APPLICATION: Maximizing Capacity of a New Vertical Machining Center
BACKGROUND: Founded in 1956 as a manufacturer of automatic lubrication systems, Rimrock has expanded to supply products including ladles, sprayers, extractors and complete turnkey robotic systems. As an exclusive integrator for ABB robots, Rimrock designs, manufactures and installs systems for applications ranging from material handling to parts finishing for the die casting, forging and foundry industries. Rimrock customers rely on the company’s 24-hours/day accessibility, a consideration in all aspects of the Rimrock operation, including design, manufacture and service.
Rimrock manufactures industrial spray equipment, including several handheld spray guns that require machined castings for the bodies. These castings were machined on a Brother® TC 229 vertical machining center (VMC) using a progressive, manually loaded fixture that finished one spray gun per cycle with separate setups required for each spray gun model. According to Rimrock Machine Shop Manager Wes Dodge, "Moving each different part through progressive fixtures tied up the Brother TC 229 which we also use for manufacturing many other parts. We were challenged to keep up with sales demand with short lead times – this was a real problem."
- 2-1/2 days required to set up and run kanban loads for each of three spray gun models
- Ongoing machine operator overtime costs to maximize machine usage
Machinist Jason Richardson agreed with Dodge, "We were always playing catch up to try and free up the Brother TC 299. We needed to find a better way."
Rimrock purchased several new Hardinge® VMCs, one of which was dedicated to machining these spray gun castings. They also purchased a Jergens 4” monoquad vise with a round base for use with a Troyke NC-10-B indexer. In addition, Rimrock precision-machined the Jergens full-faced vise plates to exactly accommodate the dimensions of the spray gun castings.
This combination of new machine and workholding enabled Rimrock not only to access and machine all operations on multiple models without moving the parts through progressive fixtures, but also to free up availability of the Brother TC 229 for other parts manufacturing. As a result:
- Cycle time improved by 60%
- Actual manned labor hours reduced by 50%
ABOVE: Jergens 4" MonoQuad Vise with Round Base
— Rimrock's Machine Shop Manager, Wes Dodge
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