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Thread: Need to ramp up production: New machine or new employee?

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    StreetSpeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonytn36 View Post

    Maybe I misread, but I don't recall seeing where he wanted to buy a new machine. He's just wanting to invest in / upgrade his current process to make it more efficient and not have to hire more help...
    Bingo. Was his name-o. Adding stuff to make message longer so I can post it...

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    gottabench is offline Aluminum
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    Default Usually bottlenecks

    it's usually because of bottlenecks in the flow, and operations that take juuuuust long enough so that someone can walk away to do something else, then the machine sits idle for a minute or more

    The person that walks away,are they running another machine or are they out for a walk ?It's all dollars and sense,if you can recoup your cost in a reasonable time.To spend thousands to save pennies.
    Your dad has been in business for some time,he has seen the good and the bad.You have much less experience than him.
    I think alotve us has seen a young family member try to improve a business.This usually starts out with increase in spending.Then,too many tims we see that comany fail.I would show your father the bottom line (the numbers) Trust his judgement.

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    Per the "just too long" cycle time - that is why I have clip-on "egg" timers on me. Not been much use lately, but there have been times when I'm sporting TWO timers (two diff machines) clipped on opposite sides of my hat or on my shirt collar. Eny further from my ears and I won't hear them over the ambiant.

    Prolly look like quite the charactor, but I'm makin' $ at the same time.



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    Ox you are a wacky dude.

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    barbter is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Per the "just too long" cycle time - that is why I have clip-on "egg" timers on me. Not been much use lately, but there have been times when I'm sporting TWO timers (two diff machines) clipped on opposite sides of my hat or on my shirt collar. Eny further from my ears and I won't hear them over the ambiant.

    Prolly look like quite the charactor, but I'm makin' $ at the same time.



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    Ox
    Ox,
    Wifey must have a photo or two of you like this shirley!
    You know you want to post one over in that there other thread you're writing...

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    I believe that she is trying to block those images from her memory.

    The point was that you CAN walk a way away and still be back for part change time, which sounded like it must be of some concern to him. ???


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    "and don't call me Shirley"
    Ox, you missed your chance.

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    Doug is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonytn36 View Post
    First, you try to NOT ASSUME. You want your ROI based on as solid of facts and numbers as you can get. -- Can't figure what the cycle time savings will be with a 4th?....have your MTB put one on a machine and run your program and give you a time. That time should be good within 2%-5% of what it will be on the machine in your shop.
    Want to know what your loading time will be?....Mock up a fixture and have your guys load and unload the thing and see what the time is.

    ALWAYS Use conservative numbers in the ROI.

    If the ROI is done properly, there is but one set of numbers to consider, no matter who does it. Sure, there might be a 5% point difference in person 1's estimate vs. person 2's, but if 5% on one or two of the many values included in an ROI of this type makes the difference in whether the ROI works out or not, then the ROI isn't a go anyway.




    Maybe I misread, but I don't recall seeing where he wanted to buy a new machine. He's just wanting to invest in / upgrade his current process to make it more efficient and not have to hire more help....but maybe I'm wrong.
    Tony,

    As I see it, of course you have to make assumptions. Don't you have to assume a time frame over which the investments start to pay off? How about assumptions of the viability of the customer? Assumptions about the lost opportunity of the cash being tied up? Assumptions that the time predictions from the machine tool builder will not be exaggerated?

    Yes, I was wrong about the machine purchase. As you say the $60K is for improvements, not a new machine. But, does it really matter? It's still $60K.

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    MetaRinka is offline Cast Iron
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    In my opinion a think an RIO calculation would work and I think in this case it would be very stacked towards the machine.

    not having run the numbers myself look at it this way
    if you upgrade machinery you have a one time fixed cost of 460,000. I don't know the payback period but lets say it pays off in 1 year (which would be very fast)

    after that one year you would have a $60,000 gain every year minus any recurring maintainence costs.

