It doesn’t matter if you’re producing the highest-quality components if they’re not getting to the customer on time. Many machine shops invest in resources to improve quality requirements – such as new machine technology and improved process design – but unpredictable backlogs and bottlenecks can remain difficult to manage.
This was one area that BMW Engineering, located in Delville, Germiston, Gauteng, began reevaluating last year. Instead of looking at on-time delivery from a financial perspective, the company began breaking data down in terms of production hours.
The new Takumi VC 1052 CNC milling machine supplied by F&H Machine Tools
“It became a question of speed of delivery and our commitment to the customer. Once we started getting a handle on this, it really had a profound effect on efficiency and throughput on the shop floor,” said Wesley Bellora, a Director of the company that operates from the same facility as sister company B.C.F. Precision Grinding Works.
“We had reached a stage where we knew that the throughput of our existing machine had reached its sell by date in terms of our operation. It’s not that the CNC had lost its accuracy for the type of machining it was doing, but more a case of the time it was taking to machine components. As a result it was creating production bottlenecks.”
“The machine had served us well over the years but advances in technology eventually catch up. Retrofitting older machine tools with modern CNC, DRO and linear scales is an option and is often cheaper than buying new machines but we did not think that would be the solution.”
BMW Engineering has a new client that needs 50 different types of components that they need machined regularly
“However, it was not just about replacing an old machine with a new machine to shorten the machining time. The old Eumach had a relatively small working envelope and we needed to increase this to accommodate some of the recent orders that we had won. There are many factors to be considered before acquiring a new machine tool, and a lot of questions have to be asked and answered prior to selecting the right CNC machine.”
“Once the reason for purchasing the machine has been established, but before machine type or model selection can begin, the technical aspects of the machine come into play, and the most basic but critical question that must be addressed is: What size are the components to be machined? This may sound odd but far too often we have heard of machine shop owners not doing their homework and purchasing the wrong machine.”
Among the components are shafts
“Future shop capacity should also be considered in selecting the optimum machine size. Perhaps a shop could secure more business if it had a slightly larger machine. It’s easier to step up to a larger model today, allowing for the possibility of bigger or longer parts to be machined tomorrow, rather than purchase a smaller machine and regret that decision six months later.”
Takumi VC 1052 CNC milling machine
“We have recently acquired a new client and this did influence our decision. The company manufactures compacting machinery and they do have a big export order book. There are 50 different types of components that they need machined regularly. At this stage we have a small portion of their requirements but the prospects are looking good because we have gone from supplying 200 components a month late last year to 1 300 in April.”
“Some of the components that we have machined for them include flanges, end plates, couplings, drive bearings, gaskets, shafts, drums and taper locks. As we prove that we are a reliable supplier I am sure we will be asked to machine more components for them.”
Some of the components that BMW Engineering will machine for the new client include flanges, end plates, couplings, drive bearings, gaskets, shafts, drums and taper locks
“The machine we have purchased is a Takumi VC 1052 CNC milling machine with XYZ travels of 1 060 x 520 x 610mm, rapid traverse of 48m/min, a table size of 1 160 x 520mm and a work load of 650 kilograms. The machine was installed in February 2018 and was purchased from F&H Machine Tools. To compare the two machines is unfair because of the age difference but to give you a rough idea we are now able to machine a component 10 times faster on the Takumi. That is a big saving.”
“We have also equipped the machine with a Renishaw probe to help reduce set-up times and improve our process control.”
“This takes us to 15 CNC machines that BMW Engineering and B.C.F. Precision Grinding Works has joint access to and it includes lathes, machining/milling centers, grinders and a Chmer Wire EDM CW1060 HS.”
“We have not gone the 5-axis route yet but that could be for the not too distant future. Our visit to EMO 2017 certainly inspired us to investigate new ways to look at our machining capabilities.”
For further details contact BMW Engineering and B.C.F. Precision Grinding Works on TEL: 011 827 4823 or visit www.bcfengineering.co.za