Durham Duplex is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high performance machine knives and industrial razor blades, with headquarters in Sheffield, England, the UK’s birthplace of engineering excellence. The product line includes both standard and custom-made products.
Durham Duplex were aware that there were bottlenecks in their grinding cell because they couldn’t keep up with demand. Additionally, data collection involved supervisors manually taking down each machine runtime figures from controller to clipboard, which can be a laborious and occasionally inaccurate operation. As a result, there was no easy or consistent method for benchmarking machine productivity, nor did supervisors have visibility of the shop floor without spending their shifts doing constant rounds of it.
Durham Duplex sought a solution to help locate and eliminate bottleneck areas so that it could deliver improved ROI as well as improved customer experience through reduced lead-times.
“This onboarding process also ran smoothly and we were able to have useable data on day one of installation.”Steve Corbett, Production Director at Durham-Duplex
Steve Corbett, Production Director at Durham-Duplex recalls “We purposefully set off slowly, monitoring just two machines at first.” Each machine was outfitted with a MachineLink, an IIoT sensor that automatically collects utilisation data, and MachineMode, which is a tablet that allows workers to enter reasons for downtime. Because FourJaw is plug & play and works on any CNC machine, Steve noted that “The installation process was simple to implement and it was done quickly.”
To reduce the potential for friction, staff were made part of the implementation process right from the start. In most instances, this meant the FourJaw development team were communicating directly with the operators and managers to ensure the software was user friendly and useful to them.
“Once we had the ‘generic’ outputs we required, such as machine utilisation over different time periods, reasons for machine downtime and times and durations of each production run, we started the process of implementation on another six machines, which consisted of two CNC milling machines, and four machines that we had custom built for our business. All of these machines were previously monitored manually. This onboarding process also ran smoothly and we were able to have useable data on day one of installation.”
“The beauty of this data is that it makes it easy to identify and eliminate pinch points. By removing these bottlenecks on one process, we boosted productivity from five products a day to 25 a day. Providing our people with the facts on the shop floor empowers them to address the productivity issue themselves..”Charles Turner, Managing Director at Durham-Duplex
Charles Turner, Managing Director of Durham Duplex, saw a five-fold in machine productivity in the factory’s milling cell after adopting FourJaw. In this cell, FourJaw data soon revealed that machine utilisation was significantly lower than it should have been. “We suspected this but everyone appeared so busy,” says Turner. “The beauty of this data is that it makes it easy to identify and eliminate pinch points. By removing these bottlenecks on one process, we boosted productivity from five products a day to 25 a day. Providing our people with the facts on the shop floor empowers them to address the productivity issue themselves.”
Charles elaborated on one of the ways that Durham Duplex optimised their milling cell, “We found out that the first hour of the day was lost because the machines had to warm up before they were ready for production. The FourJaw software highlighted this lost hour, so we started warming up our grinding machines an hour before the start of the day shift. We can see on the FourJaw production timeline that this adds an extra hour or more of productive time to each shift.”
Using the data provided on machine-mounted tablets running FourJaw’s MachineMode software, operators were able to adapt to new and improved ways of working. Charles Turner was pleased to see that the operators had taken to FourJaw. “In the CNC cell we have doubled the number of operatives because of the efficiencies we have been able to make. So we are employing more people in the cell, producing more product and the cost per unit of the product has gone down. That’s a big win.”
“The software is a great tool that allows real-time and historical utilisation data capture that can then be used to inform and validate ideas and actions that increase utilisation.”
“The fact that the software automatically captures data over time and that it generates automatic e-mail notifications means there is no need for what is often costly manual data capture entered into complicated spreadsheets to identify issues. The interface with machine operators and staff are kept simple and time-sensitive to ensure ease of use and ensure the monitoring process is not an onerous one.”
“It’s an absolutely fabulous tool to use and has become an essential aspect of our production planning processes. We are also using it for pricing. Sometimes, especially with a new job, we estimate production time based on similar components, but now we can see instantly how long the job actually takes. The simplicity of using FourJaw has convinced us to roll it out across the entire shop floor. It’s literally opening our eyes to see things for the first time.”
“The simplicity of using FourJaw has convinced us to roll it out across the entire shop floor. It’s literally opening our eyes to see things for the first time..”Charles Turner, Managing Director at Durham-Duplex