    IF you add an employee, you have a recurring cost of 60,000 a year +2% raise or what not. assuming the exact same payback, you have a net of 0 every year for the foreseeable future for the same operations.

    in a ROI a one time sunk cost would almost always beat out a recurring cost if it was the same amount every year. Also for tax and ROI purposes a machine is usually given a scrap value. meaning that in 10 years you might be looking to sell the machine to a hobbyist or another shop, or get a scrap price for it. Employees have no write off... unless you intend on harvesting kidneys...


    Now on the practical side I could see the weariness to upgrade machinery for a single customer if the contract wasn't a sure thing. However, if you can write off the upgrades into other operations than the sunk cost of losing the contract the minute after you purchased the machine would be dampened. And you could still achieve a ROI through other operations. If you cut loose an employee you don't come out any further behind, but you do have to account in the training costs associated with finding and hiring someone new.

    From a theoretical standpoint it's considered much more advantageous to maximize productivity before increasing labor hours. Throwing more labor into a given operation just increases your labor and overhead rate, increasing productivity either through process changes or capital investment pays dividends especially when trying to expand production.

    That's how our ROI philosophy works in the aerospace industry. You have to have proven returns from the machine though. It's one thing to think a capital investment will increase productivity, it doesn't always work out like that.

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    Seekins is online now Stainless
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    Street, what is your spindle ON time like on an average day? % wise?

    I read you were wanting to "ramp up production" but are you? Or do you just need to become more efficient? how many people in your shop can set up, program and run their own machine? Figure out what people are waiting on (programmers, tooling, lunch) and find your bottle neck.

    If you are running prototype parts what is there to become more efficient in? and what is there to ramp up on production? Its not going to be nice fixtures for every part because you aren't going to run that part again. What CAM system do you use? can you purchase a simple cam system that is faster for your parts? I use ONEcnc not because i cant have mastercam, but because i can get a part ready to go before I can position the part and select tools in MC.

    If you are completely slammed and are thinking you want to bring in production work then you will need machine time. its much easier to get the work when you have the machine sitting there ready than it is to get the work and then restructure your business to keep it...

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    Ya gotta be firm,...... I like to think of myself as a traditionalist in theses matters.,.. so.

    Get your oversee-er a longer whip....... steel tips cut in nicely.

    Gee up your pacemaker - think Buddy Rich.

    Make it clear, if they aren't producing they won't be eating.


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    Tonytn36 is online now Diamond
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    Remember folks, Street is only asking about machine improvements such as a 4th indexer and quick change fixture systems. NONE of that is customer specific. Matter of fact, it's about as generic as a Kurt vice. His desire to upgrade and increase throughputs, reduce bottlenecks etc will not only apply to this one particular customer. If the customer of note leaves tomorrow, he will still be making parts for other customers in a more efficient and cost effective manner.
    This equipment can be ROI'd out over several customers. The only thing specific to this one customer might be some custom fixtures on the quick change plates, but that's most likely minimal investment referenced to the indexers and quick change plates themselves.

    By the way, a 4th is going to run you somewhere between $14-17k dependent on what you get.....and you may get it for even less than that right now.
    I know of one vendor who bid a well known brand 4th unit for mid $12k w/tailstock and fixture plate....and got considerably underbid by another well known, big name....time to buy is now....

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    The first thing that catches me is you admit to being inefficient by mentioning the need for better tooling and processes. An employee will only add to your already inefficient methods by adding that 60k/year lost expense on your company, whereas your 60k INVESTMENT in tooling and process improvement will pay itself over a multitude of jobs, and most likely will open many previously unseen or unavailable doors, all the meanwhile being a one time expense. You mention money isn't that big of a deal, get efficient and reap even better profitability while doing less work and having less stress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seekins View Post
    Street, what is your spindle ON time like on an average day? % wise?

