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Pallet changer helps improve efficiency.

Pressure Systems Inc, a spin-off aerospace company from NASA, produces electronic pressure scanners (EPS) used to develop aerodynamic performance data for private and commercial aircraft. It machines similar parts over and over again, so minimizing setup time is crucial. The company found its Haas VF2 machining center from Haas Automation, Oxnard, CA, was underutilized and knew it had to improve its efficiency if it was to remain profitable.

Ken O'Boyle, machine shop manager explains: "We were losing valuable spindle time while the setups were performed repeatedly. Indicating in vises and fixtures was killing us. Having adopted the concept of smaller batch sizes in the interest of shorter cycle times, the amount of spindle downtime spent on setups was totally unacceptable." After looking into a lock-down system, Pressure Systems turned to Midaco Corp, Elk Grove Village, IL, for its pallet changer needs.

According to Mr O'Boyle, "the Midaco M 22[inches]x16[inches] front-loaded, manual pallet changer system complements the Haas VF2 and supports a modular quick-change vise fixturing system. The company uses four vises with double jaws to process two workpieces at a time. With three vises on all one pallet, six parts can be processed at one time. One operator runs two machines - one pallet is working while the other is being set up. The operator can run a second machine while the first machine is going through its machining cycle.

"The Midaco system lets us keep our spindles running a higher number of hours each day. Now we take fixtures or vises and mount them on the pallet. When we're ready to run the job, we unclamp one pallet, roll it out of the machine and roll in the next multipiece fixture in seconds," says Mr O'Boyle. Positioning accuracy is within 0.0002[inch].

Since the Midaco pallet changer system was installed, Mr O'Boyle says that department can run with one less employee, saving 40 manhours weekly. Spindle uptime has increased to over 37 1/2 hr per month. The bottom line is that the company saved $22,500 the first year.

For more information from Midaco Corp, Elk Grove Village, IL, circle 346; from Haas Automation, Oxnard, CA.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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