Applying Technology Automation • Machines • Spindles • Tooling • Software • Workholding Multiple Setups no Longer New Technology Expands In-House Capabilities Sample die machined by an LPM. The VMX64 is preparing to machine a large aluminum flange. 56 service after the sale,” said Brad Wad-dle, Owner, Innovators West / Wad-dle’s Manufacturing. “All machines break down over time, and how well machines are supported and serviced can make a big difference to a com-pany’s bottom line.” “After careful evalua-tion, we selected the Hurco TMX8MYS multi-axis mill turn (lathe with live tool-ing and Y-axis),” said Wad-dle. The TMX8MYS has X/Z/W/Y travels of 8.7”/ 22”/25.2”/4.4”, maximum turning diameter of 13.2” with maximum bar capac-ity of 2.5” and turning length of 20.8”. Features of the TMX8MYS include: • Enhanced graphics capa-bilities to represent sub-spindle operations • Bi-directional part trans-fer • Index position within one degree on main spin-dle, sub-spindle and live tool • Live tool turret with Y-axis capability • Faster servo turret in-stead of hydraulic Shown are accessory drive pulleys and harmonic • Hydraulic system with damper hubs. They have gone through the first heat exchanger that pro-operation and are ready for the second operation. motes thermal stability to increase reliability and ex-When the company’s fleet of ma-tend machine life chines started to age, it had to find a re-• Ergonomic design features, such as placement line of machinery that front foot pedals to quickly open/close would provide the same or better qual-the chuck and engage/disengage the ity of parts the shop was producing at tailstock, for convenience and to pro-a competitive price. “We interviewed mote productivity. “With the TMX8MYS, production several machine suppliers to get a feel for both the quality and selection of time has been reduced significantly Continued on Page 58 machines available, and also for their Innovators West makes high qual-ity SFI 18.1 certified harmonic dampers for street and race vehicles. Dampers absorb and dampen the vibrations cre-ated by the engine from the firing pulses of the combustion process. September 2013 • MIDWEST MANUFACTURING NEWS • www.mfgnewsweb.com Superior Plastic Products, Inc. (SPP), a blow molding business, ac-quired the ability to make its own molds, and then decided to expand the business further by adding extrusion capabilities. Outsourcing the tools and dies needed proved to be a challenge due to long lead times, so the company sought a way to overcome this chal-lenge. “When we began looking for shops that could make our dies and tools, we learned that lead times were typically around six months,” said Elmer Weaver, Shop Manager, SPP. “This did not include the time and ef-fort it would take for us to evaluate and accept the tooling. Needless to say, we felt these lead times were unaccept-able and we did not want to incur the additional costs associated with the tooling evaluations. We subsequently decided that we would try to make the extrusion dies and tools in-house.” However, making their own tool-ing presented a new set of challenges. Due to the sheer number and type of tools and dies required, the SPP team would have to become adept at cost-ef-fective small lot machining. This meant that they would have to acquire equip-ment that minimized lot changeover times. The company also faced an addi-tional challenge: how to find and keep skilled machinists. “None of our peo-ple—with the exception of one—had any machine shop experience prior to joining us,” said Weaver. “Everyone else learned on the job, and their capa-bilities were limited. We needed equip-ment that was easy to learn and use.” “Based on our experience, we knew we would need a machine with an automatic tool changer to meet our schedules,” said Weaver. “A 5-axis ma-chine would address our productivity needs, but would also contain many features and capabilities we would never use, so the acquisition of one would not make sense. We then con-sidered new versus retrofitted/rebuilt equipment. The latter would be less ex-pensive, but we were concerned about product support, so we eliminated it as an option.” SPP chose a TRAK LPM machin-ing center from Southwestern Indus-tries because it met all of their requirements. Besides having an auto-matic tool changer, the LPM features the following: • The ProtoTRAK conversational lan-guage based CNC. “We have Proto-TRAK controls on our TRAK mill and lathe, so we know how easy it is for machinists to learn and use this con-trol,” said Weaver. “Most importantly, it does not require our people to have Continued on Page 60 Stair brackets machined using the LPM’s 4th axis capabilities.