We Are Listening…

“If you’re not listening, you’re not learning.”
– Lyndon B. Johnson

Heather Johnson, Project Coordinator –
Conducts Hartwig’s Customer Care Interviews

At Hartwig, we want to maintain a continuous conversation with our customers about how we serve them. What are we doing right, and what can we do better?

For the past few months, I have had the opportunity to speak with different manufacturers daily through phone calls and interactions with customers who have recently utilized the Hartwig service team. Each conversation revolves around how the experience was, what expectations we met, what we exceeded, and just as importantly, what did we miss.

It has been an incredible gift to hear about our organization from the perspective of our valued customers. Hartwig is committed to taking the feedback and unceasingly pursuing a reputation of delivering best in class customer service. In each future issue of the Diamond Mine newsletter, we will share what we are hearing from you and what we are doing to respond.

We want to continue the conversation and continue to learn where we can improve. If you have feedback for us, you can always email me (heather.johnson@hartwiginc.com) or call anytime at (314) 684-4120.

We are still listening…

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Hartwig Update – Industry 4.0 & Solutions to Support You

Good Day Everyone,

Much has happened since 2017 began, including a very welcomed increase in overall machine tool activity in the United States as well as a strengthening of our overall economy. As we enter the final stretch of the year, I wanted to take a few minutes to share the opportunities happening for all of us from the introduction of Industry 4.0, how Hartwig and our partners are assembling to be a part of it, and how we can support your success.

There is quite a bit of chatter in our industry about Industry 4.0; we heard about it on multiple occasions in the U.S. as well as on a recent trip to Germany. I would encourage anyone not familiar with the concepts to take the time to learn more about it and what it means for your company, as it truly is the next evolution of the industrial revolution in our businesses. Subjects include connectivity, automation, and instant access to DATA; yep, lots of data will be the key to being successful and competitive in the new industry on the factory floor and through the supply chain.

Here at Hartwig, our vision in this exciting time continues to focus on high quality and technologically advanced products to improve part manufacturing and support the competitive arena. Whether it is multi-axis machines from Okuma, Tsugami, and GF Machining Solutions, or new products like EOS to support production ready endeavors, we continue to look to provide products from not just technology players but technology innovators that will lead us into the second half of the 21st century.

In the middle of July, we finished a meeting in Munich, Germany where we met with and learned from our newest partner in Additive Manufacturing – EOS. For those participating in additive manufacturing, or thinking of getting into it, I can tell you first-hand that the technology and opportunities are incredible (you could even say mind altering). We are very proud to aligning ourselves with the world leader in DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) additive technology to support your organization’s future, not only in prototype development but into the production environment on the factory floor.

Internally, we continue to design more comprehensive platforms and programs to keep machines running consistently and accurately without the imposition of your business such as preventive maintenance and additional engineering support. The creation and improvements in our Engineering Services offering are designed to assist a customer with their manufacturing processes such as a full cradle to grave turnkey solution including run-offs holding CPK. Additionally, our Hartwig Innovative Technologies group has been designed with a specialized focus on Aerospace parts and technology to support the ever demanding supply chain process. These are just a few items designed to support the focus on our commitment to innovate and support our 14 states and customer base.

From a business systems standpoint, I am pleased to say that many key projects have been initiated with the goal of strengthening our business to improve your experience when interacting with our team. Our new field service software (FieldPoint), as well as a new phone system (ShoreTel), are two examples of these improvements to our systems that are currently rolling out.

As Hartwig looks ahead into how a distribution team should be able to perform and provide for our customers, whether its products, solutions, or industry shifts, our mission for nearly 60 years remains the same, “Helping people in manufacturing control their destiny every day.” This mission is even more critical in the Industry 4.0 world as technology changes from advancements once measured in decades will continue to align closer to Moore’s Law and lead to advancements measured in months.

I encourage you to reach out to your local Hartwig Sales Engineer and give us an opportunity to sit, listen, share, recommend and partner with you as we enter the Industry 4.0 adventure together.

Here’s to a strong finish for all in 2017!

Seth Machlus
VP of Operations, Hartwig Inc.

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M04 – Simple Command, Powerful Result

By Joe Thole, Application Engineer

If I could intone my text, this article would be in that old 1950’s PSA films for fallout shelters and gas mask sales pitches. What I have to say is going to sound about as comical as some of the gadgets and propaganda spread about around that time. So in my best 1950’s PSA voice:

  • Are chips and coolant splashing on the door glass of your CNC lathe obscuring your vision?
  • Is your machine not holding tolerances as well as it once had?
  • Are your parts showing chatter you don’t traditionally expect?
  • Is that chatter causing unpredictable tool life?

