Aerospace Manufacturing Shop Chooses Reliability

HEART OF GEORGIA METAL CRAFTERS

“Once you find a reliable CNC machine, it’s very hard to take a chance on anything else.”

-Stephen Pritchett

Location: Eastman, Georgia

Equipment: Eight Okuma CNC Machines

Stephen Pritchett is CEO and General Manager of Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters, a busy aerospace manufacturing shop. One day, while shopping for a new machine tool, a salesperson from one of the builders (not Okuma) told him, “you’ll get to know my service man on a first name basis.” This did not make the intended positive impression, as Stephen quickly replied, “I don’t want to know your service guy on a first name basis!”

With eight Okumas in his shop, some of them running since 2005, Stephen has no idea who his Okuma service rep is. Service from Morris South and Okuma has been very efficient, but he needs it so rarely, he doesn’t even remember their names. The Okumas at Heart of Georgia have been so reliable, the only downtime they’ve ever experienced is for scheduled maintenance.

FINDING A RELIABLE CNC MACHINE

When Heart of Georgia was getting started, there were two mills purchased with the business. When one of them went down, Stephen began an online search, looking for reliable CNC machines. The result they found most often was Okuma. They brought in two Okuma machines, and ran them for over a year with no downtime whatsoever, confirming they’d made the right reliability decision. “Once you find a reliable CNC machine, it’s very hard to take a chance on anything else,” says Stephen. That reliability has kept them true to Okuma, adding lathe and multi-tasking capabilities to their stable of equipment.

OSP CONTROLS FULFILL AEROSPACE MANUFACTURING REQUIREMENTS

Heart of Georgia’s aerospace manufacturing work involves many complex parts. They use high-end exotic materials, and excellent part quality is essential. Their customers also require thorough traceability procedures, so they track parts and associated programs carefully. With Okuma’s OSP-P controls, it’s easy to download part programs and store them in folders on the machine. This means each machine contains only the programs for the parts it runs, minimizing errors and speeding up processes. They also take advantage of the ability to customize the OSP control, which allows them to implement efficiencies such as remote monitoring/alerts, lights-out manufacturing, and programming animation.

Today Heart of Georgia enjoys the profits that reliability brings them. “The foundation of our Okuma decision was reliability,” says Stephen. “Now I realize I get the reliability I need, with many other plusses on top of that.”

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