A group of Grinnell High School welding students visited Co-Line on Thursday, Sept. 21. The group of 10 students and one chaperone toured both buildings and participated in a mock interview as well. The students were very engaged in what they were learning and asked good questions throughout their visit. Several students sent personal emails thanking those involved for their time and expressed how much they enjoyed the tour. One student even commented, “It was really awesome to see how everything works, and I really am considering applying as soon as I’m out of high school.”
Co-Line held its first ever Amazing Race on Friday, Sept 1. The race was an idea generated late last winter by the Wellness Committee. Eight teams of four Co-Liners signed up. The first group had an additional challenge: Darkness still at 6 a.m. – something the planning committee forgot to take into consideration. We may need to move the race up in the summer next year!
The challenges included a kayak race from the beach to the water’s edge to get the lighted baton and back to the beach to hand off to the runner of the team. The runner then took off through the grass around Lake Seven-A for their quarter-mile race. Up the steep embankment, they handed off the baton to their bicyclist, who circled the north building, raced across the dam, and went down to the horse shoe pits for the final challenge. Throwing a ringer was not hard for Todd Kaldenberg, who nailed it on his second try in the 6 a.m. group! He claims he hasn’t played horse shoes in 30 years! The second group at 9:00 had a little bit more of a challenge at the horse shoe pits and after 20 minutes, Rail and Eric Brand decided to have a sudden death of “whoever was closest.” Andy Elbert’s throw was deemed the closest, which earned him and his teammates (Elliott Mapes, Cory Tice, and Monica Nikkel) second place.
Despite some sore muscles, the darkness, and the slippery grass, most are looking forward to doing it again next year. For now, Todd and his teammates (Jeff Schut, Jason Allbee, and Ryan Johnson) have bragging rights and also each received a $25 gift card and Co-Line water bottle.
A new upscale hotel will be opening in Grinnell in September, and items from Co-Line can be found all throughout the building.
Late in 2016, Hotel Grinnell contacted Co-Line about building some bed frames. The first prototypes were made in late February, and Co-Line continued to build furniture for the hotel through August.
Items Co-Line has made include three different styles of bed frames, bedside tables, desks, armoires, vanities, benches, towel racks, several different bar tables, bunk beds, flower planters, and patio stools. Co-Line also made the panels to go around the front desk and a six-foot tall letter “g” to put on the wall in the lobby.
“The project involved pretty much every department but the stamping presses – design, quoting, laser flat/tube, saws, benders, welding, paint line, and trucking,” noted Co-Liner Brad Rozendaal. “The project group built prototypes and production welding built the rest.”
The hotel gives a shoutout to Co-Line on its website: “The iron furniture in our guest rooms was custom built by Co-Line Manufacturing, an Iowa company just a few miles from here that specializes in metal fabrication. Their team worked with us to design one-of-a-kind beds, vanities, tables, and desks for each room. The quality and durability of these U.S.-made iron furnishings is second to none.”
The boutique hotel is located in a renovated old school building in downtown Grinnell and also includes a ballroom and performance venue. Hotel Grinnell has 45 guest rooms and suites as well as two bunk rooms with 10 beds in each.
A brand-new custom archway now greets Hawk fans and visitors to the northwest entry of the football field and track at Lynnville-Sully School. The metal sign on top was designed, fabricated, and installed by Co-Line and is one of the final touches to the “Race To The Finish” campaign that was instrumental in raising funds for the school’s all-weather track. The sign spans nearly the entire length of the ticket booth and is a prominent symbol of Hawk pride.
This project required involvement from multiple Co-Line departments. Brad Rozendaal designed the archway, the flat laser group and tube laser group made parts for it, Jacob Jansen fabricated it, and the paint line painted it. Brad and Jacob then assembled the sign and installed it at the school with JT Walker.
A smaller project at Lynnville-Sully was also completed on Aug. 4. Ty Clark replaced a transitional plate on the floor in between the gym and hallway. Ty removed the old aluminum piece and installed a brushed stainless steel plate in its place.
Another milestone has been achieved in Co-Line’s 15 years of ISO certification. At the conclusion of a 5.5-day audit by Clive Devers with Bureau Veritas Certification in August, Devers recommended Co-Line’s certification to the new ISO 9001-2015 standard.
The new 2015 standard, in co-owner Eric Brands’ words, “is a good fit with the direction that Co-Line has been heading for the future.”
The first three requirements (clauses) in ISO 9001:2015 are basically the same as the old ISO 9001:2008, but there are significant differences within the remaining requirements. The remaining seven requirements are now arranged according to the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act), as seen below.