What if I told you about an amazing option available to use your CNC lathe that will add $0 cost to your machine while alleviating the aforementioned ailments?
This simple option can help all of those areas, and more!

It’s called “M OH Four” That’s right: M04.

M04 is an often forgotten feature with few limitations but many benefits which greatly outweigh the downfalls. However, this is one of the most overlooked, simple techniques that can be used in this ultra-modern world to help your shop become that much better.

If you’re already using M04, you are in a small but growing group of people who have seen these benefits first hand.

Why is this Simple Command So Powerful? … Simple Physics Really.

As you program your lathe to run, typically, one would use “M Oh Three” or M03, “spindle rotation, clockwise”. However, when they say “Clockwise” it is from the spindle’s perspective looking to the tailstock or what I refer to as the top of the chuck towards the operator. Simply put, anything that flies around inside your machine will promptly be thrown at the door, and its glass. This is not only irritating but can be dangerous. As chips fly, so will large parts, chuck jaws or anything else that may come loose. This means a part will have the tendency to fly towards the door and the operator. With the chuck rotating in M04, these chips, coolant, and parts will tend to fly first to the back of the machine, or, if they come loose on the downward portion of the rotation, be thrown first into the chip conveyor or at the way covers.

By the way, operators, wouldn’t it be easier to change your inserts out if they were on the top of the stick tooling instead of the bottom?
Well, with M04, it is! How about that?

What does that have to do with chatter and tolerances? I’m glad you asked! You see, with M03, as your part rotates, a tool needs to be mounted upside down in the turret to be in cutting position. This means the forces transferred to the tool are pushing up, or in the theoretical Y+ direction. That means all those cutting forces being used to shear metal are being transmitted into an area, the smallest area possible really, on your box ways, almost negating all gains boxed ways offer. I say almost because using linear or roller guides in the same fashion, the boxed ways STILL offer more rigidity. In fact, I would argue that using boxed ways incorrectly and linear guides correctly, the boxed ways are still the better choice, but I digress. Transmission of these forces on such a small area will, obviously, wear that small area out much more quickly than if it was 3-4x the area. Not to mention, pulling up on the turret is going against gravity, which means as you engage in a cut, you are pulling the turret off its ways, and as you come out of the cut, the turret is falling. This could also be caused by varying depths of cut or hardness of the material, which could, in turn, cause vibration. Don’t we all know what vibration does to carbide too well as it is? With M04, those cutting forces are playing a game of Follow the Leader and follow gravity, pushing the turret back into the X axis ways, and the carriage into the Z axis ways. As a result, there is no room for vibration; No vibration, less premature tool failure caused by vibration from the turret being lifted from the ways.

In one easy step, we’ve limited vibration to limit chatter, extended machine life by spreading the cutting forces to a larger area of ways, helped prevent premature tool failure, AND made it easier for the operator to change/service tooling.

But wait, there’s more!

This paragraph is usually exciting to the bean counters, I won’t lie. You see, when you use M04, not only do you get the above-mentioned perks, but you also get the added peace of mind that your tolerances will continue to hold tight for years and that you and your company are doing everything in its power to keep it that way. All those forces being pushed into an immovable object like the base casting prevent vibration and wear on the ways. This also assures the best setup for finish and tolerances. Using M04 will help assure the longest possible machine life, with one less issue possible. Then there’s one final perk. At least, for those using a sub-spindle machine, there is. When using a sub spindle, so many times, the main spindle runs in M03 and so does the sub spindle. This means that in relation to each other they are rotating BACKWARDS! Sub spindle tooling is, of course, mounted to be right side up, while main spindle tooling is upside down. This means, when you pick off a part, you must stop the sub spindle, rotate it in relative “reverse” to pick off a part, then stop it again to rotate it the correct direction for cutting. This equals lost time and extra wear just stopping and starting the spindle for no actual manufacturing good. Simply using M04 on the main spindle, and improving main spindle manufacturing means now your two spindles both rotate top away from the operator, meaning with regards to bar fed machines with pick-off, you never even need to stop the spindle unless you choose to when ejecting the part except during bar load.

Free efficiency gains, no investment required (other than tooling if you don’t already have it), better parts, potential longer tool and machine life, happier operators…

How much better can it get?