    I read you were wanting to "ramp up production" but are you? Or do you just need to become more efficient? how many people in your shop can set up, program and run their own machine? Figure out what people are waiting on (programmers, tooling, lunch) and find your bottle neck.

    If you are running prototype parts what is there to become more efficient in? and what is there to ramp up on production? Its not going to be nice fixtures for every part because you aren't going to run that part again. What CAM system do you use? can you purchase a simple cam system that is faster for your parts? I use ONEcnc not because i cant have mastercam, but because i can get a part ready to go before I can position the part and select tools in MC.

    If you are completely slammed and are thinking you want to bring in production work then you will need machine time. its much easier to get the work when you have the machine sitting there ready than it is to get the work and then restructure your business to keep it...
    Spindle on time is low, for sure. I only refer to more production on these particular production parts. While I am looking around for more "production work" this is really the only thing we sell that we make thousands of, so I'm trying to figure out how to do that well before branching out in to other ventures.

    Everyone in our shop can setup and run their own machines. We don't have any "operators" per se, all machinists. As I said, good for the kind of work we typically do, but overkill for a job that just needs someone to push the green button. We use Esprit for CAM, which I can fly with so programming is never an issue.

    Lastly, we absolutely cannot take in production work right now. That's my long term goal, but short term is to make THIS job quicker and more efficient. It's all kind of an experiment for me, and everyone else at our shop. We're out of our element, so I'm hoping once I figure it out then I can look for more stuff in this same vein. But as I said, one step at a time. We did just hire a part-timer today, btw. We're gonna be a mad house at least til' the end of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonytn36 View Post
    By the way, a 4th is going to run you somewhere between $14-17k dependent on what you get.....and you may get it for even less than that right now.
    I know of one vendor who bid a well known brand 4th unit for mid $12k w/tailstock and fixture plate....and got considerably underbid by another well known, big name....time to buy is now....
    I was checking out the Haas site last night and their high speed indexer is $9K, 130 deg/sec. Not sure if that is blazing or not. But, these parts need to be roughed and finished on the indexer, 16 pockets each tool, each part. I'm pretty sure our indexer now spends more time rotating and putting on the brake than it does cutting. That's a 4 minute cycle which I think we should be able to get down to 2 minutes no problem with a fast indexer. That'll pay for itself quick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetSpeed View Post
    I'm pretty sure our indexer now spends more time rotating and putting on the brake than it does cutting. That's a 4 minute cycle which I think we should be able to get down to 2 minutes no problem with a fast indexer. That'll pay for itself quick.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9pjYe3E64w

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetSpeed View Post
    I was checking out the Haas site last night and their high speed indexer is $9K, 130 deg/sec. Not sure if that is blazing or not. But, these parts need to be roughed and finished on the indexer, 16 pockets each tool, each part. I'm pretty sure our indexer now spends more time rotating and putting on the brake than it does cutting. That's a 4 minute cycle which I think we should be able to get down to 2 minutes no problem with a fast indexer. That'll pay for itself quick.
    I've got several Sankyo 4th indexers running in a production environment. 75 RPM, no brake required. These use rollerdrive technology. The 90 index time is 0.4 seconds.

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    gottabench is offline Aluminum
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    If your cycle is 4 minutes are you making your labor rate ? OR did you under bid the job ? If your making your rate why not leave it alone.It sounds as though your not into prodction so why spend the money if not needed.Sure you could use it somewhere else but would you and if you really needed it you would already have one.So you go out an spend $13,000 next month the job stops.(Don't say it can't because it can,we purchased a new lathe last year to ramp up.One month after having it set up and wired the orders stopped) It sure did look nice sitting there waiting to find work for it.

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    Seekins is online now Stainless
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    "I was checking out the Haas site last night and their high speed indexer is $9K, 130 deg/sec"

    Efficiancy = quality and i don't care how many ROI numbers you crunch, you wont convince me otherwise. You will be purchasing a bigger headache than you want, i can promise you. This needs to be looked at as a investment and not just a purchase. how long will it take you to recoup the price of a Haas rotary vs a 15-20k high end, super efficient last forever unit?