RISK-BASED THINKING IS AT THE CORE OF ISO 9001:2015: Within the PDCA cycle, the planning stages of the requirements now make up the majority; within the planning stages, Co-Line is required to determine risks and opportunities for processes, products, and services as well as the overall quality management system and take proportionate prevention opportunities. This is just one of many improvements.
LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT IN ISO 9001:2015: ISO 9001:2015 also places more emphasis on leadership commitment and is intended to encourage top management to have responsibilities in the effectiveness of our quality system. The idea behind the change is quality is a matter for everyone at all levels within Co-Line.
MORE FOCUS ON INPUTS AND OUTPUTS: There is more emphasis on measuring and properly assessing the inputs and outputs of processes. Within ISO 9001:2015, we must more closely monitor information and specifications involved in the production process.
A big congratulations again and thanks to all Co-Liners for your continued DAILY efforts that year after year have proven Co-Line is audit-ready anytime with the No. 1 benefactors being ALL of our customers!
A variety of fun fair-themed contests kept the good times rolling at the annual company picnic on Saturday, Aug. 5. Nearly 400 Co-Liners and family members took part in the “Co-Line County Fair,” which had attendees burying their faces in pies, searching their fields for the tallest stalk of corn, and showing off their legs – all in hopes of winning a prize.
For just entering a contest, Co-Liners received a $25 gift card to the store option of their choice. Winners of the contests fared even better with the top three each receiving a Co-Line cooler bag and varying amounts of beef certificate dollars ($75 for first, $50 for second, and $25 for third). New this year, bucket of junk and freestyle junk contests were held, with Co-Liners creating very impressive works of art. Winners of those two contests received cash prizes ($300 for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third).
Picnic attendees enjoyed the entertaining contests and activities for all ages. After topping it off with delicious fair food from Country Catering and an over-the-top, spectacular fireworks show, everyone went home happy from the Co-Line County Fair.
The glider bench pictured at right was recently restored to its former glory by Co-Line Customs. The bench, believed to be from the 1920s, arrived at Co-Line with little to no paint, bent parts, and no base frame to swing on. A new base frame was fabricated, and all parts were straightened. The bench was redesigned to have roller bearings to swing on. It was then sent to Double B Blasting to get sand blasted. Upon return, it was painted by the Co-Line paint line, with help on color choice by Tony Van Wyk.
The Sully Locker & Market sign pictured below was created for the locker’s new location in Sully. The sign was designed by LeAnn Hjelmeland with laser files for the lettering and cleaver made by Brad Rozendaal. Next, the sign went to the laser dept., and the framework was custom fabricated and assembled at Co-Line Customs. The project went to the paint line and then was installed by Don Steenhoek and Jacob Jansen.
A group of instructors and students from an Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) photonics workshop toured Co-Line on Aug. 10. The group of nine was taking the week-long course for continued education credit. Linda Russell shared information about Co-Line’s history, values, open positions, and benefits. They were especially interested in the lunch, haircuts, and annual extreme picnic, which was held the previous weekend. The group toured the laser department with Frank Ready and Tyler Smith. They watched many different aspects of the lasers, including loading and unloading, materials processing, and the technology involved in cutting.
Frank expressed, “The teachers/instructors became more and more impressed as we went on. They were amazed at how much material we could process in a few minutes as they stood and watched. The IHCC team liked the Harley parts on the 3D lasers and how the tool and die designers had used their welding/stamping experience to improve speed and quality of the parts with our fixturing process.”
Greg Kepner, department chair of the advanced manufacturing department at IHCC, said they appreciated the tour and were very impressed with what they saw. “Our workshop attendees really enjoyed it and learned a lot!” he said.
Co-Line’s own Tony Van Wyk was selected one of 40 under 40 by “Products Finishing” magazine for July 2017. The publication surveyed job shops and suppliers for the Products Finishing Top Shops, and of those surveyed, they found “40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the finishing industry, both in their businesses and in the finishing community. The recipients were chosen based on leadership and potential leadership – whether it is in the company they work for, or in their industry involvement.”
“We are happy for Tony as a recipient of this recognition and excited to see him continue to grow in his role at Co-Line,” said Eric Brand, Co-Line co-owner.
Visitors to the Jasper County Fair July 14-20 may have sat on or seen some customized memorials made by Co-Line. Prior to the fair, Co-Line was contacted about making two benches, two flower planters, and a backdrop, all in memory of Bernie Van Der Pol, a dairy and cattle herdsman from Sully who passed away in April. Co-Line worked with Bernie’s wife, Carlene, to make her vision a reality. The project had extra special meaning for Rail Brand as Bernie was Rail’s very first employer. (If you can imagine Rail in the teenage years, Bernie definitely had his hands full!)