Okuma User Created an App to Simplify Operator Processes

Okuma’s OSP can make programming a family of parts easier using variables for less experienced operators. While conversational controls are becoming very commonplace in the general machine shop, Okuma’s open architecture control gives you the unlimited capability to build custom screen layouts for your particular application.

The video shows how an Okuma user created an app to simplify processes for their operators. Okuma customer, Moser Engineering, had operators without a lot of CNC machining experience, and they needed to find a way to make the user process on their machine tools as easy as possible. The video shows how the local Okuma distributor (Gosiger) went into the control and created a graphical user interface (GUI) so the Moser operators did not even see the OSP controls, nor did they have to call up any programs to use the machine. The app also provides safeguards so the operators cannot crash the machine tool.

The purpose of the video is to demonstrate how an open architecture control enables users to customize solutions that fit their unique needs and applications. Okuma’s CNC controls can be used to innovate and drive business growth in machine shops.

Contact us for more information!

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Modig’s HHV – Changing the Way of Manufacturing

Innovative manufacturing solutions are the standard for Modig Machine Tool’s offerings, and the HHV line is further proof of this. Consisting of the Modig HHV-3 and HHV-2, both machines in this line are ready to offer your operation serious return on investment.

The Modig HHV-3 (formerly known as the HHV Professional) has the ability to rotate 200-inch bar stock to allow for all-around access for aluminum milling of 3- and 4-axis parts within a 6″ x 10″ cross section in one operation. Reducing raw material waste by 20-30% and boasting faster cycle times of 40-60%, this revolutionary machine is ready to optimize your production while lowering costs. Machining aluminum or composite extrusions, the HHV-3 is ready to optimize aerospace production seat tracks, floor beams, stringer clips/brackets, fuselage stringers, or fuselage floor grid components, and various automotive components. Perfectly designed for all extrusions up to 60 feet long, this machine has three chucks to guarantee higher accuracy on long parts. This is ideal for parts such as seat tracks, with two chucks holding the piece at all times to reduce slippage between shuttling. The ground-breaking rotatory chuck design allows the HHV to control the reference jaw by using the CNC system, allowing for the jaw to clamp surfaces machined to a new position.

The Modig HHV-2 (formerly known as the Extrusion or BarMill) is a smaller version of the HHV-3. It utilizes two chucks instead of three. This extrusion mill also offers reduced cycle times and less raw material waste compared to traditional machining methods.

About Modig Machine Tool – When Modig Machine Tool was founded in 1947, offering customers the same industry standards as the rest was never the goal. Modig has always focused on exceeding the norm through constant advancement, unparalleled quality, and a tireless ingenuity. Innovation is a brand standard at Modig Machine Tool, and this is exemplified masterfully by the HHV line.

For more information, please contact your local Hartwig office or click here.

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Local Support & Stability: Keys to Success for Alpha Packaging

Founded in 1985, Alpha Packaging manufactures high-quality bottles and jars for nutritional, personal care, consumer chemical, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries. Driven by a demand exceptional quality, Alpha Packaging has eight bottle manufacturing plants across the United States, making 35 to 45 million bottles per month. At their main and largest production plant in St. Louis, Missouri, Alpha has one machine alone that is making 120,000 bottles a day, and there are four of these machines running!

Another unique feature of the St. Louis plant is that it is also where they engineer and machine all of the tooling for all of their plants to use. They machine almost every back plate, blow core, pre-form, or cavity mold in-house on their Okuma lathes and mills.

“We make the vast majority of both unit cavity and full production tooling in-house. This allows us better control over our quality and timing of new molds, and it enables you [our customers] to be actively engaged in each step of the design and engineering process.” – Alpha Packaging

Okuma LB4000 EX-II

Why Okuma?

Alpha Packaging trusts the high quality of the Okuma line to manufacture and maintain all of their own tooling. Since the small shop in St. Louis is providing tooling for all of their nationwide manufacturing facilities, keeping up with that demand means relying on their Okuma’s fast cycle times, precision tolerances and durability. They utilize the magnetic chucks on the tables to allow for quick change out of the workpieces. One of the first Okuma machines they purchased from Hartwig was the MX-45 VMC over 20 years ago. They are also running an Okuma L470M lathe, an MB-56VA mill, a CAPTAIN, an LB4000 EX-II M lathe, an Okamoto grinder, and an EDM from GF Machining Solutions.

“The Okuma is such a great machine that our 20-year-old mill is still running great.” – Clay Tyler, Machine Shop Supervisor

Why Hartwig?

