HIGH-TECH MESSAGE FROM A TECHNOLOGICAL LEADER — CHRIS ALSTON

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Chassisworks was the first to employ widespread use of CAD CAM technology in designing suspension components.  Here is their immensely popular No Fab front clip for first-gen Camaros.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT CHASSISWORKS

The last few years have seen big changes affect the national economy, business in California, and Chris Alston’s Chassisworks. Once again, our investment in technology — both on the factory floor and in our business systems — has been critical to this company’s continued success. We focused our attention internally on improving processes and workflow to streamline production procedures while further improving product quality. Additionally, we made a major investment in business systems in order to improve customer service and our ability to fulfill orders even more rapidly.

Chassisworks has always made the commitment to utilize the very best equipment and processes for the design, testing and manufacturing of our products. This is why Chassisworks components are the most-copied. Because Chassisworks has the most- advanced automated factory, ours is the only company able to produce state-of-the-art products at competitive prices. As you already know, there’s no need to buy inferior copies when you can afford the best!

Our ability to continuously invent and refine products is made possible by our in-house research-and-development center.  Because we actually install Chassisworks products on cars and trucks, we ensure that every part fits and works correctly before it’s offered to you. Besides inspiring fresh ideas, this hands-on process ensures a constant refinement of existing parts. It also gives Chassisworks the edge needed to prove just how easy it is for the home builder to install chassis and suspension products.  Our ever-growing NoFab line, featuring the enormously successful bolt-on front clips for Chevy IIs, has been expanded to include Camaro and Firebird front clips that are installed with ordinary hand tools — without welding. This is an example of how our technological advantage benefits our customers.

Around here, “state of the art” isn’t just a sales slogan. Rather, it represents millions of dollars invested in high-technology equipment. It stands for the thousands of hours devoted to getting it right, the first time. It means we have gone above and beyond what the other guy has done to make products both sophisticated and affordable. As this catalog goes to print, our all-new line of VariShock shock absorbers is in stock and ready for delivery. Designed, manufactured and assembled by us, VariShocks are the latest example of how Chassisworks constantly strives to develop revolutionary products —and why we lead the market to higher technology.

Because Chassisworks actually manufactures the majority of the parts on these pages, I’m proud to guide you on a pictorial tour of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Welcome to Chassisworks: The Home of Higher Technology.

– Chris Alston Chassisworks

 

 

A TOUR THROUGH THE HOME OF HIGHER TECHNOLOGY

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Let’s start with how we design and develop new products. Chassisworks owns five complete engineering workstations. In 1997, we upgraded our engineering-and-design department to Pro Engineer. This is the same workstation-based software utilized by the aircraft industry and Big Three automakers. It enables us to create three-dimensional, digital assemblies of a complete product — in its environment. Then, we can “fly through” the model to verify its form, fit and function. Our investment in computer-aided design goes far beyond what is commonly referred to as “CAD.”

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What does this mean for Chassisworks customers? It means we can design a product, model it, and check all structural aspects of size, fit and usability — before we cut even one piece of material. This exotic software enables Chassisworks to bring you a more effectively designed product — with proven performance — more quickly and less expensively than ever before. Of course, each new product will still be rigorously tested in the “real world.” However, by that point, its performance is virtually guaranteed. With these sophisticated engineering workstations, we not only design a product that kicks butt, like this ’67-69 Camaro No Fab bolt-on front clip; we can calculate the force behind it! There’s no other way to absolutely assure consistent quality and parts performance.

Numerous Chassisworks parts are produced entirely on our Mazak flexible manufacturing cells. These incredible machines represent a quantum leap in technology from the old-style CNC lathes used by many manufacturers. Each machine is a combination of two lathes and two mills, with automatic material loading and parts unloading. Many products, such as rod ends and clevises, require both milling and lathe work.  By combining both functions within a single machine and adding automatic material loading, the cycle time necessary to produce a part is greatly reduced.

Numerous Chassisworks parts are produced entirely on our Mazak flexible manufacturing cells. These incredible machines represent a quantum leap in technology from the old-style CNC lathes used by many manufacturers. 

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Many products, such as rod ends and clevises, require both milling and lathe work. By combining both functions within a single machine and adding automatic material loading, the cycle time necessary to produce a part is greatly reduced.

