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Tornos Swiss ST turning center reduces costs by 66%
Tornos Swiss ST turning center reduces costs by 66%
Tornos Swiss ST turning center reduces costs by 66%
Tornos Swiss ST turning center reduces costs by 66%

Tornos Swiss ST turning center reduces costs by 66%

Added to MTDCNC by Tornos Technologies UK Ltd on 13 November 2013

For almost twenty years, Performance Design based in Boise, Idaho, has designed and manufactured paper punching machines used by Staples, Kinkos and in-house printing departments of large corporations.  Today, they have a 20,000sq/ft facility with 25 employees where they manufacture and sell over 20 different product lines including their Rhin-O-Tuff™ brand of punches, tools, binding machines and accessories used to bind paper with plastic combs, crimped wire, and spiral plastic coils.  

Until late 2012, they were outsourcing round, oval, square and rectangular metal pins used to punch the paper. The pins are between 1/8' and 5/16' diameter and about 2' in length which includes a 1/8' head gripped by the punch machine.  Approximately an inch of the pin punches through paper. The shape of the pin dictates the shape of the hole punched.  As part of a company-wide 'Go Lean' initiative that began in 2007, they decided that they needed to bring the pin manufacturing in-house, starting with their oval shaped pins.
 
Steven Parker, Project Engineer for Performance Design, explains the situation: 'Before the Tornos, we were having our pins made externally.  But we wanted to reduce costs and get control.'  

The company realized that in order to remain competitive, their manufacturing processes needed to be changed dramatically.  '‘Rather than sending production offshore, we decided to totally reinvent the way we manufacture our products. This impacted the way we ordered raw materials to the actual manufacturing processes of our heavy duty punches and binding equipment,’ said John Lugviel Vice President of Business Development for Rhin-O-Tuff.'  

In order to accomplish their Go Lean goals, they had to investigate a new type of machine tool to add to their mix of horizontal and vertical mills.  They needed to investigate turning centers. Like many manufacturers, Performance Design began their search for their new machine tool at IMTS.  'We went to IMTS and looked at four other turning machines, but didn’t get around to looking at the Tornos.'

'We were just about ready to purchase a different machine right after the show; but then we met with our local Tornos salesman, and he presented the specs on the Tornos Swiss ST 26 machine.  The Tornos looked like a great option.  Comparing it to similar machines in the market, we were expecting it to be another $100K more.  When we saw the features the Tornos had for the price, we had to start looking at it seriously.'  

The company realised they could make their oval pins and also the square and rectangular pins too, using the same round stock material they were going to use for the ovals.  'We actually went to see the machine in person to get a demonstration.  Tornos were able to run one of our rectangular pins, so we got to see exactly what we would be getting.'

'The way we used to make our square pins and the way we were planning to make them was with a square or rectangular raw material. Once we determined that the Tornos could use round material to make rectangular pins, we were hooked.  We went back to the other manufacturers to see if they could match the Tornos and their only answer would be jumping up to a $200,000-300,000 machine.  They had nothing in the Tornos Swiss ST price range.  They had a couple options with polygon turning; but for our application it just wasn’t going to be a viable option.'

'What we had to do is take the raw material from a round shape down to a square cross-section.  If you do it with one end mill, by the time you get down to your third or fourth flat, you have nothing supporting the cut from the other side.  It just causes all sorts of problems. The biggest thing that drew us to the Tornos was the ability for balanced milling.  Every other machine we looked at in this price range only had one tool platen.  Balanced milling took six or seven raw materials down to just two.'

'With the Tornos Swiss ST, we’re able to have two identical end mills pinching the material and supporting it.  They hold it straight so we’re not only able to get the raw material benefits, but now we’re doing all thirteen of our different pin shapes out of just two raw materials, 1/4' and 3/8' round 12L14 steel. We have also eliminated manual labour on pin head assembly.'
 
Before the Tornos, Performance Design square pins had a gripper head that required manual labour to assemble.  Parker explains.  'When we were using the square material, we had to drill a cross hole and then hammer in a roll pin to act as that head.  So it was additional labour for our assembly guys to have to do that on every one.  Now, we actually leave a round head at the end of the square pins. It looks a lot better and it saves us a lot of time.

 'With this being our first screw machine, we were worried about the changeover times (changing out collets and guide-bushings) for each pin.  But now that we only have the two raw materials, the changeover is really minimal.  

Performance Design makes the pins one at a time and the average cycle time is around 60 seconds, unmanned.  'The simple round ones are 36 seconds.  But the more complex, square ones are 70 seconds.  We accepted that the cycle times would be longer on the square pins; but it’s unmanned.'

On a normal book – an 8-1/2' x 11'stack of paper that requires binding – there would be between 30-40 holes along the bound length.  The pins are in a series of fifteen lengths to spread out the punching force so punching is easier and the acoustics are better.  

To eliminate the noise and make it easier for customers to use the punches, Rhin-O-Tuff pin sets come in a fifteen pin stagger.  The length of the shaft of the pin changes just a little bit from pin to pin in the set.  The pin sets were perfect for automation; so Performance Design investigated and purchased a parts carousel with fifteen bins on it.  'Our pins were already in a fifteen pin stagger and we found one that had exactly fifteen in it,' remarks Parker.  

'Tornos helped us set it up and they helped us out with a macro.  So now we just program in how many we want of each pin; for example, we enter ‘200 of each length’.  And it will make that length and then the macro built into each program will switch to the next length and index the carousel.  It keeps the pins organized for us as it makes the different lengths. We’re planning to be able to eventually run this lights out and get all of our pin production done during the night time and during the day we’ll hopefully have some available machine time to switch to other parts that take a little more surveillance.'

The company took delivery of their new Tornos Swiss ST 26 the last couple days of 2012 as an end of the year tax break rush.  And already they project that they’ll be making about 110,000 pins per year on their new machine.  The Tornos is helping Performance Design make parts so fast and efficiently that eventually, open machine time could allow Performance Design to become an outsource partner from the other side of the table.  'We’re open to the idea of doing parts for other manufacturers someday and we’ve had a local business ask if we could build some parts for them.  But at the moment, we’re only doing our own parts.'

The Tornos Swiss ST 26 Starter configuration was a linchpin for Performance Design’s Go Lean initiative. The Tornos was a great fit on price and capabilities and helped them transform the way they manufacture a key component in their product line.  The new Tornos has enabled a drastic in the company’s inventory needs. Their finished goods and raw materials inventory saw a 60% decrease with work-in-progress inventory cut in half. With improved quality control and less reengineering work the company has reduced its lead times from 10 down to 4 days.

The final result of the changes implemented with the Tornos was dramatic, with an overall reduction of 66 percent in overhead costs. Because of improved engineering, the company is now able to increase the warranty of its equipment to an unparalleled three years, up from one year.'

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