Original Date: 02/09/1998
Revision Date: 04/22/2003
Information : Computer Numerical Control Quick Setups
Set-up time for machine tools can be a time-consuming step in the machining process. UE implemented a quick set- up method for part of its Computer Numerical Control (CNC) production capability. This method enables operators to change out tooling much faster than previous methods. Previously, operators used Allen wrenches to remove four screws in a tool head on the turret of the CNC machine; replaced the cutting tool on the tool head; and then put the tool head back on the turret. The operator then zeroed out every tool location on the turret so the program could accurately perform the proper machining operation.
Upon converting the CNC machining area to a one-piece flow system, UE needed a quicker method of changing out the machine tools. The company worked with its four tool suppliers, and then selected one to help develop the necessary fixturing. The process now requires the operator to loosen only one screw and snap the tool head out of a quick release socket. The cutting tool is fastened to the tool head, and its location is accurately determined on a measuring instrument. The operator then snaps the tool head back into the turret and tightens the single screw. The measured location of the cutting tool is programmed into the CNC machine.
UE’s quick set-up method reduced the set-up time for machine tools by 15% to 20%, and enabled the CNC machining area to realize a 50% increase in revenues by redirecting some machining work back to UE from outside contractors. In addition, another important process was developed through the use of a one-piece flow system. The company now videotapes the CNC machining area’s processes a few times a week and looks for improvements. This technique resulted in centralizing the tools in one area; moving raw material closer to the worksite; using set-up carts for different jobs; reducing the number of tool suppliers; and using status charts and other visual aides to help operators perform their tasks. UE’s commitment to incrementally improving its processes is providing benefits throughout the entire factory.
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