Modern Machine Shop

NOV 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 91 of 155

MMS NOVEMBER 2018 90 AUTOMATION as frequently as time allows). The two decided to purchase Custom Tool after Bob, who previ- ously worked for a machine tool distributor, was approached by the former owners who were nearing retirement and looking for an exit. It became immediately clear to the brothers that changes to the company's culture were essential. The two began working on instilling a mindset of continuous improvement with an eye toward implementing automation as much as possible. Given some natural attrition, they hired a few new people, many relatively young and inexperienced, who were more open to embracing advanced technology and more apt to suggest ways to streamline processes. After seeing the unattended-machining bene- fits of that first bar-fed turning center and envi- sioning a time when lights-out machining would become a reality, Custom Tool made a more substantial investment in 2012, adding a Y-axis Okuma LB3000 EX Spaceturn with live tooling, a subspindle and an Edge Technologies bar feeder to enable complete machining for some parts. The shop added another such machine in 2016 and a third will be delivered in January 2019. That said, it took time to reap the benefits of lights-out machining. The shop had to become comfortable with the new equipment and work to validate potential overnight machining opera- tions. It then began running jobs for increasingly longer stretches of time into the evening until the shop was fully confident that they could success- fully run through the night. Several elements were considered in the establishment of its reli- able unattended processes, and the shop has learned a number of lessons along the way. Lights-out machining means thinking about: • Coolant system performance. Unexpected drops in coolant pressure or interrupted coolant delivery can cause tools to break. Machines that run overnight require more maintenance than those that run only one shift. So, if a booster-pump filter is typically checked every few days for a machine that runs one shift, that filter now must be checked every day. In addition, Custom Tool's second Y-axis turning center features a controller that sends a signal to stop the machine if it detects an issue with the coolant system. Around 3 p.m. each weekday, shop personnel such as Clay Adcock (left) and Quinten Gass begin setting up turning centers to run jobs lights-out during the evening.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Modern Machine Shop - NOV 2018