Tag : custom machine shop

machine shop

5 Ways Your Machine Shop is Inefficient

In order to succeed, a machine shop needs to have an edge over its competitors. Looking for inefficiencies is a great way to start, and fixing those inefficiencies can give your machine shop the edge it needs.

Early Tool Decay or Tool Failure

It’s not common for your tools to fail or break often. Finding the right tool is important, but it’s also important to prolong the life of your tools. Some machinists think that using the tools too aggressively causes them to wear out faster, but if you aren’t pushing the tool to the full potential it can cause it to decay faster in some situations. There are different types of tool failure, which can include abrasive wear, chipping, or tool fracture. Understanding your tools can help you make sure that you are minimizing downtime, as well as saving money on any replacement costs.

By being able to identify different types of tool wear, you can be ready to fix any issues quickly and help extend the life of your tools. Abrasive wear will dull the cutting edge of the tool by mechanical abrasion from the piece. If you notice this type of wear, reduce the cutting speed or use coolant. Using high efficiency milling toolpaths can also help reduce wear. Chipping can be seen by a nick on the cutting tool, or seen on the finish of the part. Excessive loads can cause chipping. Reducing feed rates can help. Thermal cracking can be seen by cracks in the tool perpendicular to the cutting edge. This is caused by extreme temperatures and can be solved by adding a proper coating to give the tool heat resistance. When a tool fractures it causes complete loss of the tool, and this can be because of a wrong coating or the wrong speeds and feeds. Make sure to adjust speeds and feeds and optimize the right coolant use, in order to avoid any hot spots that can cause fracture.

Subpar Part Finish

With a subpar part finish you are not providing your customers with the highest quality product, and it will affect your buyer seller relationships. It also will not allow you to increase prices or attract potential customers in the future. Many factors can affect part finish, which include the material, hardness, speeds and feeds your shop is running, and tool deflection. You are employing machinists and should have the highest quality tools so make sure you are getting your money’s worth of both, and your products should have a good finish.

Inefficient Coolant Usage

Coolant can be expensive and is often an expense that many machine shops forget about. Too much coolant is often applied when it’s not needed, costing a machine shop more money. Some machines have a minimum quality lubricant function that applies coolant as an aerosol, so it’s provided just enough coolant to operate efficiently while saving the amount of coolant that can be used. Sometimes it is needed to drown a piece in coolant, but oftentimes it is not and you can get away with using less coolant to save money.

Coolant can be delivered in different forms, and if you choose the wrong pressure it can lead to tool damage, which you need to avoid. When applied as air, it does not cool as efficiently as oil or water based coolants, but it is good for sensitive materials. When coolant is applied directly to plastic it can cause rapid expansion or contraction. Use mist when heat is not a major concern. When applied as a mist, both the part and the tool don’t go through more stresses. When the coolant is applied as a flood, it can be a low-pressure method that helps flush chips from the part in order to avoid chip recutting and protect your tool from damage. High-pressure application can be similar to flood coolant, but can sometimes be enough to break diameter tooling so it must be applied carefully. This method is often applied into grooves that are already built into the tool. Look at the application of coolants as well as the coolants that you are using. You may be able to use less high-performance lubricant instead of a lot of lower performance options. Coolant can also be re-used to save money. We have a great system at Tag Team Manufacturing that allows us to re-use the coolant saving time and money in our machine shop.

Not utilizing tool versatility

Many CMC cutting tools will perform multiple operations. Depending on the job, you may be able to get away with a tool you already have instead of having to go out and purchase additional tooling.

There are a number of multi-function tools you should consider having in your shop. Not only can drill mills be used for drilling and milling, but they can also be used for grooving, spotting and chamfering. This means they provide five different uses. Undercutting end mills can also be used for some slotting and contouring operations, and depending on the situation, such as clearance challenges, this can actually be the first choice. Double angle shank cutters can be referred to as the “Swiss army knife of machine,” so you know they are a versatile tool. They have six different functions that include thread milling, chamfering, back chamfering, machine v-grooves, deburring, and countersinking. Flat bottom tools, including drills and counterbores, are best used for holemaking, but they can be used for a number of different functions. These functions include thin plate drilling, cross hole drilling, angled drilling, half hole drilling, removing drill points, and straightening misaligned holes. Adjustable chamfer cutters can do more than just chamfering and can be used for beveling, deburring, and spotting.

High Machine Downtime

If your machines aren’t running, then you aren’t getting the most of them. The key to helping your machine shop reach maximum efficiency is minimizing machine downtime. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as keeping like parts together. All you would have to do is swap in and out material and the machine can use the same cutting tool. This allows you to spend less time swapping out tooling and spend more time letting the machine do its job. This requires planning to help make the machine shop more efficient.

What Should You Do?

Implementing a proactive maintenance strategy instead of a reactive maintenance strategy can help you avoid some of these issues and gain a competitive advantage. Maintaining equipment so you have less failure and less machine downtime will make sure you aren’t scrambling to figure things out. Make sure you have a system set in place for inventory management, so you are managing costs as well as handling and storage. This is especially important for lubricants that are expensive and can take up a good amount of storage.

cnc machine in action

Machine Shop 101: Top 7 Secrets To Choose Right

Selecting a CNC Machine Shop can be a daunting task with many options available. Innovative strategies are imperative to guarantee selection of a competent shop providing cutting edge technology. Usually, an Original Equipment Manufacturer has experienced evaluators that determine whether a supplier has the minimum requirements.