Local support and service is the resounding reason Alpha Packaging prefers doing business with Hartwig when it comes to their machine tools. According to Tyler, in addition to a line of industry-leading machine tool brands, Hartwig’s service team is fast responding, well-trained, and keeps his machines up and running. Alpha Packaging also reaps the rewards from Hartwig’s preventive maintenance program as well – keeping their machines in great shape and preventing unnecessary downtime.

“Hartwig’s Service Team calls me every six months like clockwork to schedule our next preventive maintenance visit on the Okumas. The Service Engineer is so thorough when he performs the work that I know it is a huge reason our machines have such great uptime.” – C.T.

Alpha Packaging and Hartwig’s partnership is reinforced by both companies’ ability to capture the importance of delivering a best-in-class experience for their customers via extensive stock and customization. One of Alpha Packaging’s strengths is their high quantity of stock bottles and jars available for customers, similar to the millions of dollars in spare parts inventory that Hartwig offers.

When it comes to customization, both Alpha Packaging and Hartwig have entire teams dedicated to helping customers engineer solutions specifically designed for their needs. Hartwig will customize the strength and features of the Okuma line and their controls to benefit the individual needs of that customer’s shop just as Alpha Packaging will customize the material, color, strength, and shape of a bottle to exceed the expectations of their customers.


For more information contact:

Clay Tyler, Alpha Packaging
1555 Page Industrial Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
(314) 427-4300, ext. 167

Nick Berilla, Hartwig Sales Engineer
16107 Trenton Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132
(314) 493-9940

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MSU Denver Aerospace Building

Hartwig Inc. is Proud to Announce Partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver to Meet Talent Needs for Manufacturing

Hartwig is proud to announce a partnership agreement with Metropolitan State University of Denver. MSU Denver has laid the foundation to become a preeminent advanced manufacturing education university serving the workforce development needs of the Denver region and the entire state of Colorado.

This endeavor between Hartwig and MSU Denver represents a critical element of the University’s primary focus on advancing labor force skills. By virtue of the partnership, participating students will receive hands-on experience working with state-of-the-art programmable machine tools, some of which will be equipped with advanced robotic accessories. MSU Denver faculty and students will benefit extensively from exposure to Hartwig’s premium brands and affiliate companies, as will the manufacturing base of Colorado and the region, by virtue of its anticipated interaction with the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute.

“Providing the future workforce with skills for the next generation of innovative processes, materials, and machines is critical to growing the manufacturing industry. Hartwig supports the MSU Denver program and the opportunity it presents to enhance our local manufacturers’ ability to keep pace with the constant innovation associated with these advanced products,” said Brian Toomey, Division President for Hartwig Mountain Region.

“It’s extremely exciting to know that our students and faculty will be exposed to state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment through our partnership with Hartwig. In addition, the wealth of technical knowledge that is represented by Hartwig and its partner companies is truly remarkable and will benefit the AMSI program tremendously,” said Robert Park, Ph.D, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute at MSU Denver.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on June 22, 2017. Hartwig will provide $2 Million worth of valued products such as: CNC machines, tooling, consumables, software, and inspection equipment to contribute to the education of future students and their great advancements. A 10-year agreement has been set for CNC machines at no cost to the university.

“This is a unique arrangement that doesn’t exist in many parts of the country.” – Stephen Jordan, Metro State University President

To see a recent Denver CBS feature story on this endeavor: Education & Business Come Together 4 Colorado To Bridge The Skills Gap

About Metropolitan State University of Denver MSU – Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 67 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, business, health administration, teaching and social work. Nearly 20,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s more than 88,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce.

For more information visit: https://msudenver.edu/

About Hartwig Inc. – Founded in 1960, Hartwig has become the largest distributor of machine tool solutions and inspection equipment in the Midwest, Southwest and Mountain Regions. Built on a foundation of fairness, after-sales support, and hard work, the company has grown to more than 170 employees covering eight office locations in 14 states including Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Hartwig partners with its customers to optimize machining performance, decrease downtime and improve the overall efficiency of equipment and applications. The company prides itself on not just being a machine tool distributor, but a true solutions provider intent on assisting customers in controlling their destiny and keeping manufacturing within the U.S. The company delivers applications expertise to numerous industries, including aerospace, computer, construction, farming, fluid power, industrial machining, medical, oil and gas energy, and semiconductor processing. Hartwig’s name is synonymous with quality, service, support, and engineering.

