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The Summit: Retiring Part of Excel History

story summit parsons The Summit: Retiring Part of Excel HistoryIn 1991 Excel purchased a used 160” manual VTL, known as “The Summit” (manufactured in 1978). To date, this is the largest VTL that we have had at Excel. This machine was thought to be “intimidating;” in fact, the machine was first delivered and set by crane. Excel expanded its Main Shop, by building an addition around the machine. According to Manufacturing Manager, Jim Batterton, only eight machinists were skilled in operating the Summit. The machine was designed to manufacture large-scale parts for customers, such as saddle block bushings, TXU bushings and large washers. It was also commonly used as a “rougher” and aided the CB Shop when their workloads were heavy. The Summit played an important role for a photo shoot in 1999, also. At the time, the Parsons brothers (L to R: David, Rick and Doug) had become owners, after they purchased the company from their father, Merrill. They chose this machine as the backdrop for the photo shoot for a local publication, being that it was “the most impressive, nicest piece of equipment at Excel at that time.”

story summit kerley The Summit: Retiring Part of Excel HistoryCustomer Support Representative, Mark Bozarth recalls how intimidated he was to operate The Summit, especially after only being in the Machine Shop for just two weeks. Mark said it took extensive amounts of training to learn how to successfully operate it, and understanding how to measure the size of the different parts was difficult. He states, “I even drew pictures of the machine to help myself become familiar with the multiple levers affiliated with it.” He also described the difficulty and intensity involved in making metal changes. “We had to hand-shovel massive amounts of metal shavings and scrub the machine with a deck brush, to ensure there would be no possibility of cross-contamination.” Manufacturing Engineer, Chris Sydney, recalls a specific customer order that required modifications to be made to ensure successful machining. Chris commented, “The machine could swing somewhere around a 166” diameter part, and this particular customer order pushed the limit just a bit.” Chris added that large customer orders like this particular example required two or three machinists to team up in an effort to keep the Summit running 24 hours a day to ensure on-time delivery.

The Summit has been out of commission for about three years now. While this machine met Excel’s needs for over 20 years, the purchase of a newer CNC VTL allowed for improvements in safety, quality and efficiency. The manufacturing team still wanted to hold on to The Summit and see if there was a need for it, but in three years’ time there hasn’t been. Now it is currently being offered for sale through Perfection Machinery.

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