When Stairs was first established and until recent years, much of the actual production was done outside by sub-contractors. And so, much of the quality control was in the hands of our suppliers. It was soon realized that to guaranty high quality standards, not only must the final product – our pumps, meet those standards, but also all of the component parts that go into our pumps. And to control the quality of components better, it was decided to bring as much production as possible in-house. This was done gradually over a number of years so that now about 95% of all parts used to produce our pumps, are manufactured in-house. This also allows us to implement design changes very quickly.
Stairs has invested a great deal of money to acquire the machinery to accomplish this transformation.
And now, Stairs has full control over nearly all production functions from MOLD DESIGN – MOLD PRODUCTION – STAMPING – WELDING – CUTING – GRINDING – POLISHING – INJECTION MOLDING – ASSEMBLY – TESTING – PACKING. We can now more confidently guarantee the high quality of Stairs pumps.
COMPLETE PRODUCTION PROCESS
STAIRS’s own foundry
At STAIRS we have our own foundry for investment casting where we produce cast stainless steel parts for our pumps. The investment casting process provides incredible design flexibility, numerous material options and superior quality. Best of all, investment casting is typically more cost effective than traditional casting methods.
The precision casting process is controlled and monitored by a computerized quality control system.
Composite testing is done with a sophisticated spectrometer. Manual checks are conducted continually to further ensure quality.
Highest quality of stainless steel
The use of stainless steel plays a vital role in our production process. The stainless steel arrives in large rolls of sheet at our factory, is processed into parts and finally leaves our factory as high grade pumps. The quality of the stainless steel is critical in making the pumps highly reliable and durable. The quality of the steel is especially crucial in potable water and process water applications.
Taiwan is well known for its high quality of stainless steel. In our production process we use two different types of stainless steel: stainless steel AISI 304 and AISI 316. The second type is more corrosion resistant than the first and is therefore used for aggressive liquids and process water.
We use more than one thousand molds to produce parts for our pumps. The quality of the stamping molds is important in controlling the precision of the stampings and thus quality and consistency of the parts. CAD and CAM systems are used in controlling the design and manufacturing process that assures dimensional and component integrity.
Our skilled stainless steel welding technicians realize that every step in the process of stainless steel welding is important and contributes to the overall quality of the pumps.
Our trained welders know and appreciate the difficulty and complexity of stainless steel welding, allowing them to consistently achieve levels of quality that are hard to come by. Though stainless steel is a popular welding material, due to high thermal expansion, it is prone to warping and distortions during the welding process. Our welders pay close attention to the metal’s microstructure in order to prevent cracking and deformation, and due to this careful attention to detail, are able to achieve the high quality for which Stairs pumps are known.
To complement our highly skilled welding technicians, our welding department contains some of today’s most advanced welding equipment and instruments, giving our welders the tools and technology to help them consistently complete demanding welding projects.
We use the following welding methods to produce the highest quality of pump components.
TIG Welding -
TIG is short for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). In the TIG welding process, an arc is formed between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the metal being welded. Gas is fed through the torch to shield the electrode and molten weld pool. TIG is most commonly used in high quality, high precision, welding applications.
Plasma arc welding -
Plasma arc welding also uses a tungsten electrode but uses plasma gas to make the arc. The arc is more concentrated than the GTAW arc, making transverse control more critical and thus generally restricting the technique to a mechanized process. Because of its stable current, the method can be used on a wider range of material thicknesses than can the GTAW process, and furthermore, it is much faster.
Spot Welding -
Spot welding is a popular resistance welding method used to join overlapping metal sheets of up to 3 mm thick. Two electrodes are simultaneously used to clamp the metal sheets together and to pass current through the sheets. The advantages of the method include efficient energy use, limited work piece deformation, high production rates, easy automation, and no required filler materials. Weld strength is significantly lower than with other welding methods, making the process suitable for only certain applications.
Laser beam welding -
Laser beam welding employs a highly focused laser beam, which has a very high energy density, making deep weld penetration possible and minimizing the size of the weld area. The process is extremely fast, and is easily automated, making it very efficient.
Pump parts require strict tolerances for quality. In 2000, STAIRS made a conscious decision to move into manufacturing more of its own parts. This has resulted in a heavy investment program equipping the company with a range of CNC milling and turning machines. These machines complement and enhance the existing manual machines that equipped our machining department.
Our machine shop has full fledged inspection facilities including digital height gages, surface table and other inspection measuring & testing equipments.
In-house, as well as outside training programs for our technicians assure knowledgeable and highly qualified staff to complement our modern production equipment.
We have two assembly factories for industrial pumps and borehole submersible pumps. The complete assembly lines are designed for efficient assembly, calibration and testing. After a final inspection, pumps are then packed and prepared for shipment.
These streamlined production lines have allowed us to achieve cost savings by reducing manpower requirements, cycle times, reject rates and increasing overall efficiencies, while at the same time increasing production capacity and maintaining our high quality standards.