Production Machining

OCT 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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Contributed by l Youngerth utomation for turning appli- cations has been around for decades; bar feeders, gantry loaders and robotic loaders are mainstream automation devices. All are eective tools in medium- to high- volume applications. But adapting to market pressures continually forces CNC manufacturers toward smaller batches, handling a wider range of part shapes and sizes. •is progression brings on new challenges: • How do smaller batch sizes aect the optimal automation choice for turning applications? • What type of automation is best suited to process a range of part sizes and shapes? • What are some best practices for getting the most out of the equipment investment? The Need for utomation Let's step back for a moment and look at the basic purpose for automation on the shop „oor. Does it provide increased equipment use? Higher production capacity? Lower manufacturing costs? Lower labor costs? Most machine shop managers would say the real reason—the No. 1 drive to automate—is the lack of reliable, quali‰ed labor. Without the labor to run the business, it will either be a smaller business, or it will be out of utomation in High-Mix, Lo-Volume Turning pplications business. Reducing labor requirements should be at the forefront of any automation project, especially in high-mix, low-volume manufacturing. But many machine shop managers say they are reluctant to invest in equipment that reduces labor. •e reason for this decision is likely driven by the tendency to undervalue the cost of labor and overvalue the cost of equipment. A $250,000 CNC machine may seem clearly more expensive than a $15/hour operator. However, adding in the cost of bene‰ts, taxes and training, the operator's net cost is about $21/hour. If labor is not available to grow :: utomation in turning operations comes in a variety of forms. Ne technology has brought robot loaders to the forefront for high-mix, lo-volume applications. Turning shops are familiar ith automation for high-volume ork, but the shifting landscape to smaller batch sizes has created ne challenges. MTERIL HNDLING 30 PRODUCTION MCHINING :: OCTOBER 2018

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