Our continued success at Ben Machine depends entirely on our ability to take care of our customers. While that obviously translates to our ability to produce top-quality CNC machine parts, that ability often relies on things that happen around the edges -the things that allow us to be efficient. There is so much that goes into a good CNC machine shop beyond mills and lathes. To run properly, the shop has to comprise a system. Otherwise, mistakes and accidents happen. Opportunities are lost.
Planning for Your Production
It’s vital that your CNC machine shop has top-of-the-line machines. Not only are they faster than older equipment, but they are more reliable. Vacuum systems don’t spring leaks. Pumps keep coolant flowing. Tools are held more firmly. Control screens provide the operator with more information about your parts. It’s important, too, for your CNC machine shop to have a sufficient quantity of machines. In an ideal situation, one operator can often run two, three, or even four machines together, optimizing milling time and greatly boosting efficiency. Of course, all of this requires the coordination of everyone involved. Machines have to be available and planned properly to allow one operator to run multiple at the same time.
They say the Quartermaster Corps has as much to do with the outcome of a battle as the soldiers on the line. Keeping the work areas stocked according to their project needs is a major operation when maximizing CNC efficiency. Who is going to need access to gantry cranes; when and where are they going to have to move parts? Which areas are going to need additional floor space, floor stands, or work area? Do all of the CNC machines have the required bits, inserts, and work-holding equipment? There are a thousand different details to be addressed every day. If a surface can be trued with one pass of a large fly cutter, it’s a waste of time to provide a smaller cutter that takes multiple passes to accomplish the same job.
In the Details
It’s not glamorous but maintaining efficiency in an environment where CNC machine parts are produced requires a lot of cleaning and sanitation. Our operators are professionals, and we want to provide them with a professional environment. When the chips start flying, waste management had better be operational. Coolant flushes chips off the workpiece and everything carried back with the fluid gets filtered out. Those filters have to be kept clean, as does the coolant itself. We invest routinely in systems to specifically deal with issues like this, as well as ways to corral chips that wind up in the workspace itself.
We have systems in place to ensure raw materials are either kept in stock or well-sourced for upcoming jobs to avoid supply chain issues. Those same systems allow us to maintain a reliable supply of the tools and consumables like bits and inserts at all times. We need to know that any delay in providing products to our customers isn’t caused by something that we could have addressed ahead of time. The next time you’re shopping for a quality CNC machine shop, come to tour Ben Machine and see what efficiency looks like.
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