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Each machine is a combination of two lathes and two mills, with automatic material loading and unloading.

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Many people have wondered how a component as complex as our FAB9™ rearend housing can be priced so affordably. The “secret” is sophisticated manufacturing equipment such as this Amada Apellio combination of laser and hydraulic forming, complete with sheet loader.

All Chassisworks bent-tube products are created on one of two computer-controlled, mandrel tube benders. These machines utilize the latest technology in pressure die boost and assist, which pushes more material into the outer radius of the bend to greatly minimize tube thinning. Our mandrel-bent rails are the finest in the industry because of these machines and the specially designed tooling that we have developed. (Chris Alston pioneered mandrel-bent frame rails for drag racing, and has made a huge investment in their successful production.)

Chassisworks has invested in a sophisticated manufacturing process known as “swedging.” This machine allows us to expand the diameter of one tube to fit outside another piece of the same-OD tubing, like a sleeve. The expansion is achieved by applying multiple tons of pressure per inch on the end of the tube. This machine enables us to make those cool, slip-fit exhaust systems!

To further ensure the quality of the finished goods, our CNC bender is programmed directly from the CAD drawing. This bender is so sophisticated that programming is almost obsolete. We simply call up a drawing from our CAD software, and insert the correct length of tubing; the bender takes it from there. This allows us to make custom cages with just a few measurements from you.  The software then calculates all bends and degrees to produce exactly what your custom application needs.  Technology is certainly not wasted in our facility.

All Chassisworks bent-tube products are created on one of two computer-controlled, mandrel tube benders. These machines utilize the latest technology in pressure die boost and assist, which pushes more material into the outer radius of the bend to greatly minimize tube thinning. Our mandrel-bent rails are the finest in the industry because of these machines and the specially designed tooling that we have developed. (Chris Alston pioneered mandrel-bent frame rails for drag racing, and has made a huge investment in their successful production.)

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To further ensure the quality of the finished goods, our CNC bender is programmed directly from the CAD drawing. This bender is so sophisticated that programming is almost obsolete. We simply call up a drawing from our CAD software, and insert the correct length of tubing; the bender takes it from there. This allows us to make custom cages with just a few measurements from you. The software then calculates all bends and degrees to produce exactly what your custom application needs. Technology is certainly not wasted in our facility.

Chassisworks recently added computer laser cutting to its list of high-technology operations. This new- technology, hybrid-style laser cuts accurately enough   to produce quality bolt holes, unlike prior-generation machines. The laser cutter takes its drawings directly  from our software and positions them on the raw sheet to utilize 95 percent of the raw material. Moreover, our  vacuum loader enables this machine to be loaded and unloaded with minimal down time. Again, we pride ourselves on providing Chassisworks customers with the highest-quality parts at the lowest-possible prices.

Chassisworks recently added computer laser cutting to its list of high-technology operations. This new- technology, hybrid style laser cuts accurately enough
to produce quality bolt holes, unlike prior-generation machines. The laser cutter takes its drawings directly
from our software and positions them on the raw sheet to utilize 95 percent of the raw material. Moreover, our
vacuum loader enables this machine to be loaded and unloaded with minimal down time. Again, we pride ourselves on providing Chassisworks customers with the highest-quality parts at the lowest-possible prices.

 

Our 10-foot-long, 170-ton, computerized, nine-axis fabrication press features the latest in automation controls. This machine has nine programmable axis, which allow us to make even the most-complicated formed parts. Once a digital model of the formed part is downloaded, the control virtually programs itself.

 

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Many Chassisworks products are robot-welded.

 

Many Chassisworks products are robot-welded. This dual-station robot-welding cell’s simultaneous part rotation and robot movement provide optimum positioning of the work piece — resulting in the finest weld quality possible.

 This dual-station robot-welding cell’s simultaneous part rotation and robot movement provide optimum positioning of the work piece — resulting in the finest weld quality possible.

We also manufacture parts on a Mazak Pallatech machining center — the very first of these huge machines to be delivered in America.  Its enormous work envelope enables us to manufacture more parts per cycle. With 12 tables and 120 different tools available, we can machine large numbers of parts with no setup time. (Its 50-horsepower, 15,000-rpm spindle really makes the chips fly!) This machine enables us to produce those high-quality, low-cost FAB9™ housings.

