MACHINE shop operators know that the key to profitability is keeping their machine tool spindles ‘in the cut’ and that any lost time means poor utilisation of their assets, which in turn leads to reduced income.
Methods of reducing set-up times when changing from one job to another offers the most significant opportunity to minimise lost machining time, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.
One proven method of achieving this goal is the implementation of a zero point mounting system which allows short changeover times whilst maintaining accuracy. The system provides precise locating and clamping of work holding devices such as vices, chucks, mandrels and clamping jigs onto the machine table.
These work holding devices are fitted with a series of locating nipples ‘couple’ with a receiver mounted onto the machine table. Once the work holding device is engaged with the receiver it is swiftly clamped by hydraulic pressure from either a manual or an automatic pump. The whole process takes just a few minutes.
This can save a great deal of time, for example a manual changeover takes 20 minutes, compared to four with the zero point method. Wth five setups in each shift and 200 shifts in a year that totals 266 hours saved.
Of course every job will have differing setup times, and some shops operate on more than one shift per day, but operators can do their own sums based upon their own circumstances. A potential saving of around 266 hours per year offers thousands of dollars in additional profit.
Zero point systems can be used on both vertical and horizontal machines and in any process where numerous setup changes are causing significant down times.
These systems also allow for improved quality as the workpiece can be clamped once and moved from machine to machine in the same work-holding device for subsequent operations. This eliminates the potential inaccuracies that can arise from multiple setups and clampings.
Several manufacturers of vices and chucking systems now also offer standard products that are “zero point ready”, eliminating the need for sub-plates. One such supplier is work-holding specialist Hilma, which has released a range of vices with a matching zero point quick clamping base.
For more information contact:
E – firstname.lastname@example.org
W – www.romheld.com.au