A contract manufacturer expands its capacity using various approaches to feeding the machines.
Machine tool automation is not a new idea at Aztalan Engineering of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Instead, for this contract manufacturer, using automation to load and unload parts is an established practice. In the 1990s, the company took over production of a set of components from another shop, buying and installing the two robot-loaded CNC lathes this previous shop had used. The cell delivers high productivity to this day. And yet, the experience with these robots did not mean that the third lathe added to this cell would get a robot of its own.more
Despite lingering uncertainty in the economy, management at the start-up contract manufacturer thinks now is a good time to start a company. How did they do it?
On one hand, 2012 may not have appeared to be the best time to start a new company in North America. Matt Rudd, president and CEO for Apex Precision Solutions (Mason, MI), acknowledged the difficulties. Economic uncertainties lingered, with small manufacturers continuing to find access to capital difficult. As a result, many smaller manufacturing players were exiting the field. That made it a perfect time to rush in, according to Rudd.more
Choosing a multitask machine from a bewildering array of options can be challenging, but the right one can be a shop game changer.
The simplest definition of multitasking is “the performance of multiple tasks at one time.” In the world of machine tools, however, multitasking takes on a far more dynamic meaning. Simultaneous turning operations, machining multiple part surfaces and combining several manufacturing operations into a single setup are just a few of multitasking’s many flavors.more
Okuma America and distributor Morris Midwest hosted a Job Shop Productivity event with 19 machines on display as well as metrology and automation equipment held at the Okuma Chicago Tech Center in Roselle, Illinois. Attendees brought their challenging parts and machining problems so Okuma and Morris application engineers, along with Partners in THINC members, could help find solutions. One common goal among attendees was the need to achieve increased cutting conditions and enhance machining efficiency to meet ever tighter delivery times.more
Although advances in CNC turning centers and cutting tools have made substantial strides in favor of hard turning over grinding, according to Okuma's Rob Titus, grinding often turns out to be the better choice. Okuma is probably best known for its CNC lathes and machining centers. However, the company also offers a line of cylindrical OD and ID CNC grinders, and is always eager to find the best process for an application--whether it involves hard turning or grinding.more
When Bob’s Design Engineering in Hillsboro, Oregon, won a major production job three years ago, the shop’s owner and senior employees had just one question: “Now what?” they asked. They had not expected to win this project. As the very name of the company suggests, Bob’s Design Engineering has historically been focused on prototyping and short-run product development, not machining for mature production. In fact, many of the company’s customers are in the electronics industry, which has a long history of sending production overseas.more
Mold manufacturers often have one initial reaction when it comes to horizontal machining centers (HMCs). “Too expensive.” True, horizontal machining centers are traditionally more expensive—at the time of purchase—than vertical machining centers (VMCs). So how can this investment be justified? Can you really afford it?more
Machine uptime is of great importance at Weir Specialty Pumps in Salt Lake City, UT. If pump components cannot be machined on time, pumps cannot be assembled. Machine downtime would delay product delivery to customers. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) principles have been utilized at Weir Specialty Pumps for many years and the manufacturing process has benefited from the TPM practices. "The problem we have been facing in implementing TPM on every machine is lack of manpower in our Maintenance department," said Russell Jensen, Production Manager, Weir Specialty Pumps.more
The problem: aging equipment stymies growth into new markets. The solution: new CNC machines for close tolerance machining to meet new market needs. CNC technologies turn a job shop into thriving business.more
Thermal growth is an inherent factor in any machining process. Read how one company constructs its machines to adapt to changing thermal conditions.more
Some techniques commonly used to combat chatter. Use these guidelines to establish a good foundation for optimizing your moldmaking processes.more
Hartwig Tulsa hosted an open house event to demonstrate how customers can increase productivity. The two-day event offered learning labs and hands-on participation focused on 4-axis versus 2-axis turning, Swiss turning, vertical machining and a variety of metrology products.more
When it comes to shop productivity and profitability, purchasing the right machine tool is only half the battle. The best and latest machine means nothing unless the shop knows how to best put it to use. Pushing a toll to its limits requires both metalcutting expertise and support.more
Industry insiders discuss key considerations and share their insights about Lights Out manufacturing, a well established production style that is a major contributor to the current resurgence in American manufacturing and fast becoming a common denominator in many manufacturers’ formulas for success.more
Ken George, president of Micron Hard Milling LLC (Mequon, WI) is a man with a mission. After many years as a toolmaker and, subsequently, as an engineer, he became concerned by the increasing amount of precision mold and die work being shipped overseas to lower labor costs.more
By gaining experience in hard turning, a shop adds to its arsenal a cost-effective alternative to grinding, opening doors to new opportunities.more