How We’re Improving Quality, Delivery and Cost of Complex Parts
At JR Machine, we have a long history of implementing lean manufacturing and continuous improvement best practices. It helps that our customers keep us on our toes and require us to always look for creative ways to drive greater value on complex parts.
Today we wanted to focus on three ways we are improving quality, increasing delivery speed, and reducing costs:
1.) Using Automation to Load Blanks
Even though we have exceptionally skilled CNC machine operators in our turning centers, the reality is people aren’t as precise as machines, and anytime there is human involvement, there will be some variability. Our process for loading blanks has become more automated. In addition to loading blanks, we can also load bars into our system where it feeds the bar, centers the bar and cuts it to length. When we’re able to mass produce parts in this fashion, they’re machined faster because we load just one piece of material to machine many parts. Quality is improved due to machine consistency, and costs are contained by reducing operations and time. In our milling centers we also use high density part fixtures whenever possible. This allows us to mill 20 parts at one time, for example, rather than one part 20 times.
2.) Our Cellular Machining Arrangement
Years ago we made a strategic decision to be a DMG MORI shop with a common platform. We’ve arranged our floor layout in cells, each consisting of two machines with live tooling. This allows our machine operators to complete operations all in one cell. To increase efficiency, our shop benches and cabinets are custom-made to be identical from cell to cell. Since each cell is exactly the same and all tools and equipment are in the same spot, set ups are faster and our machinists are more efficient. This helps us deliver faster to our customers.
3.) How We Use Raw Materials
We’re now working with “near net shapes” more regularly. Rather than machining a part from a solid blank, we can use forgings that are much closer to the size and shape of the finished piece. This approach requires less cutting which is much faster and creates less waste. Working from a forging instead of a bar also improves quality by providing better material properties.
We also are very committed to Industry 4.0 and actively monitor and measure our processes and progress. We’ll explore the concepts in greater detail in the future, but if you have interest in learning more about how JR Machine is improving quality, increasing delivery speed and reducing costs, please let us know.