Okuma and Richard Childress Racing - To Us It's Personal

At Richard Childress Racing (RCR), the competitive nature of motorsports has a direct impact on their work week.

A crew chief might request a part from Rocky Helms, RCR's Manufacturing Manager, on Wednesday. Then he and his team have to deliver it before the race on Sunday. That's not a lot of time for part concepting, design, cutting, and testing.

Click below to watch the video, and read Rocky's full story here.

TRANSCRIPTION

I'm from a small town called Stuart Virginia, which is also home of the Wood Brothers race team. I got a full-time job actually at a machine shop that was, you know, 15 minutes from my house. I really like that, the machining, and but I also liked racing so I was trying to figure out how I could do both.

Basically every track that we run has a different configuration. Every single track, for the most part, requires a different setup on the car. The race engineers will come up with ideas for steering geometry that they want that's a little bit different, so they'll present that to the design group, and they'll go to the engineers, and they'll actually design the 3D CAD model. Once they release it for manufacturing, then the teams can place orders. There's a group of four or five of us that sit down each morning at 7:30 and look over every single new part that was ordered the day before.

Everything we do is always, you know, almost like 75 to 80% of all of our parts fall into two-weeks-and-under category, and probably half are in the week-and-under category. If we're working on a part and it has to be done tomorrow to go to the racetrack, you can't afford for the machine to go down. If you was using a competitor's machine you'd be sweating, “Man, I can't have a breakdown. I can't have anything happen.”

When I came here they had a competitor's machine at that time. Once we got the Okuma, it was amazing how much more aggressively we could machine parts, especially steel and titanium and stuff like that. The machine… the rapids were twice as fast. You know we could run a lot faster feed rates. Definitely the reliability and stuff is a huge difference. We run a lot of lights out and a lot of times we're running parts that have a four to five hour cycle time. You know you don't ever have to worry about third shift coming in and something happened to the machine and there was an issue.

This department is the lifeblood of the entire company. We look at making sure we didn't have a failure or something even though we might have finished the race, and even if we won. Winning the race is the most important thing

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