Benefits of Setup Reduction
One of the greatest challenges we face in providing machined aerospace components is controlling costs when the order lot size or volume varies from one to many thousands. As the concerns for inventory costs heightens, lot sizes continue to be reduced. The challenge is, once we have fixed setup costs (regardless of lot size), how do you keep your costs down? One of the keys is minimizing setup costs.
We have made substantial investments in equipment, software, and training to address this cost challenge. One area that we have identified and focused our efforts on to facilitate improvements and achieve cost reduction is improving setup efficiencies and reducing setup times.
Part of our improvement process is identifying types of equipment that would help us achieve these goals. Out of our conversations with our staff, we identified specific types of equipment needed to achieve our goals. The primary type of CNC machines needed were multi/axis turn-mill CNC machines. We have purchased several pieces of this type of equipment.
Most of the parts that we produce have both turning and milling operations. Obviously, moving a part from a lathe to a mill is not as efficient as being able to machine the part in a single chucking. The same goes for a dual spindle machine, moving the workpiece from spindle A to spindle B with no operator intervention. We specifically identified our needs as the following:
- The ability to hold the part in a single chucking greatly reduces the need for multiple setups, helping reduce setup costs.
- Fewer setups mean reducing chances for tolerance “stack up”, which reduces possibilities for scrap.
- Twin spindles allow the transfer of the part from side A to side B with no operator intervention, and we are able to maintain proportionate geometries, achieving better quality.
- 5-axis simultaneous machining allows tilting of the tool holder or chucking device, creating better tool clearance and fewer restrictions for generating part geometry.
- The design of our 5-axis machine tools allows for the tilting of the tool or chucking device, which helps maintain optimum cutting position and constant chip load and also helps produce better surface finishes.
All of the above-mentioned points have been critical in helping us achieve our goals of setup reduction and improving component quality.
Our Most Recent Investment
Our most investment, a DMG Mori NTX series, meets the criteria as outlined above. It represents maximum productivity in the production of complex turn-mill components. The machine has twin spindles, a B axis, and a tool changer. We are capable of producing the most demanding workpieces with maximum precision and efficiency. This multi-axis machine is ideally suited for our aerospace, defense, and space customers. It also lends itself to any markets that require high precision and fine finishes.
Intrex Aerospace offers a complete supply chain solution. Our Epicor software system monitors and controls the scheduling, throughput, and reporting of all our production work as it flows through our shop. We also provide engineering support, management of outsourcing of finishing processes, light assembly, kitting, and more. To learn more about Intrex Aerospace’s multi-axis machining capabilities for the aerospace and defense industries, contact us today.