OB7 Case Study: Swiss Productions Eliminates Idle Spindle Time, Maximizes Production
Ventura, California-based Swiss Productions Inc. began nearly 40 years ago as a family owned company in a 750-square-foot facility with 5 screw machines. Today, they’ve grown into a reliable, high quality precision screw machine shop that produces more than 2 million parts per month for customers around the globe in the medical, electronics, aerospace, and government industries.
Swiss Productions has more than 50 screw machines and 30 secondary machines. They produce components ranging in size from 2.5 inches in diameter down to syringe tips measuring .019 inches in diameter. Meeting national and international customers demands while also maintaining the utmost quality requires constant innovation and finding creative solutions not only for today’s challenges, but for the challenges to come in the future.
So, when faced with the need to maximizing machine output and employee productivity, they quickly began exploring new solutions.
The Challenge: Maximizing Spindle Time
Although Swiss Productions had the skilled operators to handle their machining, they still were not maximizing their spindle time. One of their biggest challenges was keeping their Haas Mill machine running consistently.
“The machine would only get 9 hours of production a day, and an employee would sit on the machine loading and unloading every 7-8 minutes, and take one hour worth of breaks a day,” explained Swiss Productions General Manager, Timo Lunceford.
Production was further interrupted when the machine operator lost focus because of needing to attend to other tasks.
“Our operators would stand for 10 minutes, wait for the part to finish and then reload it. We were losing precious time that could be used more efficiently.”
The company needed a way to keep their machines running 24/7 lights out, generating more products with greater efficiency.
The Solution: Automate Production with Help from OB7 Cobots
To find the answer to 24/7 lights out production, Swiss Productions investigated various collaborative robots on the market. When they discovered Productive Robotics, they were immediately drawn to OB7 cobot, particularly because of the extra flexibility its 7 axes would provide for their CNC machines.
“When we discovered OB7, we knew the 7th axis for us is key. We are going in, grabbing the parts, moving sideways with them, and then blowing out the collets that we are using to hold our parts. We need a quick turn radius because we also have to teach it to close the door and then double check that the door is closed, and then be able to pivot to press the start button, which is a complete 180° from where it was,” Lunceford said.
Easily Integrating OB7 into Swiss Productions’ Machining Processes
No outsourcing was needed to integrating OB7 with the Haas Mill; it was accomplished entirely by Swiss employees. Within just a few days, OB7 was up and running. Working “lights out” allowed Swiss to add an extra 32 hours per week of machine running time on top of the normal 40 hours. It also allowed them to gain back the hours lost during breaks. This brought their total weekly production time up to 76 hours.
Increasing employee productivity was another priority for Swiss. While OB7 tends the machines, employees are able to perform other tasks to advance production.
“The employee that would normally sit at the machine before OB7 is now able to run two of our smaller lathes at the same time. Previously, the cycle time wouldn’t allow for that between all three machines,” Lunceford said.
With OB7, Swiss Productions was driving higher output while also saving thousands of dollars monthly.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage
Utilizing OB7 to increasing production and enhance the productivity of their team gives Swiss a competitive advantage. Their success with OB7 was so valuable that Swiss Productions implemented a second OB7 to operate another of their CNC mills.
“We have not let go of any employees and our production has increased,” Lunceford shared. “We have big plans for OB7, not just on our mills but on our lathes we are producing parts as well.”
With each challenge providing opportunities for growth and innovation, Swiss Productions is on their way to unsurmountable growth. With OB7, there are no limits to their future going forward in size, quality, and innovation.
Find out how OB7 can help you maximize production in your machine shop! Contact Absolute Machine Tools today at firstname.lastname@example.org.