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

  1. #101
    StreetSpeed's Avatar
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    The guy that just got fired you mean? He asked for $19. I laughed, my Dad said "Ok." But, we never put him on payroll, so we were just paying him $17 an hour under the table (which is way more than $19 an hour in reality) until we figured out if we were gonna keep him. Thankfully that's not the case.

  2. #102
    bryan_machine is online now Titanium
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    Ox - I do no outside work, and mostly do prototypes, and my question was labelled "naive" and "a thought experiment" because that's all it was worth. So "Bryan that is just hopeless" is a perfectly sensible answer. BUT - more to the point, WHY is it hopeless?

    (Why dare to post at all? A long background in systems work, which informs some of these questions, I think. But a naive person must remember they are naive.)

    a. If you have *no earthly clue* what the job mix will be like, then it would be Frontier Process Science to be able to do what I was suggesting. I had the thought that Street (or you) might have a "catalog" of customer parts, and that most orders where "we want 23 more of X just like last time." And that one could compute the union of all such jobs/setups and fit them onto a machine. But of course, if your workflow consists entirely of orders for things you've never seen before, and won't see again, that task is much much harder (probably impossible.)

    b. A 3.5" bar multi-task is indeed an enourmous and very costly machine.

    So my thought experiment fails, because shops don't seem to have enough repeat volume of well understood work.

    Sometimes, when you cannot make a business case for something, it means you should not do that something....

  3. #103
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    IMO - the answer to your "A" could very easilly be:

    If your gunna take a chance and run part #1234567 b/c it wouyld flow well with the part that we are running right now, but no current order for such part, then you are just banking parts. If your gunna bank parts, why not bank the part your running right now with NO change-over?

    Of course there could very easilly be some parts that you can flow together - if your schedule allows it, but once aggin - I will state that this aint the '90's enymore.

    A) Product life cycles are shorter all the time.

    B) If the job has much volume - it will soon be shipped AT LEAST to Old Mexico, or further.

    C) If it has not matured yet - and you are in the ramp up state - there could very easilly be some "A" changes yet.

    etc..


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    Ox

  4. #104
    bryan_machine is online now Titanium
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    Ox - my thinking is more "over the top" - and it might not work in the real world. Again, I write in humility, hoping only that this will be useful idea.

    In this fantasy land, only raw stock is banked, never parts.

    Imagine (perhaps wrongly) that there is a lathe which holds many tools, and can make any part which can be turned or milled out of 2" bar stock. The machine has a sub-spindle. And turret which can hold a follow-rest or a tail-center. (We are already PAST the entry level Multus to get a turret with a steady. A bunch of folks make these machines, but they are all Real Money. If this machine is idle for weeks at a time, OMG...)

    Imagine further that CAD/CAM or just careful effort produce programs that work on the first try. (We are in real deep rough hot lava here already, but hang on.)

    THEN could one not IN THEORY program each new part, attach it to a job-stack for the right kind of bar, and away we go?
    (In this fantasy world standard 3 jaw chucks can hold all parts.)

    But, I think Ox is pointing out - this is hopeless. Real setups need special jaws, special stock, don't fit in the bar feeder, and won't pay for this all singing all dancing machine. The parts aren't always in spec (which is why we QA them) and automatically making a big stack of out-of-spec crap is just as useless as really fast programs producing nonsense answers.

    I have yet to make anything other than a test part out of 2" bar stock...
    And spend more time on fixturing than anything else....
    So my Thought Experiment has failed. I'll try again in 5 years...

    The good news is that this implies people like Street and Ox will be able to make a living for some time. It may be hard, but it will be possible.

  5. #105
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    I'm beating a dead horse here. If I sit and run the parts, I get 14 pieces an hour on the operation right now. Best I can do for efficiency is 65% with slow indexer and part loading. The machine has now been on 796 minutes, in which time its completed 83 parts, or 6.3 pieces per hour, at 34% efficiency. Just showed it to my dad and he has no concerns over that whatsoever. His comment is usually "If we were making thousands of them, then we could look into it." We ARE making thousands of them!! We DO need to look into it. Anyway, he doesn't think hiring someone at $13 an hour to sweep up around the shop and push the green button is a good idea, so I'm pretty sure a large capital investment, to run at 90% efficiency and get parts out the door at $220 an hour, all while completely redefining our business as we know it, will go over like a fart in church. Guess I'll suck it up. End rant. Thanks for listening.

    Edit: And to add insult to injury, a used 2006 Inetgrex 200SY is $289,000!! Back to the drawing board...

  6. #106
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    so why does it not get loaded???? rearrange the furniture and put it beside a machine you have an operator at.... put a loud ass annoyance alarm on that sucker that can't be turned off and keep that spindle running. sounds like you are running as fast as you need to if you keep it loaded.

  7. #107
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    Not enough operators, or, people doing other stuff that makes more money. As I said, we're not getting rich off these things, but I don't see any point in not maximizing the profits that we DO make on them. {Shrugs head}.

  8. #108
    MetaRinka is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetSpeed View Post
    Not enough operators, or, people doing other stuff that makes more money. As I said, we're not getting rich off these things, but I don't see any point in not maximizing the profits that we DO make on them. {Shrugs head}.
    just poked my head in to say
    opprotunity cost.

    it's good to try to maximize ROI and increase efficiency.

    but sometimes the opprotunity costs to do so are too great. We found that sometimes we could find that a new piece of equipment would ROI out just fine, guaranteed to increase productivity and all that but we still didn't do it because the cost of having extra man hours to train up, or extra time needing to engineer for it. Or shoot just the extra time in the day to purchase the machine wasn't worth it.

    sometimes you give up an inch to get a mile elsewhere. Low hanging fruit and all that.

  9. #109
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    Now I hear/tell that Ann Arbor is the best hold-out in Michigan, but I didn't realize there was still low hanging fruit within 150 miles of Detroit?


    Bryan - boy - as that post went on I could feel myself slipping from your train of thought slowly but Shirley.

    But I will say that bar size is not that big of a change-over on a lathe. Not worth getting panties in wads over.

    Should I maybe see if I can find some Old Buddy Wiser, or maybe Partners - Black and Red, and re-read that?


    Skater:

    What features would you need for the particular part that you are in a frenzy over currently? Doo you need a B axis? Or would a Y axis / sub machine make the lions share of the part for you?

    Sometimes you need to keep in mind that COMPLETE off the machine only has so much value. If it will cost another $100K+ for a machine that CAN make your part complete, as opposed to a machine that can doo 99% of it with a quick secondary op on a mill with special fixture, then you saved a LOT of $ by buying a much cheaper machine (That you can use it to it's potential regularly) and that just trimmed 40% of the time and labor off your current process.

    A 250MSY type machine may be able to find you some common ground. And also give you as a programmer / layout / setup dude a good reasonable stepping stone to work from. Going from 2 axis to a B axis would be quite a jump.



    --------------

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    Ox

  10. #110
    Xjenderfloip is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetSpeed View Post
    ......., then the machine sits idle for a minute or more. If we had faster indexers in the mill, (for 2 ops) ,some kind of manual pallet changer (for an op that we run 15 pieces at a time), tool probes and touch off probes in our 10,000 rpm spindle, etc, we would drastically cut cycle times and setup times and get parts through the machines faster.
    Maybe theres another option for you,

    Invest in tools and jigs you can make yourself, dedicated tools for this job only so you dont need a tough probe.

    That way it reduces investment, and you still win setup time and can run 15 pieces each time.
    Maybe a custom tool that can be used for cutting 2 ops?

    Forget the 10k spindle for now, and it wont be a 60k investment.

    Good luck in your decision.

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