    What can you do to make the part more efficient? manual pallet changer? without knowing what the part looks like its hard to assume what you can or cannot get away with. A 4th axis works, but at the same time you will only have one part running. You can do more opps at once but sometimes changeable pallet fixtures will greatly outrun it. \

    Lets assume you have 5 opps, or 3 with a 4th axis.

    The rotary only saved you 2 opps. Calculate the run time on the rotary VS the run time if you loaded 5-10 parts on a couple more fixtures. there are less tool changes and less part changing time lost, because while the machine is running the operator is loading the other pallets.

    You just need to figure out how to maximize your spindle time. Maybe someone just standing over a machine is what you need. If you dont have good spindle time on the other machines then take advantage of it and put the part on a couple idol machines. Have the programer program for a couple days while the parts run. then he should have a handfull of parts to build and will run the machine for a day, then its back to your production parts while he programs again...

    I struggle with spindle on time too and its about the most frustrating thing i can think of.

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    [QUOTE=Seekins;1227292]"I was checking out the Haas site last night and their high speed indexer is $9K, 130 deg/sec"

    Efficiancy = quality and i don't care how many ROI numbers you crunch, you wont convince me otherwise. You will be purchasing a bigger headache than you want, i can promise you. This needs to be looked at as a investment and not just a purchase. how long will it take you to recoup the price of a Haas rotary vs a 15-20k high end, super efficient last forever unit?

    What can you do to make the part more efficient? manual pallet changer? without knowing what the part looks like its hard to assume what you can or cannot get away with. A 4th axis works, but at the same time you will only have one part running. You can do more opps at once but sometimes changeable pallet fixtures will greatly outrun it. \

    Lets assume you have 5 opps, or 3 with a 4th axis.

    The rotary only saved you 2 opps. Calculate the run time on the rotary VS the run time if you loaded 5-10 parts on a couple more fixtures. there are less tool changes and less part changing time lost, because while the machine is running the operator is loading the other pallets.


    QUOTE]


    Seekins I know you're a bit down on Haas right now but the flip side to your story is we bought basically one of the first mills to ever roll off their line, and the first 4th they ever made as well, which I think was 1989ish. We were using both of those machines up untill about 2 years ago when we replaced them both with a new VF-2 and 4th indexer, and we only replaced them because they were slow, not because there wasn't anything that didn't work on them. We have another 4th we've been using since 1997 or so without issue. So, I'm not gun shy on Haas yet. We have had about 7 of their VMCs throughout the years (4 currently) and they're not the fastest, most pretty, or rigid, but they're fine for 90% of us. That said, I'll be looking at something Japanese the next go around simply for speed and power, but for the money Haas is generally hard to beat.

    You can see the part on our webpage in my first post. The ops are as follows.

    1-Turn side 1
    2 - Turn side 2
    3 - Mill keyways 4 up on an arbor on indexer #1 - I blast through these
    4 - Mill angles on indexer #2 at 17 degrees. Thusly, we can only ever run 1 part at a time - Need fast indexer to save lots of time not in cut
    5 - Mill slots on VMC in 15 piece fixture. - Time could be saved here with manual pallet changer and 10,000 rpm spindle, but I need a probe in that machine
    6 - Heat Treat to 55 HRC
    7 - Take a ride in the tumbler to remove burrs. We run 40 at a time and they take about 2 hours a batch
    8 - Grit blast to make pretty
    9 - Hard turn two ID bores
    10 - CNC Grind OD
    11 - Box up and ship out

    These pieces are sort of our "loss leaders" if you will. We don't make much profit on these, but it allows us to run the mating part which only has 3 machining ops and we do quite well on . I don't think til' I really sped up the milling programs we were making any profit on these pieces. I'm headed out to the company in a couple weeks, so we'll see what my options may be once we talk to the BigWigs.

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