Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2016

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.

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BETTER PRODUCTION Shops Using Technology 118 MMS December 2016 mmsonline.com In 2007, SE W hired Makino to take on the expansion of its existing eight-machine robotic cell. The upgrade consisted of four Makino a71 horizontal machining centers (HMCs), a second c o o rd i n ate m e a s u r i n g m ac h i n e (C M M), t wo additional pedestal robots, a second gantr y robot and custom sof tware to facilitate com- munications between new and existing equip- ment. Makino managed all aspects of the system, including third-par t y equipment, the human- machine interface (HMI), process engineering, tooling and fixtures. Ever y step of the project was led with single-point-contact project man- agement, project engineering, on-site supervi- sion, and post-installation training and support. Not only was Makino able to take on the expan- sion project, but it also made improvements to the ef ficiency and productivity of the original cell, SEW says. Throughout the expansion proj- ect, SEW was able to run production orders in the existing cell with only minimal interruption when the final expansion was brought online. Today, it is operating 24 hours a day, five days a week, producing 4,500 housings each week. SEW also invested in linear pallet systems to transition the entire plant to a five-day workweek. These investments included two Makino Machin- ing Complexes (MMC2)—one system featuring four A99E HMCs and another with six a81 HMCs. "I think a lot of manufacturers look back to investments made in the years leading up to the recession with regret, but our investments in automation really ended up being a job saver," Mr. Chandler says. "While shops all around us were shutting their doors and laying of f their workers, we just had to cut off power to a hand- f u l o f m a c h i n e s . I t h i n k i t w a s d u r i n g t h i s time that our team truly started to see the ben- efits of our investments and trust the direction that we were heading. Had we approached our production methods similar to many other plants by putting an operator at ever y machine, we

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