Manufacturing firms continuously face challenges like increasing input costs, domestic and international competition, higher costs for energy & resources, etc. In this scenario, how can the companies remain competitive? The answer is by increasing productivity and maintaining high-quality standards. But how do we achieve higher production output when budgetary constraints often bind us? How do we get higher production output without procuring new machines? Let’s dwell upon how we can increase productivity using the same production set-up.
Reducing in-process rejections is one of the best methods to increase productivity. But it is easier said than done. By conventional thinking, the source of any rejection can be attributed to three factors – man, machine & methods. Man & methods are related to the personnel, the skills they possess, the training imparted to them and the processes defined to follow. We will focus on the machine part.
The machine environment is often the primary cause of rejections. Different elements, like tool holders, machine spindle, coolant, machine condition affect productivity. Let us see how these factors cause rejections, and we can implement new technologies to reduce or even eliminate rejections.
Tool holders are the interface between the machine spindle & tool. The machining output quality and the life of the cutting tool depends on the quality of tool holding. If the efficiency of tool holding is not proper, it can lead to improper surface finish, bad hole quality, tool slipping and causing accidents. To check the clamping efficiency of hydraulic holders, high accuracy digital gauges can be used to display easy-to-identify values, segregate faulty hydraulic holders and get them serviced in time. Regular checking and maintenance of hydraulic holders can improve component output and increase tool life.
Similarly, the machine spindle clamping and runouts can also be monitored using spindle clamping efficiency checking gauges and tapering proofing bars to reduce errors.
Coolant is another important aspect of the machining activity. The parameters of coolant, like coolant pressure (Bar), coolant flow (LPM), and the concentration (%), have to be maintained at recommended levels and regularly monitored. Failure to do so can lead to increased friction at the tool-component tool-chips interfaces, which will lead to overheated component & tool, reduced tool life and improper finish in components.
Coolant filtration is one of the main factors in maintaining the above factors. To check the coolant pressure output and filtration efficiency, we can use a coolant pressure & flow checking gauge and coolant filtration efficiency instrument to monitor coolant parameters.
Using optimum cutting speeds and feeds, combining operations will help reduce cycle time and the number of tools used. Productivity improvement activities in collaboration with cutting tool suppliers can be carried out.
Chip-based monitoring of machining parameters interfacing machines with ERP & CNC program software interface offers the benefits of effective job management and devising foolproof work plans. Real-time production monitoring and preventive maintenance schedules can extract higher output from existing resources.
It is always the right time for the manufacturing set-ups to engage & embrace the latest technology available in preventive maintenance, tooling and gauges in their regular functioning to achieve higher production efficiency.