Lights Out And Away We Go!

Learn how a customer utilised our free lite plan to figure out what was causing a grinding machine to malfunction and damage itself and the parts it was machining.

The Challenge

A company that grinds carbon cutting tools invested in multiple robot-loaded CNC machines to enable lights-out manufacturing.

However, it was not a smooth implementation – evenings and weekends were meant to provide extra robot-loaded capacity, but each Monday morning they would come in to a pile of scrapped parts.

Tracking down the root problem was almost impossible.

Lights-out machining was stopped, production was restricted to manned hours during the day shift, and the ROI of that robot-loaded equipment failed to appear.

The Solution

To resolve the issue, the customer signed up to FourJaw Lite (free) for installation on the problematic robot-loaded grinding machines.

Looking at the grinding machine’s raw data from the timeline page of the FourJaw platform, they could view the exact operation of the machines, even on weekends when no one was in the factory.

Looking at the FourJaw raw data traces, they noticed that the failure always happened on the third operation – the first two operations were running quite happily on the robot-loaded CNCs.

With this knowledge, the production manager devised a plan – the first two operations could be done lights-out on evenings and weekends using the robot loaded CNCs, whilst the challenging third operation would be completed by skilled machinists during the day shift.

The Results

It was the perfect combination – productivity jumped through the roof with over 80 parts being machined lights-out during evenings and weekends. They even increased the feed rate on the robot-loaded CNCs from 60 mm/min to 300 mm/min, slashing the production time for Op1 and Op2 to 20% of the original duration.

The machinists were also much happier as they got to work on the challenging third operation that fully utilised their skillsets, rather than baby-sitting the first two ops throughout the day shift.

With increased capacity, reduced cycle times and happier shopfloor staff, it was a big win for the FourJaw Platform.

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