As the leader in sheet metal fabrication, Blackstone Advanced Technologies is tasked with many challenging, complex applications for a wide range of industries. When it comes to the transportation industry, GE Transportation frequently comes to our team for new designs and redesign projects. 

Blackstone is a long time supplier for GE, providing a countless number of parts and components. With a foundation of trust in our team, GE came to us with a unique and complicated problem that required a fast solution. 

Here’s a closer look at the steps we took to solve an emergency retrofit project for GE. 

The Problem

GE came to Blackstone with an emergency rebuild of the facia for the front and back ends of locomotive cars. While the locomotive cars were already built, existing design issues forced GE to change their course midstream in production. 

With little time to spare, GE was pressed to get these cars back into the field for their customer. This was a large and complex request due to flatness issues and tight geometry that would typically require machining and many different facets of the Blackstone team. 

Blackstone’s Solution

Blackstone responded to this emergency as an immediate call to action—quickly forming a team of handpicked engineers, production supervisors and employees with the expertise to provide a quality solution. Since this project was estimated to take several weeks to complete, Blackstone was committed to taking the necessary steps to accommodate GE and reach their goals at any cost, from hiring extra staff to obtaining new resources and equipment. For this project in particular, Blackstone purchased all new equipment and rented other essential tools needed to access higher portions of the locomotive. 

Working as efficiently as possible, the expert team began by traveling to the location of the locomotive cars and investigating the part removal, developing new design features and diagnosing an effective yet quick retrofit plan. This included removing the front end of the locomotive with torches and welding on fabricated pieces created in-house. For eight weeks, the Blackstone team traveled to Erie, PA every day  to work on the locomotive cars. 

Blackstone’s leadership and engineers were required to develop new work schedules, layout the tear down and rebuild plan, ensure production was positioned to supply new rebuild parts to the required facility, set up proper training and expand work hours to complete the task. 

The Results

Blackstone successfully completed the retrofit of all locomotives in just eight weeks. GE was impressed with the results and level of accommodation that Blackstone provided—confirming that when a project of this magnitude rises, Blackstone is the first company they turn to for the results they’re looking for. 

Our relationship with GE continues to grow as new challenging projects are on the horizon. This project, along with others illustrate the relationship our team has earned and the trust GE has built with Blackstone. 

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