In social situations we’ll sometimes be asked “What does Wiley Metal do?” That can be a little surprising, disappointing even, because we’ve been in business over thirty years. In fairness though, our company name isn’t all that descriptive, so let’s talk about what it is we do at Wiley Metal.
Helping Customers Succeed
We wouldn’t have a business without customers. Our job, the one we’ve had since starting Wiley Metal, is to give them what they need, subject to the limitations of our skills and capabilities. In other words, we’re not going to help with bookkeeping services because we’re not experts. What we do know a lot about though is metal fabrication, so that’s what we provide for our customers.
Most of what we make is sold to folks who use our products to create their own products. By producing quality metal parts and accessories we help them create a better end product for their customers. Or as we like to say here, “We make our customer’s products better.”
The basic idea is that by making our customer’s products better they will be more successful, and that will rub off on us. We do this for trailer manufacturers, RV and Motorhome manufacturers, and we do it for utility truck manufacturers. We do it for many other customers too, but let’s return to utility trucks for while because they incorporate many examples of our fabrication work.
Parts for Utility Truck Manufacturers
Over the years we have produced, and still produce today, thousands of parts for utility truck manufacturers. We make man baskets, forkarms, boom covers, pivot tubes and more. We make simple parts like sign and cone holders and more sophisticated parts and accessories like toolboxes, platforms and tail shelves. Our Utility Trucks web page will give you a more complete sense of the range of parts we make.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this list of parts. We said some are simple, but as anyone who operates utility trucks knows, that’s not entirely accurate. A utility truck is the ultimate work truck. That’s all they do. Some are on the road 16 hours a day or more, in all kinds of conditions. Some of the components and assemblies are safety-critical; none are there for decoration. Even a part as “simple” as a cone holder can’t fail. It has to be rugged and durable, “built to last” you might say. We understand that and we design and manufacture accordingly.
Materials for Utility Truck Parts
For most of what we make steel is the default material. It’s not the only option though. We also fabricate parts from stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless is perhaps an obvious choice. It’s tough and corrosion-resistant and polishes up to a chrome-like shine. To customers that ask about the expense, we suggest they consider total lifetime cost, taking into account repainting and rust.
People have a different perception of aluminum. Like stainless, it has the advantage of corrosion-resistance but it’s seen as being soft, suitable only for decoration and not for structural applications.
While it’s a good choice for covers and skins it’s important to note that, pound-for-pound, aluminum is stronger than steel. We use a lot in sheet form but it’s at its most useful when extruded. Would it surprise you to learn that aluminum extrusion has a lot to offer utility truck manufacturers? Longevity and low weight make it a good choice for a host of applications.
Utility trucks vary a lot, depending on what they’ll be used for. We help manufacturers fit them out in ways that meet the needs of their customers. In you’re interested in learning about the most popular utility truck accessories, well we have a whole TikiTalk post about that.
Manufacturing Utility Truck Parts and Accessories
We take sheet, bar, tube and yes, extrusion and turn them into parts and accessories for the utility trucks our customers build. To do this we use metalworking machinery that ranges from turret punches and laser cutters to press brakes, saws and roll formers. Then, having made the components, we assemble them into finished parts. There’s usually welding involved, and to a lesser extent, rivets and fasteners. And then there’s finishing, either paint or powder coat, though for some stainless steel parts we just polish.
When volumes justify the time and effort we like to create manufacturing cells. Our man basket cell is a prime example. We’ve organized this on Lean principles which makes it efficient and helps ensure consistent quality. You can learn more about it by watching our video.
Let Us Help You
Hopefully, our passion for fabrication comes across as you read this. It’s about more than just making things though, we want to make things that help our customers be more successful. The way we see it, if we can help our customers be more successful we’ll be more more successful too. That’s why we like to say, “We make our customer’s products better.”
When you browse our website you’ll occasionally see buttons that say “Make me something like that” or “Talk to a family member”. We are serious about that. Whether you are currently a customer or not, let us know what you need. We will work hard to create just what you need to make your product better.
Have a subject you would like to see addressed on Tiki-Talk? Be sure to tell us about it, and thanks for reading!