Reduced machine set-up times is just one of the benefits offered by Zero Point Mounting Systems, a quick change technology that is now attracting interest from Australian machine shops.
Machine shop operators know that the key to profitability is keeping their machine tool spindles ‘in the cut’ and that any lost time means poor utilization of their assets which in turn leads to reduced income. Methods of reducing set-up times when changing from one job to another offers the most significant opportunity to minimize lost machining time, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.
One proven method of achieving this goal is the implementation of a Zero Point Mounting System which allows for super fast changeover times whilst maintaining high accuracy and precision. The system provides precise locating and clamping of work-holding devices such as vises, chucks, mandrels and clamping jigs onto the machine table.
These work-holding devices are fitted with a series of locating nipples ‘couple’ with a receiver mounted onto the machine table. Once the work-holding device is engaged with the receiver it is swiftly clamped by hydraulic pressure from either a manual or an automatic pump, and, the whole process takes just a few minutes.
An example of lost time reduction on a vertical machining centre with an average 5 set-ups per shift is as follows;
• Typical time for manual changeover: 5 x set-ups at approx 20 mins each = 100 mins
• Typical time using zero point method: 5 x set-ups at average 4 mins* each = 20 mins
• Time saving using zero point method: 80 minutes per shift
• Time saving assuming 200 shifts/annum: 266 hours/annum
* 4 minutes per set-up is the mean value based upon experience (all above figures provided by Stark Spannesysteme GmbH).
Of course every job will have differing set-up times, and some shops operate on more than one shift per day, however operators can do their own sums based upon their own circumstances. Either way, a potential saving of around 266 hours per year, at current hourly charge rates offers thousands of dollars in additional profit meaning a zero point system can pay for itself very quickly.
Zero point systems can be used on both vertical and horizontal machines and in any process where numerous set-up changes are causing significant down times.
As well as the time and cost saving outlined above, these systems also allow for improved quality as the workpiece can be clamped once and moved from machine to machine in the same work-holding device for subsequent operations. This eliminates the potential inaccuracies that can arise from multiple set-ups and clampings.
Several manufacturers of vises and chucking systems now also offer standard products that are ‘zero point ready’, thus eliminating the need for sub-plates etc. One such supplier is work-holding specialist Hilma GmbH who has released a range of vises with matching zero point quick clamping base.
So, in summary, if you are looking to reduce machine down time and increase your profits a zero point mounting system is a proven solution, and certainly worthy of consideration.
Romheld Australia distributes both Stark and Hilma products throughout Australia and NZ.