Hartwig Inc. is an official distributor for Okuma, Tsugami, Modig, GF Machining Solutions, Okamoto, EOS, SNK and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

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Tool Life Management – Eliminating The “Break” In Your Production

By Mike Wolf, Application Engineer

Are operators changing inserts and tools too often or not often enough? These common practices can result in unnecessary, expensive downtime. How can you keep production running when a tool breaks? Obtaining a variety of backup tools can be of some help; however, the fact remains that the tool maintenance process must shut down the machine in order for the necessary tasks to be performed. The solution is here: TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT.

Okuma’s TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT, a standard feature on both machining center and lathe controls, is an implemented process that enables users to gather predictable and accurate life information regarding a specific tool. Eliminating the guesswork can eliminate the “break” in productivity.

TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT allows you to do just that. The machine continues to run while a tool is being switched so there is no downtime and no productivity break. Not only will your machine keep running, the frequent scrapping of parts and/or damaging of tool holders will now be expunged. This state-of-the-art process assists both the inexperienced and experienced in an easy-to-follow process. The benefits are tremendous for new operators who may not have the familiarity to know when an insert tool needs to be changed yet.

Let’s take a look at how this process works. For a lathe, under the TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT page (found within the Tool Data Mode), we assign tools to groups by setting a group number for the tool in the GRP column. If we have two or more identical tools assigned to the same group, the machine will automatically use the second tool when the first tool is out of tool life. We then signify to control three offset numbers we want to use for each tool, specifying an offset number in the “OG1, OG2, or OG3” column. Within this program, we do not adopt turret station numbers, rather we program the tools’ group numbers. For example, TG=01. When running these numbers, the machine looks for a tool in a group whose life is not expired. When found, the unexpired tool is then used. The tool’s offset number is then programmed, such as, OG=01. In the example shown, to use Tool Number 1, we program “TG=01 OG=01”. Note: a tool can be the only tool in a group. When a tool is no longer usable, without any spare tools available, an alarm is given and the machine stops.

Once we determine the maximum number of parts or cutting minutes tools can safely run, we set that number into the “SET” column. As each part is completed, a command in the program causes the count to be incremented and the number in the “ACTUAL” column is then increased. When the ACTUAL number equals the SET number, the tool is flagged as NG (No Good). The machine will stop and an alarm will occur.

Long Runs and Long Cycle Times

If you’re doing short run parts, these options are not really needed in your shop. But they’re extremely useful for automotive shops doing long runs and aerospace applications dealing with long cycle times.

The primary benefits of the TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT process include the overall increase in predictable machine efficiency and the reduction in tooling costs. For further information regarding TOOL LIFE MANAGEMENT, contact us today!

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Preventive Maintenance Provides Peace of Mind, Minimizes Costs and Downtime

When you hear the words “preventive maintenance” what comes to mind? Do you shudder at the thought of taking a machine tool out of production, losing precious time and money? Or are you meticulous about taking care of your investment so it will last for the long haul?

At Hartwig, we encourage our customers to have a proactive preventive maintenance plan in place for all machine tools and accessory equipment in their shop. Regular inspections and service can help to significantly reduce unnecessary downtime, lost production, late deliveries and expensive machine repairs.

Regular inspection and service lessens the likelihood of equipment failure. Preventative maintenance is performed while the equipment is still working so it does not break down unexpectedly.

While Okuma lathes are rugged and highly reliable, they even require routine maintenance. Robbie Williams, Applications Engineer for Okuma America Corporation posted this handy checklist of typical lathe maintenance items.

Daily Care and Feeding of Your CNC Machine

  • Check hydraulic pressure to make sure it’s at 4.5 MPa
  • Check hydraulic fluids to make sure they’re at the right operating level
  • Check to make sure the chuck pressure is at the right operating pressure
  • Make sure the way lube level is at the right operating level, and replenish if needed
  • If your CNC machine has a cooling system, make sure the cooling unit level is at the right operating level
  • Clean the chips out of the chip pan, and grease any part that may need to be greased
  • Clean off the window of the door and the light so you can see inside your machine
  • Wipe down any stainless steel way covers and lubricate them with hydraulic oil so they move smoothly

On a weekly basis, or every 40 hours, take the filter off the CNC control cabinet and clean it so air will be able to flow through for cooling.

