Production Machining

DEC 2018

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 34 of 51

For more articles on this topic: LINK :: out of it. "It doesn't matter if it's Swiss turning or four- axis milling; if we can set it up once and take labor out of running it, we're saving time, money and producing quality parts more consistently," Mr. Coster says. Moving to Lights-Out Production Making good parts during hours that would historically be considered downtime, using little or no labor, is enough to tempt any CNC machine shop. at's where Nolte is heading with its Swiss machining production. "Currently, we are running up to five of our Swiss machines untended," Mr. Coster says. But untended production is not as simple as flipping a light switch from on to off. ere are steps that a shop needs to put into place to successfully execute lights-out manufacturing. Probably the most important is selecting the right job to run across the machine tool. Nolte runs a variety of materials and while free-machining materials are ideal for untended machining, the process has to be honed to accommodate other materials that are more difficult to machine. "We are not exclusively a brass shop," Mr. Coster says. "So we need to be able set up our jobs so tool wear can be accommodated. Sometimes, we've found, pre-hardened steels and other harder materials may actually run better than the softer materials." One way they prepare for a stable process, eliminating variability, is to run ground barstock across the Swiss machines when the guide bushing is used. is helps with tool wear by reducing variability bar to bar. An advantage that the convertible model BO 206 brings to the process by eliminating the need for a guide bushing, is that it allows the use of cold-rolled barstock. Not having to use ground stock and eliminating the need to set the guide bushing saves material costs and setup time because the spindle nose collet is more forgiving of stock variations than a guide bushing. In addition to making sure the machine tool program running the part untended is stable, there are other ancillary considerations that Nolte takes into account for its lights-out operations. e company's Tsugamis are equipped with FMB bar feeders with magazine feeder trays. Depending on the bar diameter, these magazines can hold enough stock to get the machine through a lights-out shift. To help control chips, Nolte uses high pressure coolant (Nolte cuts with oil) for all of its Swiss machines. is controls chip formation and evacuation, which is impor- tant for untended operation. Nobody wants a bird's nest in the middle of the night. ere is a serious concern of the possibility of fire during a lights-out operation, especially when cutting with oil. erefore, Nolte has equipped all of its Swiss machines with fire suppression systems. Without operator intervention, handling finished part output can be overlooked. Some of the parts that Nolte runs across its lights-out Swiss machine have a no-marr spec, making post-process handling part of the operation. For these jobs, Nolte uses a rotary accumulator to more carefully handle and sort the work coming off the machines. Lights-out manufacturing is a risk/reward undertaking. e rewards can be great if risks can be minimized. is means making mistakes and learning from them. Looking Forward Nolte has seen a lot of change in metalworking manufac- turing. It has also managed to successfully adapt itself to these changes by carefully evaluating what works and what may be transitory. e next investment that Nolte plans to make is to automate the company's chucked part operations. Barstock is certainly important to the shop's capability, but Mr. Coster sees the capability of process slugs and automating the material handling of chucked parts as a direction moving forward. "For example, we have ordered a gantry-fed turning center for processing larger, 3.125-inch and above, chucked blanks as part of our plans," Mr. Coster says. "Moreover, we are looking at robots to help with automation on our other machining operations." Moving forward, Mr. Coster plans to continue focusing on automation as it makes sense for his shop. "One of the benefits that Nolte has enjoyed from its lights-out operations is that the workforce has remained in place, but re-deployed within the shop to more value-added work," Mr. Coster says. "Everybody is experiencing skilled work shortages, so keeping good workers and creating an environment that people want to work in is a key to managing for the next 102 years." Nolte Precise | 513-923-3100 | DP Technology Corp. - Esprit | 800-627-8479 | Tsugami/Rem Sales, LLC | 860-687-3400 | Nolte Precise Manufacturing, a PMPA member since 1943 Still Learning :: 33

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Production Machining - DEC 2018