We also manufacture parts on a Mazak Pallatech machining center — the very first of these huge machines to be delivered in America. Its enormous work envelope enables us to manufacture more parts per cycle. With 12 tables and 120 different tools available, we can machine large numbers of parts with no setup time. (Its 50-horsepower, 15,000-rpm spindle really makes the chips fly!) This machine enables us to produce those high-quality, low-cost FAB9™ housings.

Our investment in technology doesn’t stop here. As many of you have experienced, chromed parts can easily chip and peel. Chassisworks was not at all satisfied with the quality of chrome available. We looked at many alternatives and methods for preventing flaking and peeling. After much investigation, it was determined that polishing a tube prior to manufacture and chroming would result in a premium-quality finish. Chassisworks did not delay; we went right to work purchasing, installing and utilizing a tube-polishing machine.  Now, all parts to be chromed are polished before anything else is done to them. This additional process has helped us bring a more-professional appearance to the finished piece.

Our investment in technology doesn’t stop here. As many of you have experienced, chromed parts can easily chip and peel. Chassisworks was not at all satisfied with the quality of chrome available. We looked at many alternatives and methods for preventing flaking and peeling. After much investigation, it was determined that polishing a tube prior to manufacture and chroming would result in a premium-quality finish. Chassisworks did not delay; we went right to work purchasing, installing and utilizing a tube-polishing machine. Now, all parts to be chromed are polished before anything else is done to them. This additional process has helped us bring a more-professional appearance to the finished piece.

One of the best-known Chassisworks technical innovations is the FAB9™ series. It accepts the same internal gears as a Ford 9-inch and provides a complete rearend housing for any vehicle. We developed this custom welding fixture, enabling us to attach all the brackets needed for your application and produce a custom rearend — in one day! Any of our rear suspensions and all of our accessories can be quickly added to the basic rearend assembly, based on the information provided in your order. At Chassisworks, we truly “make to order” — but with “off-the-shelf” pricing and delivery time.

The new Varishock product line is our latest development project. In order to make and test the shocks we purchased a Shock Dyno. It allows us to test each unit after assembly, calibrate the damping, and verify consist performance. Once again Chassisworks has made the investment to provide a quality product and to measure it’s performance. It is fully computerized, maps the entire performance curve and plots charts of the measurements. It is not enough to build a quality part you must also be able to test and validate it after it is made.

Chassisworks refuses to hold up its customers because of material shortages. That’s why we inventory a minimum of 30,000 feet of 1-5/8”-diameter tubing, and at least 12,000 feet of 3×2” material. It’s a huge investment on our part, but we know that when a drag racer or car builder needs bent parts, he needs them now! The payoff on this investment is the capacity to service our customers’ needs more efficiently and effectively.

A high-density warehousing system that lets us stack finished parts 25 feet high enables Chassisworks to maintain the largest inventory in the industry.  In fact, we ship 98 percent of all orders within 24 hours! Our specially designed packaging and custom-made boxes are engineered to package your order securely, in fewer containers — saving you shipping costs.

A high-density warehousing system that lets us stack finished parts 25 feet high enables Chassisworks to maintain the largest inventory in the industry. In fact, we ship 98 percent of all orders within 24 hours! Our specially designed packaging and custom-made boxes are engineered to package your order securely, in fewer containers — saving you shipping costs.

Higher technology doesn’t stop with manufacturing, either. Computerized order entry allows our sales team to enter and track your order quickly; the status of any order is only a few keystrokes away. A fully integrated computer system controls all aspects of our business, from accounting and order entry to manufacturing and shipping. This super-sophisticated network greatly reduces errors while simultaneously streamlining operations. Moreover, your sales representative is a longtime enthusiast with hands-on experience installing chassis and suspension products. No wonder our customer service is second to none!

Higher technology doesn’t stop with manufacturing, either. Computerized order entry allows our sales team to enter and track your order quickly; the status of any order is only a few keystrokes away. A fully integrated computer system controls all aspects of our business, from accounting and order entry to manufacturing and shipping. This super-sophisticated network greatly reduces errors while simultaneously streamlining operations. Moreover, your sales representative is a longtime enthusiast with hands-on experience installing chassis and suspension products. No wonder our customer service is second to none!

 

 

 

 

 

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