Getting machine investment ‘right from the start’ is the key to reducing payback times
Despite the significant investment that a new machine represents, the fact that around 70% of machines are purchased un-tooled means that many manufacturers are still missing opportunities to reduce payback times and improve the return-on-investment (ROI) from their capital outlay.
Achieving the best possible ROI requires recognition that a machine purchase is only one element of a successful installation. Carefully planned machine investment strategies should encompass both capital machine purchase and a detailed assessment of the best methods and tools for the chosen production task. Time taken as early as possible in the planning stage can pay huge dividends in terms of reducing the ‘total cost of acquisition in terms of a smooth installation, shorter run-off period, minimum business disruption, reduced cost-per-component and the earliest possible payback.
Indeed, in some cases early identification of the best approach and tooling solutions may even present the opportunity to further improve ROI through the purchase of less expensive machines than originally planned.
It is with these factors in mind that Sandvik Coromant developed and continues to evolve its ‘Machine Investment’ (MI) support services. Helping manufacturers to get their investment strategy ‘right from the start’, MI considers how OEMs, machine tool agents and tool manufacturers can all work together to deliver the best possible outcome for a given environment.
MI is a proven step-by-step approach designed to save time, trouble and money. It defines, both in technical and commercial terms, the end user’s needs and the new opportunities that investment can bring. A Sandvik Coromant team is created to work closely with the customer and the machine manufacturer to ensure that these requirements are realistic and are achieved. All key specialist players are involved at the earliest possible stage, including software, clamping and coolant suppliers.
With pre-investment collaboration between the expert parties, results will inevitably be better because difficulties are foreseen and taken into account. The focus is on priorities such as production costs and output, with discussions typically involving capacity objectives, process definition, choice of machining method, component machining costs, cycle times, tooling requirements, programming, workholding, process flexibility, quality, unmanned operating possibilities, predictable tool life and toolholding/changing.
Full project support
MI support covers evaluation of parts, processes and applications, and assists with time studies, cost-per-component and turnkey projects. It will also create a bespoke tooling package that matches machining requirements, provide on-site application support and customise a training programme to build peak performance for operators. Every aspect of the production process can be defined using the Sandvik Coromant Tool Investment Analyzer (a time study tool package), along with drawings, ROI and cycle time/set-up time calculations and a host of other tools. Manufacturers also have access to a payback calculator (www.payback-calculator.com) that can help to determine exactly how long it will take to pay back the investment.
Liaison with third parties takes place at all project stages through to final verification of the machine running in full production. Based on typical MI cases, manufacturers can start making profit from day one, can increase productivity by 15% or more, and can reduce payback time by 12-15 months.
From experience, Sandvik Coromant knows that if planning is not done correctly, the result will be extra costs for new tools and the loss of key people to other commitments. Also, the machine often becomes very busy, very quickly and it gets hard to find the time to address issues, which in turn leads to reactive ‘fire fighting’ rather than proactive planning.
By spending a little more time and effort in the beginning, those adopting sound MI practices will experience less surprises and frustrations, and come out ahead in the long run. This is about more than just equipping the machine – MI support relies on a unique combination of tools, tooling solutions, service and industry experience to help attain higher productivity, faster throughput, more rational tool management and reduced downtime. Sandvik Coromant MI specialists can turn talk into concrete financial data based on target production parameters. A specially developed interactive programme gives end users instant access to the direct and indirect benefits of smart machine tooling.
Capturing the benefits
For instance, at the heart of the smart tooling ethos is the Coromant Capto® toolholding system. Designed to rationalise the tool management process through the use of a single system for both turning and rotating tools, Coromant Capto provides high repeatability and maximum rigidity, facilitating the highest possible metal removal rates. No modifications are needed – standard tools can be used straight away. Tool changeover times are typically reduced from 10 minutes to just 60 seconds, which can mean a saving of circa €50,000 a year on a typical CNC lathe. Of course, Coromant Capto is just one innovation among approximately 2,000 new products introduced by Sandvik Coromant every year, all of which are designed to make customers more productive.
Without doubt, tooling has a big influence on ROI, as a few simple examples show. For instance, while milling is demonstrably better for roughing and semi-finishing operations than rival processes, even when the need for straightforward turning is required, turn-milling with an endmill or facemill may be a better solution with regard to metal removal rate. Similarly, drilling is usually most efficient using an indexable insert short-hole drill. However, when there is a variation in hole sizes along with limitations to tool magazine stations or spindle power for large diameters, the flexibility of an endmill producing holes by helical interpolation may well be the best way forward.
World of opportunity
Through MI support, machine shops quickly see a new world of opportunities based on providing the power to run a new machine to its full potential. After all, custom-matched cutting for specific operations can increase cutting data by an impressive 20%, which can mean a full 15% reduction in total component cost.
Of course, lower component costs are just one of many modern pressures facing the manufacturing fraternity. Others include global competition, reduced lead-times, high raw material prices and ever more complex designs and exotic materials. As a result – and regardless of the size of the company – those paying for a new machine should make sure it pays them back. MI from Sandvik Coromant offers a total package that is able to unleash the full potential of the investment, right from the start.
Around 70 per cent of new machines are sold un-tooled by machine tool manufacturers, agents or distributors. With this in mind, it’s easy for machine shops to overlook the issue of tooling, a factor that can hamper the transition time from machine delivery to full production. To address this problem, Sandvik Coromant offers a range of start-up toolkits designed to get machines cutting metal and making a profit immediately.
In total, 66 different start-up toolkits are available for the most common turning centres, machining centres and sliding head lathes. Included in the kits is a selection of tools needed to commence machining on everyday workpiece metals such as cast iron, steel, aluminium and toolroom materials. A dedicated webpage at www.sandvik.coromant.com/startuptoolkits steers site visitors through the kit selection process.
Courtesy: Sandvik Coromant