Production Machining

JUL 2013

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

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Automating a Turning Operation Joseph says. "Overall, the installation went well. Naturally, on any project as complex as this one, we had adjustments to make to meet the end user's needs. " Lessons Learned Once the frst combined unit was installed and producing product, the focus shifted to the installation of the next units. With lessons learned from the frst system, changes were made to the lathe and the gantry loader units. Te additional units were installed over a 3-month period. As all of the systems were brought online and part production began, additional changes were made as new parts were added to the production cycle mix. For example, Gardner Denver operators standardized their tray system for the gantry loader. Additional programming was incorporated and many of the system's components were altered to handle the various parts being manufactured with accuracy. "Tere is always a learning curve when you make the decision to automate," says Mr. Young of Gardner Denver. "Te key is to partner with vendors who will help you through the process. Te people from Methods and Bucci were there with us every step of the way. I've seen Cory Miller, Bucci's V.P., on a ladder turning wrenches." It's Working As the systems consistently run two shifts, the many advantages this automated approach to manufacturing ofers became apparent to Gardner Denver. Most important, the units were exceeding the production expectations, manufacturing more than 10,000 parts a month. Additionally, all the units were being run with only two people per shift. "If we had not automated this process, we would have had to have two machinists assigned to each lathe to load, unload and check the parts," Mr. Young says. "Tat adds up to six people versus four people when you are running two shifts. And if someone calls in sick, you have equipment that is not running. "Tis equipment allows us to concentrate on the process, not the people," he adds. "We do need a higher level of machinist for this equipment—we just don't need as many of them." Te machinists that run the lathes and gantry loaders must have knowledge of G code programming. Several of the company's operators have been trained in this skill set. It will be a skill sought after in new employees. "One of the reasons companies are so interested in automation is that this equipment, once it is running, is going to have 90 percent uptime," says Methods' Mr. Parenteau. "When the equipment is run by an operator, you are probably looking at 60 to 70 percent uptime. Automation pays for itself." Increased product consistency is another advantage Gardner Denver has realized. "Our frst pass yield has defnitely improved," Mr. Young says. "People are a variable. Tis equipment is not. Everything is repeatable and consistent." "Tat is the really big advantage of the programmable material handling automation," Mr. Joseph says. "Once it is programmed, it will consistently pick up and move parts without variation. Tis guarantees that the parts will be placed in the lathe the same way each time." Another advantage with using automated equipment is that management has more control over the time the process takes. If a few seconds can be shaved of the time it takes to make the product, this can translate into higher productivity. "In a highly repeatable process like this, we've seen opportunities to increase our throughput," Mr. Young says. For Gardner Denver, this venture into automated production has paid of for several reasons. Tey had a clearly defned vision of their objectives, a willingness to invest in automation technology and vendor partners committed to the success of their project. Down the Road Gardner Denver's new equipment has allowed the company to aggressively capture opportunities in a new market. Tis investment is proftable and is seeing growth for the company. In addition, it is providing new opportunities to manufacture parts in other market sectors and expand their product ofering. Because the equipment is so adaptable, this can be done at a minimal additional cost. "Automation is defnitely the trend in manufacturing today," Mr. Young says. "Te Automata combined with the Nakamura lathe has defnitely met our needs and is allowing for expansion. Tat is a good return on investment for Garner Denver." CoNtRIbutoR Jim Burris is a marketing strategist for Burris Creative. Contact: Gantry Takes Hands Out of Part Handling Automating material delivery and removal from the machining process is one key method of taking some of the production cost from manufacturing.  LINK :: For more information: Bucci Industries :: 704-583-8341 :: Methods Machine Tools :: 978-443-5388 Gardner Denver :: :: 31

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