Modern Machine Shop

NOV 2017

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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68 MMS November 2017 CNC TECH TALK Columnist You may find, for instance, that operators are cleaning and deburring, maybe even inspecting, the completed workpiece before they load the next piece of raw material. Make sure they know the importance of keeping these tasks internal to the machining cycle (which in turn, moves them offline). Workpiece-, prototype- and tooling-producing companies tend to have less repeat business. Some jobs may end up being repeated jobs, but these shops may not know at the time an order is placed whether the job will ever be repeated. And of course, there will be no way to predict when the job might be run again. In this case, it does not make sense to put too much effort into eliminating or moving offline any tasks that are specific to a single given job. With limited repeat business and unpredictable lead times, you must concentrate on tasks that are common among the jobs you run. While you should look first for tasks that can be eliminated or moved offline, finding them may be more difficult and harder to justify. For example, it will not be feasible to keep cutting tools assembled for a given job, since the job may never be repeated. But it will make sense to keep the most commonly used cutting tools assembled and placed near/in the CNC machine that uses them. This eliminates the need to reassemble them when they are required. Most improvements you make will probably fall into the category of facilitating tasks. Use frequency and difficulty levels to set priorities. Target first those tasks that are difficult and often-performed. A simple suggestion is to look for times when people struggle, and then provide some help. You may find, for example, that operators struggle when making sizing adjustments. The required measurements, calculations and offset adjustments may be resulting in scrap-causing mistakes. Or you may feel the related tasks are taking too long. There are many ways to simplify these tasks, including better documentation that specifies tolerance limits and connecting cutting tool station numbers to machined surfaces on the workpiece.

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