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Mazak bets big on future of CIM.

Computer-integrated manufacturing is the key to the future in the machine-tool industry. Many people have been preaching that gospel, but Mazak Corp is betting big they are right.

"To overcome the difficulties of today and to revitalize the manufacturing industry, the only viable solution is computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM)," claimed Teruyuki (Terry) Yamazaki, chairman of Yamazaki Mazak Corp, Japanese parent of Mazak Corp, Florence, KY. He was speaking to several hundred people attending the dedication ceremonies of the company's seventh expansion since it set up shop there in 1974.

"CIM makes possible today's typical production of a wide variety of products in small quantities, the reduction of production cost, higher machining accuracy and productivity, and the most effective economic results with a minimum-size work force. Ultimately, it achieves automated operation. In addition, by adopting CIM, management resources such as manpower, production equipment, and capital can be allocated more effectively," added the Japanese machine-tool builder who first came to the US market in 1962 with his first sale of a conventional engine lathe. Since then, in addition to the manufacturing facility in Florence, which will soon be producing 100 machines a month, the firm has 13 technical centers across the us.

Mr Yamazaki is not quoting manufacturing theory. His plants in Japan, England, and now in the US, are fully CIM oriented. "CIM is a necessity for all manufacturing industries, regardless of size. Therefore, it is imperative that it is economically feasible for small and mid-sized companies to have access to the technology," he said.

He is so sure of his words that he is steering his company to being not only a machine-tool-hardware supplier, but also the provider of total management capability as a system integrator. He told T&P that "At the moment, we are producing mainly standalone machines. However, in the very near future, there will be easy access, even for the very small and medium-sized companies, to install CIM systems. When we are going to offer such a system, we may produce the main part of the system; but, also, we may have to purchase some of the hardware from the outside to put the system together into a package we offer to the customers. That type of sale may become totally 50 percent of our sales revenue in the near future. "

The software and service that Mr Yarnazaki says Will become a major part of his revenue will come from the experience gained in driving his own operation toward total computer integration. Features of the CIM operation include:

* A 19,000-bay Automated Storage and Retrieval System that permits real-time inventory control. As orders for machine tools are received, the AS/RS, aided by production and assembly simulation software, reviews inventory levels. If additional inventory is needed to complete a machine, Build Orders are automatically generated and sent to the appropriate production departments. Completed parts and subassemblies are then transported back to the AS/RS and assembled into kits, with locations logged into the VAX computer that controls the system.

* In the Frame Line FMS, 22 different parts including machine beds, columns, and tables are produced. The heart of the system includes five Mazak V-100 vertical double-column machining centers, each equipped with a two-pallet changer system, head changing, and an 80-tool automatic tool changer (ATC) magazine. The machines perform five-face milling, permitting parts to be fully machined in one fixturing.

* A highly automated, computer-controlled Flexible Fabrication System produces all the sheet-metal parts for the Mazak machines made in Florence. The system employs three robot-loaded Mazak Laser Path 60120 cutting machines. It also includes six Mazak Apex press brakes, set up in a pair of three machine cells; two deburring robots; two welding robots; and a multi-step painting system.

* In the Shaft Flange Cell, automated turning and related drilling milling", and boring operations are performed on a total of 92 different cylindrical parts, including spindles and bearing caps. The cell includes three Mazak Integrex 40 turning centers for larger parts. Each is equipped with an 80-tool magazine, an automatic jaw-changing system, a Mazatrol T32 CNC, touch probe to verify C-axis rotation, and Mazak's Tool Eye system to assist in tool setups. To tend the cell on a 24-hour basis, only four hours of worker time are required.

* A cell of eight Mazak H-800 horizontal machining centers makes up the Gearbox FMS. It machines more than 105 different medium-sized prismatic parts such as gearboxes, headstocks, tailstocks, and carriages. Each machine is equipped with a two-pallet changer system and an 80-tool ATC. It operates three shifts a day, tended by just five workers who transfer material from storage pallets to fixtured machine pallets.

* Tooling in the factory is controlled by the Mazatrol Tool-Management System, which identifies tools and tracks tool life via a computer chip embedded in the base of each tool. Tools are transported via an overhead dual-rail system to the machines, where they are automatically changed.
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Title Annotation:computer integrated manufacturing
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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