Production Machining

DEC 2014

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 38 of 75

ERP Shop Management Software :: 37 L ike many family-owned businesses, Roberts Automatic had grown through the years by doing whatever it took to survive and thrive. Writing their own ERP software program was one of the tasks the company undertook, which required always having a programmer on staf to update, tweak and reprogram the software. But when the UNIX system they built was about to break down and its programmer was retiring, it became clear that it was time to migrate to software available on the market that was targeted to their industry. "Te day we all agreed that we were going to begin the process of investigating new software was a scary day," says President Jim Roberts. "We knew that no matter what system we settled on, there was going to be a lot of time invested for all of us to convert and get comfortable with this new system. Furthermore, because we had built the current system ourselves, we knew that any of-the-shelf system might not be as good as what we currently had, in some instances." Te company was founded in 1947 by Jim's grandfather. Jim's dad, Walt, then took over the company and ran it successfully for 40 years as a traditional job shop before Jim and his brother Ted took over the operation in the early 1990s. Today, the third generation company continues to grow and expand. Roberts Automatic positions itself as more of a contract manufacturer than simply a job shop. Dealing with Variety "We have a variety of customers," Mr. Roberts explains. "Each customer is diferent with their own particular needs in terms of tight tolerances, level of cleanliness required, fnishes, quality level, how they require their parts labeled, shipped, and so on. Although our company can satisfy the most demanding customer through the improvements we have made in the business over the years, including the addition of robotics, we can also handle the everyday parts that are not as demanding and still be very competitive on producing those parts." Roberts Automatic's staf of 50 works three shifts out of its 50,000-square-foot building. Roberts runs 25 screw machines including Acme-Gridleys, Davenports and Gildemeisters. It also has three CNC vertical machining centers and multiple two- and three-spindle milling machines. Mr. Roberts determined more than 15 years ago that it would be advantageous to get ISO certifcation for the company, and he did just that. He can point to many instances where the ISO certifcation was a deciding factor in getting them business because they were, in essence, pre-qualifed as a potential vendor. DIY Software By the time the early 1990s had come around, adding software for production fow and accounting became a must, but the Roberts family could not fnd a package that suited their needs. So, they did what any family business would do. Tey wrote their own software from the ground up with the help of an in-house programmer. Tis was all done on the heels of the company's move to a brand new, larger facility in Chanhassen, Minnesota. :: On the shop foor, a machinist uses a bar coder to scan the job router. This keeps track of parts produced, time, prints and tickets for the parts buckets. :: Morgan Roberts works on one of the customized soft- ware features that allows for tracking gages in the shop by how many days they are in use. This allows calibration only when needed rather than guessing when it is needed.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Production Machining - DEC 2014