With proper setup CNC machines can run unattended with excellent production. If realized, this key CNC advantage can result in significantly higher profitability metrics for manufacturers. Below we have supplied a checklist for running effectively, unattended:
- Commit to running unattended:
At first glance this may be thought of as obvious but we believe it is a foundational mindset. Running unattended is not achieved by gradual process improvement but rather is a dedicated machining method, a starting point. Begin by deciding which CNC stations will be run largely unattended.
- Allocate resources well: Unattended machining requires additional setup and testing. None of us would bet every poker hand the same, but we often allocate capital expenditures and labor without the necessary analysis related to level of automation.
- Use tool monitoring: Machining unattended can be highly effective; un-monitored machining is never effective over time. Tools wear and break resulting in significant wasted time, material and any profits gained. Relative to machinery costs, the right tool monitoring is a minimal cost.
- Train personnel: Since tool monitoring is necessary for CNC machining, we must train our personnel to use this technology. Training is never a popular subject, but it is surprising how often installed tool monitoring is simply turned off because a team member does not thoroughly know how it functions. Like any component supplier, utilizing tool monitoring supplier “know how” to train key staff at installation is a good way to gain free training.
- Pick good partners: Picking service-driven suppliers allows lean manufacturers to leverage outside resources. While expert service work can be expensive, it is drastically less expensive than having full time unknowledgeable staff.
Techna-Tool Inc. is an international service company supplying tool monitoring technologies for 25 years. The company sells breakage, positioning, and power monitoring systems under the product names BK Mikro and Techna-Check. Check out Tool monitoring that works at www.techna-tool.com.