Modern Machine Shop

JUL 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.

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MMS JULY 2018 80 MACHINING TECHNOLOGY Serendipity at a Gas Station A chance meeting in 2010 with someone at a gas station ultimately led Mr. Washington to seriously consider HMCs. On the way back from Texas, where he personally delivered a job to meet his promised delivery date, Mr. Washington stopped in Louisiana to fuel his vehicle. A person noticed the Valley Tool logo on his shirt and struck up a conversation. That person worked for a large manufacturer of compressors, blowers, vacuum pumps and related industrial equipment, and said the company was having problems with its existing machined-parts vendors. By the time Mr. Washington arrived at his shop, the man had emailed him part prints to review. The work included upward of 70 part numbers, but volumes for each ranged from only 500 to 1,000. In addition, numerous parts had tight feature-true-position tolerances. To do this work on the shop's existing VMCs meant some parts would require multiple setups, and as a result, it would be challenging to achieve those feature-to- feature tolerances. Plus, overall production time would be long because of the numerous setups. Mr. Washington thought that an HMC with dual pallets and fourth-axis motion would mitigate those issues. A trusted Single Source Technologies-South machine tool salesperson with whom Valley Tool had worked with in the past suggested that HMC technology from Makino might be well-suited for this work. The shop ultimately purchased an a51nx model with 400-mm pallets and a 14,000-rpm spindle featuring 177 foot-pounds of torque that ultimately paid for itself in two years. However, prior to making that purchase, Mr. Washington and his team first thought hard about justifying its cost. Here are a few questions they pondered— questions that are likely similar those that other shops considering adding HMCs might have: 1. WILL AN HMC ASSIST AND/OR IMPROVE MY SHOP'S EXISTING WORK? Mr. Washington said the advan- tages of an HMC became readily evident by run- ning existing jobs that were previously done on VMCs. The machine's rigidity enabled faster speeds and feeds, which also helped reduce cycle times. Cycle-time reductions of 30 percent were Each of the three parts for the motorcycle handlebar mounts would likely require six setups to be machined on a VMC, but only two setups are required on an HMC. Plus, contoured features can be easily machined using the HMC's fourth-axis pallet rotation. THE 90-DEGREE DIFFERENCE See a small shop's quality manager describing the advantages of HMCs versus VMCs at

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