Every Three Months or 500 Hours

  • Check and grease the chain on the chip conveyor
  • Check and clean the filters on the coolant tank

Every Six Months or 1000 Hours
Contact Hartwig to have the following preventive maintenance performed by our certified technicians:

  • Have the coolant tank cleaned of sludge, chips, and oil
  • Have the chuck and jaws taken off the machine and cleaned
  • Have the hydraulic tank drained and replace the hydraulic oil with fresh hydraulic oil – also have the line filter and suction filter changed
  • Have the radiator cleaned and make sure the radiator fins are straight
  • Have the lubrication unit drained and cleaned out – then add fresh way lube
  • If your machine is equipped with a cooling unit, have the unit drained and refilled
  • Have the leveling of your machine checked and adjust if necessary
  • Have all way wipers inspected for any damage – clean and replace any wipers that are damaged

Once a Year or Every 2000 Hours
Contact your local Hartwig office and have the following inspected:

  • Have the headstock checked for taper
  • Have the spindle checked for radial and end play
  • Have the chuck cylinder checked for run out
  • Have the tailstock checked for taper
  • Have the turret parallelism and inclination checked
  • Have your distributor run a backlash program to check the backlash in X and Z axis and adjust if necessary
  • Have your distributor check the X and Z axis gibs and adjust if necessary

PM Savings
Our preventive maintenance service and inspections will:

  • Extend the life of your CNC machines
  • Entitle you to a discount on all service parts for repairs made (or recommended and ordered within 30 days)
  • Reduce repairs and unplanned breakdowns by exposing potential problems before they lead to larger-scale, more expensive repairs

Hartwig’s Service Engineers are certified to perform required maintenance on all Okuma CNC machines. Even if your machine tool has no problems, our PM inspection makes sure that everything is working in the most efficient manner. They can also provide training and can design customized, planned preventive maintenance programs to fit your shop’s needs.

Contact Hartwig for more details.

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The Speed of Efficiency

By Rick Spencer, Productivity Specialist, CMfgE

In today’s world of digital technology, we can find answers to problems in a matter of seconds where previous generations had to research for hours or days in books and other printed text. As a result of this technology, we have become more efficient with our day to day communications and research. We can diagnose problems over the internet and watch videos on YouTube of how to fix them.

As a machine tool distributor we work with many facets of manufacturing. Some produce a high volume of parts with fully automated processes whereas other manufacturers are running smaller batch runs on less complicated equipment. Typically the annual quantity and tact time are the determining factor for the equipment. In this day and age we try to look at things from a lean manufacturing point of view and minimize waste anyway we can. That waste could be time, resources, extra steps within the process, or scrap.

As we look for ways to help improve our customer’s efficiencies, we try to minimize the extra steps within a given process and decrease the changeover time. The changeover is done when switching to a different part number or setup; for instance, on a lathe an operator will change out the chuck jaws and maybe tooling before running the next part number. These may seem like simple things to change during the setup but each one of these has other steps associated with it (e.g. re-boring jaws, setting tool offsets, etc.) unless quick change workholding and tooling have been implemented within the machine.

Rick Article 1Both of these quick change examples come with an upfront investment but can pay for themselves in months. With a quick change chuck, there is rarely the need to re-bore jaws as the guaranteed repeatability is around <0.02mm (.0008”) and jaw changes can be completed in less than one minute. There are other benefits to the quick change chucks as well such as:

– Longer stroke
– Modular center sleeves
– Large center holes
– One piece jaws (monoblock)
– Increased safety factor due to the wedge bar serrations

Once we have implemented the quick change setup, we can create a simple setup sheet for each job that shows where the jaws are positioned from the OD of the chuck. This will give the operator an easy way to set his jaw position the next time he runs the job.

Rick Article 2Similar to the quick change chuck, quick change tooling saves time during the setup process and can eliminate the need to touch off tooling with the tool setter. It is also possible to have the offset read from a barcode that is on the toolholder. This works great for shops that set their tooling offline on a tool pre-setter. The operator can scan the barcode and the offset is automatically loaded to the proper tool offset on the machine. This removes the possibility of the operator accidently keying in the wrong offset. Other benefits of quick change tooling include:

– Coolant plumbing through the tool
– Rigid & repeatable tool connection
– High Pressure Coolant ready (some tooling is specifically designed to be used with High Pressure Coolant which can aid in breaking chips and running higher surface footages)

Our Engineering team at Hartwig Inc. implements this kind of technology on machine tools on a daily basis. This helps make our customers more efficient with their day to day operations. If you feel you could benefit from more efficient processes or technology please feel free to give your local Hartwig Sales Engineer a call or you can call your local Hartwig office and speak with one of our Application Engineers.

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