In this age of financial cutbacks and budget belt-tightening, we’ve all learned to watch our money just a little more closely – and it’s no different in the manufacturing industry.
Despite a decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed 25 per cent of UK GDP, the sector is thriving. The UK is currently the world’s eighth largest industrial nation and, if current growth trends continue, it will break into the top five by 2021.
However, with the uncertainties surrounding Brexit looming large, gone are the days of frivolous spending based on flimsy business cases.
Industry 4.0 – the catch-all term for what is regarded as the fourth industrial revolution – is essentially about working more intelligently. The truly ‘smart’ factories are taking full advantage of technological advancements to create smoother processes through digitisation, leading to totally productive environments.
The advanced tool presetting, measurement and management solutions provided by ZOLLER UK are already setting scores of people on the right path.
Getting more out of your existing assets
Historically, if a production operation was running at full capacity, it would simply look to buy a new CNC machine. Problem solved.
But there is a better, more cost-effective way.
In order to remain competitive in modern manufacturing, shrewd businesses know they must invest more wisely, increasing efficiency without compromising end-product quality.
ZOLLER offline tool presetters specialise in finding and freeing-up capacity that already exists within a factory, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new CNC machine.
Its world-leading technology prepares tools ready for machining with micron precision, meaning they work to their optimum level, last longer, improve surface finish quality and dramatically reduce non-conforming and rejected parts.
Crucially, rapid tool changeovers mean your machine tool’s spindles never need to stop turning and it can be left alone to get on with the job it was intended to do – making parts.
No matter how advanced an on-machine laser setting system, it tends to be unreliable as it cannot validate critical tool features such as diameters, corner radii, step lengths and run-out, significantly increasing the risk of machine crashes and failures. No business we know can afford for that to happen.
With on-machine setting, even 50 tool changes per day, taking three minutes per tool, will cost you 150 minutes – or two-and-a-half hours – in lost production time. That’s 12-and-a-half hours each five-day week.
But not with ZOLLER presetting technology. What could you achieve with those valuable extra hours of production capacity?
‘You’ll see immediate benefits’
Specialist die castings manufacturer MRT Castings opted for a smile420 tool-presetter supplied by ZOLER UK – and reduced factory down time by two hours a day.
The Hampshire-based firm estimates a 15-minute time saving on each of up to eight daily tool set-ups, dramatically increasing its capacity and productivity.
It has also reported a significant increase in tool accuracy, meaning its parts are coming off the production line right first time, every time.
Managing Director Phil Rawnson said: “Our components are becoming increasingly complex and applications are becoming increasingly demanding, therefore accuracy and consistency of machining is paramount. In parallel, there is the constant goal to increase productivity and remain competitive.
“Our ZOLLER tool presetter contributes to achieving both objectives.
“Tools are now preset offline rather than on the machine, so this reduces spindle down time and in turn increases capacity.
“Measuring is more accurate too. We look more closely at every tool, avoiding starting production with worn or damaged ones. There is also less room for error in data entry, so our proportion of first-offs which are right first time has improved.
“Our entire machine shop is connected through a DNC interface. We have been able to link the smile420 to this, enabling all tool measurements to be directly loaded into any of our CNC machines, avoiding the need to output the measurements to a report and key this information into the machine tool.
“This direct exchange of data saves time and eliminates potential errors.
“With a ZOLLER machine you’ll see immediate benefits. If you arrange a demo you can instantly calculate the potential return on investment in time saved, so it is easy to justify any spend.”
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