CoroMill Leads to Huge Productivity Improvement
Smith International is a worldwide supplier of products and services to the oil and gas industry for drilling and remedial operations. In 2006, during the rise in worldwide demand, the company’s management needed to increase the production of a remedial tool on a newly purchased machine tool. The
Smith team needed to reduce machine time on this component from around 50 hours to 25 in order to meet the increased demands of the customers.
“The first thing we did was to cut the number of processes for the component from seven to one, but most of the time was still in milling,” says Ray Stafford, manufacturing tooling supervisor at Smith. Under the direction of sales engineer Neil Munson, a Sandvik Coromant representative looked at the milling process and ran a Productivity Improvement Program (PIP). “In doing this we were looking for tooling that could give us more CIM [cubic inches per minute],” says Stafford. “Sandvik Coromant was able to provide us with an RA300 cutter, which cut out 14 hours of the time on the most time-consuming milling process.” (An RA300 cutter is a positive round insert cutter, globally known as CoroMill 300.)
Altogether, the productivity improvement meant a cost savings of some $770,000 annually.
“During the upturn we had to outsource a significant part of the production to keep up with customer demands,” Stafford explains. “Today, during the recent downturn, we have been able to take back much of that production into our own facilities. That would not have been possible if we had not improved productivity for this component.”
The cost savings don’t stop there, however. Recently, Smith programmer Adrian Martinez determined that efficiency could be further increased by speeding up the feed and material removal rates on the most time-consuming milling process.
“This actually increased the tool life of the RA 300 milling cutter, which is amazing,” says Martinez. “No one else has a cutter that can run that long.
A Way to Cut Costs
Smith is just one of many examples of how a company can use Sandvik Coromant’s Productivity Improvement Program (PIP) to save costs during a recession, says Björn Pettersson, senior manager, sales processes at Sandvik Coromant.
“The Smith case shows what productivity improvements are all about: flexibility,” he says. “With this flexibility Smith saved costs during the upturn and could choose a way to tackle the down- turn that suited the company.” Pettersson points out that productivity improvements during a recession provide a range of possibilities.
“If a company experiences an order drop of 10 percent, we can use a PIP to determine how to decrease costs by 20 percent,” he says. “With small changes you may be able to optimize your machining to free up time and resources so that you can do whatever the right thing is for you. We sit down together and work with your challenges.”
Originally published in Metalworking World 3.2009, a business magazine published by Sandvik Coromant.
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Last edited by PracticalMan; 12-06-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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