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Leased lathes cut delays.

Leased lathes cut delays Consolidated Metco (Con-Met) makes aluminum wheel hubs for Class 8 (over-the-road) trucks and trailers. To speed production, the firm recently installed CNC turning machines at its Portland, OR, plant. The first two machines placed in service were remanufactured Warner & Swasey 2SC-15 chucking machines, leased with GN6TB Controls.

The CNC equipment takes much less setup time than former manually operated machines, enabling Con-Met to meet customer requirements for small order quantities delivered on a just-in-time basis. Delivery delays that occasionally extended up to three or four weeks have been eliminated along with costly product inventories.

Senior Mfg Engineer Eric Gillespie explains that Con-Met previously used either block tooling setups or template-controlled machines, both requiring setup times of 6 hr to 16 hr. With the 2SC-12s, however, setup times for the same parts can be cut to 1 hr or less.

Making even minor part-design changes with the template-controlled machines required sending templates back to the manufacturer for changes--taking up to four weeks. In contrast, the same changes take only minutes on the 2SC-15 machines.

Con-Met recognized the need to include CNC machines in its operation over a year ago. At that time, the company started an SPC program and realized that parts quality could be improved using CNC equipment. After considering both new and used equipment, management decided to purchase several W&S Titan modular turning machines.

But the firm needed CNC machines as soon as possible to meet targeted SPC quality goals. Thus, the W&S Aftermarket Div leased the two remanufactured machines to get Con-Met going while the Titan vertical machines were being built.

The 2SC-15s were specially equipped with 18" chucks to handle the 13" diameters and up to 10" lengths of the aluminum hubs. Before delivery of the machines, both machines were pretooled and preprogrammed by W&S. Con-Met parts were run on both machines to ensure that the parts met specifications.

Con-Met plans to produce 150,000 to 200,000 aluminum hubs a year. Workloads vary between small runs of 500 to 2000 parts and medium runs of 2000 to 3000 parts. The 2SC-15s operate 14 to 20 hr/day over two or three shifts. In some cases, the machines are tooled for small batches of 50 to 100 pieces. The lathes hold tolerances on hub bearing bores and seal bores to [plus-or-minus]0.005", and concentricity of bearing bores to within 0.002" of each other. Warner & Swasey Co, Turning Div, 31700 Solon Rd, Solon, OH 44139, circle 573.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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