Holmatro Reduces Waste and Increases Profits with New Toyoda FMS
February 05, 2010
Toyoda Machinery is the only manufacturer that offers a four-position tool changer or revolver within the tool magazine on its machining centers equipped with Matrix Magazines. The four-position tool changer greatly maximizes machine productivity and cycle time.
With today’s global competition and the need for lean operations, a company’s success lies in its ability to stay profitable by maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste. For Holmatro, a global supplier of high-pressure hydraulics, scrap costs and time spent on tool setup and changeover were impacting overall productivity and profitability.
Holmatro (Glen Burnie, Maryland) started out as a supplier of high-pressure hydraulic equipment for the ship-building industry in 1967. Since then, the company’s expertise in the field of high-pressure hydraulics has expanded to several other industries. Today, the company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hydraulic industrial, rescue and marine equipment.
The rescue industry faces new challenges all of the time, and Holmatro has a long history of product development and innovation. Hydraulic rescue tools are used by emergency rescue personnel to assist in the rescue of victims from vehicles and other small spaces. These tools are designed to quickly cut, spread, squeeze and pull metal or other materials that have victims trapped or pinned.
Holmatro offers a full range of rescue equipment including hydraulic cutters, spreaders, combi-tools, rams and power units, high- and low-pressure pneumatic lifting bags, and many rescue assist tools and accessories such as pipe squeezers, cable cutters, glass cutters, and a variety of jacks.
Since victims’ lives can be at stake, rescue equipment leaves no room for error when it comes to performance. Holmatro relies on its manufacturing equipment for accuracy and consistency in order to produce superior and reliable products. Holmatro consistently evaluates and makes modifications to its manufacturing process to support the industry’s changing needs and to stay profitable.
“When it was time to upgrade, we were looking for a system that would minimize our scrap costs and reduce cycle time,” recalls Holmatro VP of Manufacturing John Freeburger. Complex designs of some parts could require 60 or more tools during production. Multiple tool changes were contributing to longer cycle times.
An Efficient Solution
After considering options from several manufacturers, Holmatro decided to purchase a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) from Toyoda Machinery. The FMS combines a FH450S horizontal machining center with 18 buffer stations and a rail-guided vehicle (RGV). The machine’s 500-tool storage matrix magazine features a four-position revolving tool changer, which keeps the next tool ready and waiting for the machine’s rotating arm to swap it into process.
This eliminated any delay associated with tool changeover, even when a series of short cycle time tools is being processed sequentially. Overall, the tool capacity and speed of the matrix magazine delivered more than a 25 percent reduction in cycle time for Holmatro.
Additionally, the installation simplified operations while the machine delivered higher speeds and feeds than Holmatro’s older equipment. This upgrade in technology led to other positive changes including increased throughput and reduced scrap costs.
“The new system allowed us to streamline production by cutting out the excess,” Freeburger adds. “We experienced a 35 percent increase in throughput and a 10 percent reduction in scrap.” Since scrap rate directly impacts a company’s bottom line, the scrap reduction resulted in more profitable runs and higher total output for Holmatro.
“The bottom line is, it’s important to keep your equipment current,” says Freeburger. “Even though the system was a significant investment, the reductions in cycle time and scrap rate completely justified the purchase.”