The increasing demand for short production times with global competitors requires investing in the right equipment and the right people as well as focusing on your niche market. Stepping further into Industry 4.0, whether slowly and methodically, or full-on, still requires a focus on maintenance and the best productivity through service performance. Partnerships with the right tool and machine manufacturers can keep machines running. This is the goal of every machine shop.
The addition of new equipment and the hiring of new staff both require a scheduled training plan to shorten the learning curve for production demands. Training should never be a shortcut, however, as future creativity and performance will suffer. Working with a great supplier should have options including factory training at their site, both digital data and training manuals, and onsite support.
Purchases vary from new tools and spindles to complete new machines or digital interfaces for current equipment. These all require different levels of training at the time of purchase. The level of training should increase exponentially with the value of that purchase. Long-term training should also be considered for new staff hiring. This may look like digital interfaces in a training workshop or reference manuals for consult under the watchful eye of seasoned machinists. Training is an ongoing shop investment in quality production.
Not every shop has a maintenance department, but each machine should have its own maintenance schedule. With the best quality machines and parts there will still be breakage, natural wear, and re-calibrations required to offer, not only peak performance but unexpected delays and lost revenue due to production shutdown.
New digital systems help record information that can plan the best timing for maintenance, but even in a manual shop the value of scheduled downtime for maintenance prevents costly breakage and lost production. See our notes here on mistakes every machinist makes, including the lack of predictive servicing. Maintenance requires more than checking tool wear. Cooling fluid levels, lubrication, and air filters should be part of regular maintenance to keep your equipment performing its best.
Repairs and Replacements
There are times when unexpected shutdowns occur. Your relationship with your supplier should be able to provide the help you need when you need it. Telephone support to troubleshoot problems and repair in-house is a great start. This requires a supplier with a trained service department available around the clock for many manufacturing setups. A more serious disruption may need delivery of replacement parts. Be sure your supplier has a good inventory of replacement parts and a shipping program to allow for fast delivery. Companies like DMG MORI, who we partner with at our facility, provide 24-hour delivery of spare parts and spindles.
A full machine failure will need an onsite service call. This is where relationships built from purchasing all your equipment from the same supplier will be beneficial. Sending in a service technician without delay can mean the difference for you completing a project on schedule or damaging your reputation with your client.
Consider the customer service provided to you as one of the key factors in buying equipment. The biggest cost to any CNC machine shop is idle equipment. Price at the time of purchase is not the prime factor to be considered. Machine shop productivity through service performance from your supplier is key to consistent quality parts delivered on time to your clients.
Get in touch with us to see what’s possible.