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Lean Manufacturing

How to Achieve a Leaner CNC Shop

July 17, 2019

Although Lean manufacturing is often thought of as the province of major companies like Toyota, the basic concept is applicable to any CNC shop. In essence, Lean is about analyzing a manufacturing process to eliminate wasted time, labor and material.

A few of the keys to achieving Lean are:

  • Documenting. Before you can find areas to improve, you need a clear idea of how your current process works. This means documenting every piece from raw materials through completion. This, then, becomes a map to follow that helps you identify roadblocks and value-sucking detours.
  • Reducing workpiece handling. We know that every touch of a workpiece adds cost, so it’s important to eliminate unnecessary handling. For example using a 5-axis rather than a 3-axis CNC machine for multi-sided parts eliminates repositioning or moving the part to another machine. It also reduces fixturing costs.
  • Applying automation. Wherever possible, automating repetitive functions such as loading and unloading workpieces reduces costs and allows machine operators to tend multiple work stations or perform other tasks. New, affordable, free-standing robotic machine tenders that don’t require advanced programming skills are within the reach of any size CNC shop.
  • Streamlining tooling, tool paths and more. Beyond correcting major issues, fine tuning the nature and sequence of machining operations pays huge dividends. Working with outside, experienced applications engineers  can help your employees learn how to setup production runs more efficiently to improve cycle times and throughput.
  • Using The Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT is more than a catchy phrase. Allowing CNC machines to communicate with bar feeders, high-pressure coolant systems, chip conveyors and other accessories can reduce changeover times and material waste, as well as monitor production and alert machine operators of any issues that could impact productivity.

As you work toward a leaner, more profitable CNC shop, Gosiger is ready to help with the latest technologies, engineering support and much more. To learn more contact your nearest Gosiger facility.