Out Front with Andre Ey
Adopting a Production Mindset to Increase Efficiency
Die and mold shops across North America are increasingly adopting a production mindset, in order to meet growing customer demands for lower costs and shorter lead-times. They are seeking out new methods of fixturing, tooling and machining that enable fewer setups, reduce labor and provide greater throughput.
As part of the trend to increase efficiency, the adoption of automation is growing rapidly and can take many forms. From the simple act of introducing automatic pallet-changers with modular fixture systems) to implementing entire automated systems, leading die and mold shops across North America rely on qualified and experienced engineering service providers like Makino that can help them identify and implement the most appropriate automation solutions for their applications and processes.
As businesses apply these production methodologies to their operations, high-performance horizontal machining centers (HMCs) are transforming the die/mold environment. These HMCs provide numerous benefits, including boosting throughput and overall capacity, helping businesses to grow and be more competitive. The automatic pallet-changers found on this equipment enable rapid workpiece changeover, higher equipment utilization, flexibility for engineering changes and, ultimately, faster overall return on investment.
Some of the companies mentioned in this issue of Competitive Mold Maker, including Build-a-Mold and TK Mold, have also added modular work-holding systems to reduce setup time. The flexibility of these systems has helped increase production, even while performing one-off mold machining. Other companies have applied data-driven manufacturing methods to gain greater efficiency in their production operations. This shop-floor monitoring provides actionable data regarding the performance of each machine or system, so that managers and operators may improve processes in real time. Thanks to the multiple types of production-monitoring software and hardware technology available, getting the most out of a shop-floor environment through this type of information is just a mouse click away.
As mold makers continue to be challenged by low-cost manufacturers overseas, the pursuit of a production mentality can definitely bring greater efficiencies; but die and mold shops must invest wisely, utilizing Makino machines that maintain their accuracies and ability to generate fine finishes for years to come.
Don’t underestimate the value of reliable machinery and automating it intelligently with a reliable partner. Makino provides both the equipment and engineering expertise to reliably support your operation, from design through implementation and ongoing technical and operational support.
Makino Die Mold & EDM Technologies