able to race. If he is tied to puerto, that is old news, that just proves he did it and was caught. This crap about banning him forever is wrong. It seems like they are doing that anyway. I like watching pro racing, but this doping stuff makes it less and less desireable to follow. If you catch someone...great, convict him, suspend him and then after his suspension, let him race again if someone will hire him.

The tour of California organizers suck.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SNAP!!! And he's down!!!

The weather was great this weekend. Sunny and clear, altough the wind did pick up quite a bit on Sunday. I was able to ride both days, saturday on the mtn bike and sunday on the road bike. Both days i had a little mechanical trouble....maybe i'm not quite the mechanic i think i am. The mtn bike is just a learning curve thing, remembering how each different hub goes together and how to adjust the bearing. The road bike was a real surprise. I finished up my 3 hour ride on a loop from Jasper to ellijay and back on a relatively flat ride (there are no flat roads around here). I had just swiped my key card to open the gate into the apartment complex and i was rolling slowly when...SNAP!!.....BOOM!! i was on the ground. The bolt that held my seat on had broken. It was fortunate that it happened when i was barely moving...it could have been nasty. I had tightened the bolt last tuesday because my saddle felt loose. It didn't feel over tight, so i figured it just backed out a bit. Looking at the bolt now, it looks like the bolt had started to fail a long time ago, about halfway across the bolt the metal is discolored like it has been exposed to air for a long time, the second half is shiny from this recent break.

Now it's time to go through all the bikes and make sure everything looks good. And a lesson is learned, at least once a year, pull the stuff apart and check for cracks or problems.

You can thank me later for not posting a picture of my bruised behind.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pray for low airfare!!!

Everybody out there, put your hands together and pray to whomever or whatever you might pray to for airfares to drop.

You don't want poor little old me to be all alone on the roads of West Flanders with 18,000 waffle makers do ya??

I figure the Tour of Flanders will be good training for the Cohutta 100. I'm thinking about doing it. Maybe a couple of 100 mile races in a year will help me bring my time down.