one horizontal vs. how many verticals? (Brothers at that)
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  1. #1
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    Default one horizontal vs. how many verticals? (Brothers at that)

    Okay, shit is brewing over here. I have some really big decisions to make..............
    I think we all know, I run a production job that is a two piece assembly. One of the parts currently gets serviced in a Brother R650.
    The other in a haas VF3ss/APC (these are both pallet changing machines).
    I am currently doing about 1000 assemblies in 65 hour weeks.
    Well, there is a second assembly coming (I have already made a few thousand of them). They are very similar parts to the originals.
    But, just different enough that all the work-holding is different (same exact tools though). Current demand is a little lower than the original parts.
    But, they are expected to surpass the original by end of next year. Anyways, I need to be making all 4 parts at the same time!
    This means I need to bring in at least two more machines. Ideally I would bring in another Brother 650, two Brother 450's, and send the haas on down the road.
    If I buy new iron, that is a whole lot of coin for one little fat man! So, if I am considering spending that kind of $$$$?
    Maybe it is time I start to seriously consider stepping up to a horizontal. One 400mm horizontal with 4 tombstones could service all 4 parts.
    I am sure it would have to run 24/7 to get close to the throughput of a row of Brother pallet-changers (if it could even get close).
    But, this brings me to my second problem: man-power. I am having a hard time finding good help. I had a new kid in here that was starting to do pretty good.
    But, he lasted two months and bailed to go install solar panels on roof tops in Phoenix in July/August! (it must suck pretty bad working for me! LOL).

    I know horizontals rule the production world. And, for good reasons (chip management alone! LOL). But, Brother pallet-changers are fast-fast-fast.
    I currently lose about an hour a day to chip management. This will double if I double the machine count. And, I don't think one person is going to have much fun tending to 4 brothers!
    I know personally, I would much rather tend to one fast horizontal.
    I am kinda stymied here. My gut says "go with the Brothers". My brain says "who the fuck is gonna feed those bastards?!"

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    It's tough to beat a horizontal with a pallet pool running lights out. Even if it's an older slower machine, constantly running adds up! Obviously you already know this but that is the direction I would look in as I will do just about anything to avoid hiring someone. For the most part the most unreliable and least predictable thing in a shop is people.

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    Noone likes to hear it- but running production works kinda blows. A young man/woman who is worth his/her wage will not want to sit in front of one or many CNC machines day after day and it probably wont even matter how much money you throw at him/her. Its boring work. and there isnt much room for growth even in large companies.
    get a robot and let the brother run all three shifts

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    What about robotic loading?

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    Well it’s pricey but I personally think you should look at a somewhat new 400mm horizontal with a large pallet pool and high speeds. I considered a kitumura and it wasn’t too bad but realistically I don’t need it (also no space) at all I just saw it for a good price. But I do think something like that would be good for you.

    Funny I wish I could get a large production order I’m pretty small and pretty new and I just do random small job shop stuff. It gets tiring...

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    All your eggs in one horizontal can be hard to make omeletts if it decides to take a break.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    All your eggs in one horizontal can be hard to make omeletts if it decides to take a break.
    Very true but I assumed he would still keep the brothers he has.

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    I agree production sucks for the operator. Small robots have come a long way in ease of use and come down in price. They may not be as fast as a human at changing parts but they will run 168hrs a week to your 65 for zero pay. With that gain in capacity alone you might not need more iron.

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    Not saying it should/will be a factor, but I imagine the most productive option would be an 8 station vise system on at least 1, if not two pallets. Te-co run about 8k for one of them (6" size). The hori with a PP will let you load up stations while running, so that should cut down on the scrambling some I would think, especially if you load up all the pallets and let it run for 1-2-3 hours before needing to tend to it again.

    ReLock 8-Station Vise with Machinable Soft Jaws On TE-CO

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    How many parts or assemblies do you think you could stuff on a 400mm pallet?

    Was gonna tell ya about why I like my new EC400 (just ordered another one) but you'll probably want something with more pallets so you can run more hours at night. I don't think 6 would be enough in your case?

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    When I was running the proverbial balls to the wall and needed a plan to double or triple production...an awful lot of thought was given into how.

    There was the obvious buy more machines route...and as space is limited in my shop I needed a storage room for packaging and then it was another location for assembly. That brought me to an easy doubling of my capacity with more help and a good outlay of money.
    To reach 3 times capacity we would have to get a 2nd location which is expensive and time-consuming...but as this was all projections I ran the numbers requiring my customer to guarantee a certain amount of product would be ordered with a base amount of money upfront. That cooled their heels some and let me ramp up production to meet their needs with least amount of money in hand.

    It was 8 machined running 60 hours a week and I started a second shift starting with only 4 hours 5 days using a second shift on the bottleneck jobs. Those 20 hours a week really got me ahead with no extra outlay of money. Bad part is I ran the 2nd shift along with the 1st shift but I did maintenance and setups and re-tooled tested new approaches, ran quotes and job sheets for the next day. My 2nd shift was made up of a couple of guys looking for extra money, lady wanting to get out of the house and an older gent that could not find a job elsewhere. Not the cream of the crop...but they learned quick and kept machines fed. Several months of that put me ahead enough to swing a couple more machines and then settled into a 3 day 2nd shift giving me a break. Orders leveled out around that time with the occasional We are looking a massive amount at one time, can you do it...and we dusted off the old notes and offered a proposal usually going back to we will run them in multiple small lots as your customer cannot install these parts any faster then we can make them so why tie up YOUR money. But if you need them we CAn get them done with X amount of capital down.

