When the cheese moves make the best of it! How a traditional mouldmaker changed the mind-set of their workforce to readily accept System 3R automation as a means to greater productivity and job protection. Peter McGillivray and David Kalina’s s approach to business is, perhaps, unique in that they hade been influenced somewhat by Pete’s proud Scottish heritage by being prepared to invest for the future of his company - Dynamic Engineering, Minneapolis. Peter and David launched Dynamic over 30 years ago. It has progressed to become one of the nation’s leading precision mouldmakers – especially serving the many ‘hot beds’ of medical and dental device companies in the U.S.A.. Their varied projects have included heart pacemaker components, probe leads, medical disposables, dental braces and syringes – with other business from electronic connectors, watch bezels, face masks’ crossbow bolt heads and adhesive tape dispensers. This is indicative of the highly complex, multi-cavity moulds that Dynamic produce and the worldwide customers that they serve. “We had a ‘Grand Plan’,” explained Peter McGillivray, “ which evolved from realising that that it was imperative for us to buy new technology or die! In the world of powder metal, ceramic and plastic injection moulds, the increase in global competitors became frightening and the only way to remain competitive was to innovate in production efficiencies.” Dynamic had successfully used Macro tooling on their wire EDM machines for over 10 years so it was natural for them to seek advice from System 3R. This was really the first step on the ‘automation road’ as the tooling could not only easily integrate with other applications – milling, grinding, sink EDM - but also could be just as easily automated with the addition of robots. But before he bought robots, Peter felt that he needed to pave the way with his workforce to ensure that they did not see their installation as a threat but as a way to improve the competitiveness of the Company and, above all, to save their jobs. “We had a number of meetings and at one of them I gave everyone a copy of ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson. It’s all about dealing with change and enjoying more success,” said Peter McGillivray. “It helped communicate the points we needed to impress on the team at Dynamic, to instill confidence and to focus everyone on the positive steps that were planned to secure the future of the Company.” With productivity being the name of the game, two robots from System 3R were integrated into the existing shop – aimed at increasing machine up-time, adding more unattended production hours and reducing the labour cost.
32-position WorkPal delivers optimum ‘lights-out production’ A 32-position WorkPal robot helps them obtain an average 20 hours production a day from their Makino E33 CNC mill – with palletisation of workpieces. ‘Lights out’ production has reduced lead times by up to 50% over the past 5 years – vital in this time-to-market driven world. This has meant the elimination of a third shift with productivity and machine uptime gains of 100%. Electrodes are also manufactured five times faster than they were 5 years ago! The machine cuts at 40,000 rpm and because of the high quality of the mould tools required – for the medical market in particular - the surface finish must be of the highest quality. System 3R recently introduced Vibration Damped Palletisation (VDP) to reduce the effects of vibration in high speed machining. A VDP chuck has now been added to the mill which not only improves surface finish but also vastly improves tool/cutter life. In the EDM department a WorkMaster robot operates in a double cell with two sinker machines with the palletisation of workpieces and electrodes. The cell can be set up on Friday night and left to run unmanned over the weekend.
Double-cell automation with the WorkMaster robot and palletization “As we face an increasing shortage of skilled craftsmen we need to be more productive by taking as much labour content out of our production processes as possible,” said Peter McGillivray. “With the help of System 3R, productivity gains have increased our value-added employee output. We continue to be positioned in the top 10% of employee productivity ratios as published by the National Tooling Machine Association, of whom we are a member.” Holding Quality Assurance Accreditation ISO 9001:2000 is an indication of the Company’s focus on excellence in all that they do – reflected in the Dynamic motto of ‘On time and right the first time!’
printer friendly version
Layout drawing:WorkMaster serving two machines: Makino EDGE 2 & Makino EDNC 43SRelated links:WorkPal Compact ServoWorkMasterAutomation in generalVDP - Vibration Damped Palletisation