Gosiger Automation, Factory Automation, Case Study
March 15, 2012
McConnelsburg PA-based Fulton Precision Industries, Inc. makes transmission shafts for Caterpillar and rock drill bits for Atlas Copco. The 94 separate Caterpillar parts range in diameter from 2” to 5.5” and in length from 27” to 42”, with individual shafts weighing up to 235 pounds. Lot sizes are relatively small, and each shaft has complex geometry that must be machined to tolerances of +/- .0007 of an inch.
According to Fulton’s President, Walt Barmont: “When we considered adding two new L 470 Okuma CNC lathes to our shop, Gosiger Factory Automation proposed automating our process by adding a Fanuc 165F robot to load and unload parts. Gosiger Factory Automation worked with us to make sure the system would not only increase productivity, but would deliver the accuracy and repeatability we require.”
To accommodate Fulton Precision’s operational requirements, Gosiger Factory Automation mounted the robot between two outward-facing machine tools, loading the parts over the back of each machine. This layout allows ergonomic operator access to either machine tool for service or changeovers, while the opposite machine continues to operate completely automatically.
Although Fulton Precision’s goal was to increase productivity by 30% - 40%, because the cell runs unattended and greatly reduces operator time, productivity has more than doubled. The cell can run any of the 94 parts in one machine while simultaneously running any other part in the opposite machine, without any tooling changeover or adjustment. In addition, the cell’s simplicity and ease of programming makes it practical to set up eight-piece and larger lot sizes.
Based on the flexibility and better-than-anticipated efficiencies, Fulton Precision had Gosiger Factory Automation install three more identical cells. Today, 131 different parts can run on the original tooling design without a changeover. For more about Gosiger Factory Automation and how it helps manufacturers improve productivity and profitability go to the Factory Automation page.