The team features Quality, Sourcing, and Engineering personnel. Each team member represents particular facets of the business. Some Precision Manufacturing set rigorous requirements when conducting supplier evaluation.

Why choose the best machine shop Denver suppliers? 

Choosing a machine shop supplier determines the success of your company in so many ways. Some of the benefits of choosing the ideal one include:

•    Lower costs
•    Reduced scrap levels
•    Great agility
•    Smoother workflow
•    Improved forecasting
•    Reduced setting times
•    Shortened manufacturing lead times

What is the secret?

1.    Samples of Previous Work

Any shop or manufacturer can claim to make the best equipment for every industry. However, custom machine shops that are proud of their products go a notch higher and allows you to inspect their prototypes. Also, they let customers and business owners see all parts and equipment manufactured in their shop.

When customers see examples of previous work, they get a visual representation of their attention to details and craftsmanship delivered to every piece. They get to verify the quality of the end product even when the supplier is working with huge runs of 2-dimensional parts under pressure of tight deadlines.

The ideal CNC machine shop should offer samples on demand and have a command in discussions about their industries of specialization. A knowledgeable and experienced machine shop gives customers great confidence in the quality of their machines. Previous samples confirm that a supplier has honed their skills working with a plethora of materials commonly used in a particular industry.

Don’t you think high end machine shops should be able to deliver precise cuts needed to fit into customer’s specifications?

2.    Enables Project Flexibility

As you choose a custom machine shop that is conversant with crafting ideal parts for your industry, also focus on how flexible they are with particular jobs. The search for a perfect choice should not make you jump from one shop to another. Sometimes, in-house limitations relating to the types of equipment their CNC machinist can work with on their availability and your project.

The best Denver Manufacturing machine shop has in-house skilled machinists, equipment, and necessary experience to get most projects completed as quickly as possible without undermining quality. Ideal manufacturers should also be flexible in offering different size runs ranging from small prototype machining to big scale productions using assortment of materials.

3.    Incessant Improvement

Leading Custom Machine Shops always pay great attention to continuous improvement. Progressive improvements of materials, parts, and equipment produced increases value offered to customers. Some strategies used to measure improvement process include Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and other techniques. Evidence of such quality improvement measuring processes ought to be readily available to customers with proven results.

4.    Offers Excellent Communication Methods

Communicating specifications for prototypes, materials, and parts in any precision machine shop should always be continuous. Alterations can arise at any time. Whenever communication between machine shops and manufactures goes limbo, doubts kick in. Dissatisfaction extends to potential clients through reviews and recommendations.

A quality machine shop focuses on these four customer communication aspects:

•    Allows customers to use their preferred communication channel that suits their operation.
•    Takes time to explain technical capabilities of various machine parts to clients.
•    Offers a contact person who is readily available to answer questions and implement alterations quickly to minimize material waste and time loss.
•    Asks relevant questions concerning customer’s project and how to enhance their job to get value for money and improve their experience.

5.    Implements Quality Control Measures

Quality is paramount for every customer irrespective of parts or equipment ordered. Therefore, every Precision Manufacturing company should create control measures that eliminate production errors in all steps of a manufacturing process. If a shop lacks documented quality control measures, it’s advisable to seek services elsewhere.

A professional Denver Manufacturing shop will be ready to talk about quality certifications such as IS0 9001 and AS9100 standards. They have extensive documentation about the equipment used to determine specification accuracy, for example, coordinate measuring machines. They elaborate what control standards are set for every part, machine, and equipment whenever rejection rate starts to rise.

The best Custom Machine Shop informs their customers about their failure rates and measures taken to reduce this rate to manageable levels.

6.    Equipment and Technology Advances Investment

A CNC shop is just as good as their machinists, staff and equipment produced. It is advisable to research on the types of software and equipment currently used to make the required prototypes and parts. Moreover, ask the shop management about other materials and equipment available in their shop.

Research on all equipment used in the production run phase, for instance, CNC Machining, Wire EDM, and Manual Machining. That information is essential since some stages in the manufacturing process may require hands-on approach for tooling prototypes. The shop should be well equipped with various software capabilities and can modify model designs upon request.

Additionally, CNC Machinists should be well qualified to handle onsite equipment and software efficiently. Their extensive knowledge of all equipment necessary for the production process and how well they use quality measuring equipment should be certified at proficient levels. Therefore, technicians should never hamper any of your bottom lines.

7.    Interact with Previous Customers

After reviewing an Original Equipment Manufacturer capabilities, communicate with previous customers. It is advisable to check reviews given by previous customers online about the shop. Questions that you may ask previous customers include:

•    What customer service got provided?
•    Did the machine shop meet expectations and how did they enhance customer experiences?
•    How long did the customers work with the machine shop?
•    Were there any defects or problems with deadlines and how did the machine shop resolved these issues?
•    Did the machine shop offer extensive information about their capabilities?
•    How were communication and modification requests handled in cases where changes were necessary?

Speaking to previous customers enables you to learn about all the procedures that the Manufacturing Shop implements to satisfy customers. Why choose blindly when you got so much time and reviews online?

The future of machining is brighter now than ever. There are many things to produce. Pressure is mounted on machine shops to play their part in increasing machine and machinist’s abilities and management to maximize flexibility and speed. Are you looking for such machine shop? Get in touch with Tag Team in Denver.