How the Right Presetter Can Affect Your Shop

September 14, 2017 2:55 pm


Just as important as the decision to buy a presetter is selecting the right one based on the type and volume of work that comes through the shop. Here are just a few of the ways the right presetter pays big dividends.

Spindles stay spinning
I cringe when I hear someone claim that machine tools with built-in probes, touch off devices and lasers are efficiency boosters. They fit squarely inside the “bells and whistles” category. They are slower than presetters and, more importantly, when most of these devices are at work your machine tool isn’t making you money.

More accurate setups the first time/reduced scrap
In-machine measurement tools often fail to measure runout and/or length, scenarios that will still require test cuts. A presetter can measure both a length and diameter (or wear factor) for entry into the machining center’s tool list and can allow the operator to correct runout before a tool goes into production. This typically creates a good part on the first try—dramatically reducing scrap costs. Presetters are better at measuring than machine tools, and machine tools are better at machining than measuring. Period.

You’ll be able to reinvest savings faster than you think – try the online cost payback calculator now
For the sake of simplicity, let’s say someone has a one-machine home shop and spends an hour each day setting tools on the machine. They do six hours of actual cutting per day and value their spindle time at $125 per hour. While one job is running, they can be setting up the next job and reduce changeover to five minutes or less. Even with this little “mom and pop” operation, the most basic presetting machine will provide full return on investment (ROI) in less than a year, and that doesn’t even factor in consumables savings. Most of you reading this probably aren’t working out of your garage, so we’ve made a handy tool available on our website for calculating how fast a presetter will pay you back in more complex scenarios. Try it out by clicking here.

Mobilization of the tool room
Most tool presetters are made for the floor environment. Affordable carts make it easy to maneuver the system around the shop as setups pop up throughout a day. Another method many shops use is to have the presetter situated in the middle of machining center cells so that the operators can easily and quickly set tools while production continues nearby.

There are a couple key things to consider in order to reap the rewards described. First, think about what you’ll be using the equipment for today and years from today. Not only will how shops do work change, but think about how the customers you serve may change too. Do you want to buy the presetter that has everything you’ll need today, or buy one you can add on to as new and different work arrives?

Second, be honest with yourself about what features you need and the ones you want. These options often have a significant impact on the price tag.

Do you really need camera functionality, or is an indicator read-out sufficient? What’s better for your operators: manual or CNC movement? Do you often need to reference data quickly, or can you store it away? How accurate and repeatable do you need your measurements to be? Are you measuring large diameters/lengths, and/or are you measuring accuracy of less than 0.0003 in or cutters with sub-0.01 in diameters? If you’re measuring 100 tools a day, it will be hard to avoid a higher-end presetter. The good news is this: if you can bear the initial investment, you’ll enjoy bigger, faster returns.

To learn more, click here.


Article From: Doug Sumner, Product Manager of Tooling Measuring Systems, BIG KAISER Precision Tooling, Inc.

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