    Your product, so I know it is different...but a 2nd shift doubles machine capacity and if you can run the simpler parts or...

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    Quote Originally Posted by allloutmx View Post
    Noone likes to hear it- but running production works kinda blows. A young man/woman who is worth his/her wage will not want to sit in front of one or many CNC machines day after day and it probably wont even matter how much money you throw at him/her. Its boring work. and there isnt much room for growth even in large companies.
    get a robot and let the brother run all three shifts
    This is true. And, I am well aware.

    I have given serious consideration to robots guys. Really I have. I have a quote right here on the top of my desk from Yamazen for a FLEX-cell.
    A couple caveats: the stock for these parts starts out as a very complex extrusion. Actually 4 different very complex extrusions.
    There would have to be 8 different end-effectors. And, for one robot cell to process all 4 of these parts in order for me to make weekly deliveries?
    I would have to do 8 changeovers per week and run 1000 pcs between all 8 changovers. All in 5 days. Simply not possible.
    If I set up 4 FLEX-cells, one for each part?
    It would cost one million dollars (seriously, they are $250k/pop). Not to mention: I don't trust robots to perform accurate part loading!
    Not because they are not accurate. But, because they do not have eyes to see when there is still a chip in the bottom of that jaw pocket.
    I make a LOT of chips. They are everywhere. It is almost impossible to just blow the pocket out, and not still have a tiny chip someplace to pick out with your finger.
    As you blow the pocket out, inevitably a chip flies up from some adjacent nook or cranny and of course lands right in the pocket.
    A robot goes through the motion of blowing the pocket out. But, it has no way of knowing the chips blew right back in the pocket.
    This might be okay for 1st operation stuff where location is not critical. But, for 2nd OP loading? I don't trust them. Not for the type of work-holding I am forced to use on these parts.
    I am not interested in robots that are not well integrated from the factory level either. I do not have time for projects.
    I am not going to buy a bunch of UR10's and play mad scientist. This is not a hobby. And, I do not have calendar to turn this in to a giant project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesidetalker View Post
    How many parts or assemblies do you think you could stuff on a 400mm pallet?

    Was gonna tell ya about why I like my new EC400 (just ordered another one) but you'll probably want something with more pallets so you can run more hours at night. I don't think 6 would be enough in your case?
    You like the EC400?? They must have done some major re-designs cuz ours sucked. (We had 8 pallets).

    Major chip problems, not evacuation but would get into the tank and clog the lines, pallet changer would stick and thump ALOT.

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    Talk to Yamazen about the Flex or Flex 2 loading system?

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    I've seen 500 mm Mori's with six and seven pallet fms systems for not that much money. Yeah, they are used and yeah, your programs better be ultra-reliable, but you could run them puppies 18 hours a day pretty easy ..... an fms can do a heck of a lot of interesting stuff. They'd be slower than your Brothers per part but more of a continuous stream, know what I mean ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    Talk to Yamazen about the Flex or Flex 2 loading system?
    See my last post...............

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    When I had my place...if time wasn't a factor, I'd have bought a Matsuura H+300 with 15k Spindle and 11 pallet pool.
    I could then have got 145 hrs a week production out of it.
    But...it would have all been down to me me me.
    Learn the machine, program and tool it up, blah blah blah.
    My gut feel tells me that it would be your best (for the business) long term solution, providing this customer was rock solid and ALWAYS wanted the product every day of every month.
    We're in changing times though... and all this extra work/learning etc would fall on you...
    So, for ease, duplicate what you have. It's the fastest way to get your product up and going because it's a known quantity - you just need a couple more machines and duplicate the tooling/fixtures.
    And if the qty's aren't as much...you don't have a hungry hori sat not doing much...

    Now, as for the problem of people...you just have to keep searching for the right young kid. Aptitude and attitude and wants to learn - and pay him more than he can earn elsewhere if it's the right one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    I've seen 500 mm Mori's with six and seven pallet fms systems for not that much money. Yeah, they are used and yeah, your programs better be ultra-reliable, but you could run them puppies 18 hours a day pretty easy ..... an fms can do a heck of a lot of interesting stuff. They'd be slower than your Brothers per part but more of a continuous stream, know what I mean ?

    Yes, I know what you mean....

    The problem with buying used horizontals is due to their nature, they've likely been run balls to the wall for years.

    That adds up real quick. 250 days/year @ 18 hrs/day for 10 years ...... 250*18*10= 45,000 hours.

    And you (>>wheelie) said you don't want projects.

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    Horizontals are hungry and still need to be fed, but it's a different type of work.

    Typical machine tending means you're glued to the machine. This can be mentally stressful because of the constant and unnatural fluctuation between staring at the machine and getting to work.

    Horizontals, especially machines with pallet pools, allow you to load tombstones in a more mentally relaxed manner. Even if it takes the same total number of minutes to load the parts, these can be "junk minutes", e.g. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, with interruptions in between. It's a lot less taxing mentally and is a lot more efficient. If you were able to collect all the "junk minutes" over a given week, you might find yourself with an entire day or two's worth of free time.

    8 vise stations per tombstone is very "last decade". We just delivered four tombstones to a customer who opted for 16 vises per pallet.

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    Being that you have a tough time finding workers and robots are not a good fit I would vote horizontal. Local shop too me used to put out thousands of widgets a week, guy had like 40 Haas super minis crammed into a little building. This allowed him to have a pile of spindles turning in a compact area for a small investment, but it hinged heavily on him having PHDs to run around tending them.


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