There are quite a few advantages of 5-Axis machining, particularly to machinists and skilled operators. Namely, they don’t have to spend an entire day chasing accurate measurements. The integrated controls ensure greater accuracy when it’s running, regardless of what the ambient temperature is when it’s running.
Okuma 5-Axis machinery has provided that, and more, for a long-time partner and client of Hartwig, Homeyer Precision Manufacturing, providing game-changing business innovations that increased not just accuracy, but also helped them attract a new class of professionals to their workforce.
Our partners at Homeyer Precision Manufacturing have always embraced technology throughout their 30-year history. They’ve been working with 5-axis technology for at least 10 years, and currently have six 5-Axis machines on the floor.
Due to the increased efficiencies and nearly countless other business advantages, they have continually increased their investment in 5-Axis machines to reduce costs, reinvest in their workforce, and increase the precision and complexity of the parts they fabricate.
Attract Young, Skilled Workforce
Skilled, motivated labor is critical to the productivity of any machine shop. Homeyer is always looking for innovative ways to maintain and expand their workforce and talent pool. The most significant game changer for Homeyer is their ability to attract excited workers with higher tech machines.
Young, talented engineers and designers pay attention to innovative parts via social media, and keeping them engaged absolutely requires high-tech environments.
The challenge of working with cutting-edge equipment like the Okuma attracts young, skilled labor who are always looking for new and diverse ways to expand and grow as professionals. The Okuma’s CAD features are so robust, younger workers are inspired by the 3-D features for modeling and design.
Working with those younger machinists and designers has revolutionized the culture at Homeyer. That fresh and invigorated workforce is an exciting ingredient in the company’s ongoing success. With their own revolutionary perspectives, they further innovate the parts that can compete with the technology that offshore companies are fabricating.
New parts & growing
Return on Investment
Streamlines the Operation
“We learned many years ago that young workers today have many tools at their fingertips, and they want to be gratified pretty quickly. They want something that keeps them charged up and doesn’t let them get bored. And the 5-Axis has done that for us. It’s also streamlined our entire operation.
Because they’ve been able to implement their processes through their 5-axis equipment, Homeyer has been able to scale down from 1,000 down to 30 fixtures.
Increase Complexity of Parts
With precision equipment, they can create more complicated and precise parts. With the Okuma, Homeyer can hold a true position of .2 inches with fewer dovetail or vice setups. It’s far easier to sequence an entire part process without having to re-indicate for every step, and this is all possible because of the 5-Axis, updating and changing the culture and decreasing costs as well.
With more advanced technology in the shop, Homeyer has evolved from a local business to one with clients across the entire country. Additionally, they are not relying exclusively on legacy orders, although that remains a healthy segment of their business. In the past two years, they’ve added over 1,000 new part numbers, creating a steady stream of growth and diversification to bring the company into the next generation of success.
Those parts are so complex to machine that it’s increased the value offering of Homeyer. Customers were either having challenges finding vendors for those parts or have 10 week wait times, where Homeyer can deliver them in 4 to 6. This has attracted a more world-class customer, as long as dropping the cost of delivery and improving their global reputation.
Reduced Cycle Times and Increased Productivity
Because you can combine multiple operations on a 5-Axis machine without having to reset for each cycle, the cycle time is reduced significantly. It’s also feasible and cost-effective to do complete runs and test unique parts, passing those additional services and convenience directly to U.S.-based companies.
With all of these advantages to their bottom line and removing bottlenecks from their workflow, Homeyer is able to realize an ROI on this equipment within 18 months. By cutting down each delivery cycle from roughly (on average) six weeks to four, they have increased their overall throughput and productivity. There’s also less revenue lost on scrap parts, cutting down further on per-part costs.
Maintenance Program Solves Downtime Issues
With Hartwig’s maintenance program, Homeyer has little-to-no downtime, which they attribute to the Okuma platform and Hartwig’s servicing capacity. Our teams remain committed to our preventive maintenance programs in order to make machines run smoothly.
Partnership for success
The teams at Hartwig and Homeyer have remained committed to the preventive maintenance program. As mentioned before, the new behaviors of the Homeyer plant team have made servicing the machines run smoothly for our service team at Hartwig. The dedication on both sides of our partnership continues to drive superior performance and operational excellence at Homeyer Precision Manufacturing.
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