Challenge: Traditional CNC equipment was used with a legacy approach
Machining Solution: Tsugami B0205-III
Result: Cut production time from 2 minutes to 23 seconds
Location: Tomball, TX
*AS SEEN ON www.apsplastics.com
Increase in Production, Faster Process, and Higher Quality Finish
APS Plastics & Manufacturing (APS) is transitioning to be a manufacturing 4.0 company, through automation, developing talent within, and embracing new technology and equipment. Recently, we invested in new equipment and powerful software to drive it – the Tsugami Swiss Machine and ESPRIT CAD/CAM software – which showcased dramatic improvements in production. On one particular plastic part, it cut production time from two (2) minutes down to 23 seconds. This led to:
- Faster turnaround
- Better quality finish
- Consistent results among each part
Traditional CNC equipment was used with a legacy approach: when making a part, material hangs out of the chuck and the tool engages it. The problem with the approach is that when the tool engages the material, the part deflects. There is a tool change involved, moving away from the machining zone and index, to the next tool being used. Moving mechanical parts and motion creates heat; causing the machine and parts to swell. Additionally, with the legacy approach, projects were two (2) operations and included a manual, labor-intensive moving process of parts from one machine to the next. All of this slows cycle time, cut depths, and speed.
APS strives to embrace technology and challenges. “In our efforts to become a manufacturing 4.0 company, it was time to make improvements in-house to stay ahead of the industry. The purchase of the Tsugami and ESPRIT CAD/CAM software would bring change in operations and routine, challenges for our people, as well as a great expense. However, we knew in the long run it would yield vast improvements, making it all worth the while. We are fortunate to have a team of hard workers, not afraid to take on a challenge. After proper training on the equipment, they set goals to get better and discover ways to cut off even more production time” – Mush Khan, CEO.
How the Machine Helped:
The manufacturing process of the Tsugami* is a bit different than the legacy approach. The material feeds in and out of the chuck and the tools are stationary. The material is held in guide bushing and feeds past the tool; where there is no longer any deflecting. This alone results in major changes: increase in speed and feed & reduction in cut and overall cycle times.
How the Software Helped:
ESPRIT CAD/CAM allowed us to quickly automate the machine, without several manual programming steps – drastically cutting down on time. The software allows us to import files and drawings to create 3D models. We also used ESPRIT’s simulation feature to test the program before making the parts, which reduces the risk of machine damage and scrapped parts. For this process, APS worked with Shape Design Technologies, Inc., the Texas and Louisiana ESPRIT integrator, who helped with the initial setup and will continue to support throughout the transition.
The Tsugami and ESPRIT CAD/CAM software, not only process faster, but also present a significantly better-quality finish. This new approach holds size remarkably well, as the repeatability is great. Consistent results make for happy customers. Using the Tsugami, there is less wasted motion, no issues with heating/cooling, fewer jams and errors, and the entire process is a one (1) production project.
“With the faster process and better-quality finish, APS cut cycle times and got parts out to customers quicker, enabling us to take on more work and be more competitive.” Mush Khan, CEO.
The excellent automation and consistency of the new machines and software have freed up the time of our highly skilled machinists, giving them the flexibility to work on various projects and/or high value areas, rather than getting tied into monitoring/managing one project from start to finish. The highly skilled machinists can now begin a project and pass it along to other team members to monitor/manage. The bar feeders even help move parts along, no longer requiring a manual, labor-intensive process.
COMPARING RESULTS OF TRADITIONAL vs. TSUGAMI MACHINE:
After measuring the results of a project for one of our customers, we present you the following results:
76% PRODUCTION INCREASE
WORKING WITH HARTWIG AND REM SALES:
APS had the privilege to work alongside both Hartwig and REM Sales during the transition process to the new Tsugami machine. They were highly supportive, engaged, resourceful, responsive, and provided beneficial recommendations. Our strong partnership led to the formation of a great team in APS’ time of improvements.