If you’ve read our earlier installments (Are We There Yet and Are We There Yet Version 2.0), you may be starting to think this series is sounding more like those impatient youngsters in the back seat of a long road trip.
The hydraulic swivel production department at United Equipment Accessories (UEA) has reached another mile marker, or rather, another milestone. Our two NT series Mori Seiki machines have reached a point where we are struggling to keep up with demand without resorting to adding another shift. We incorporated software to do offline program verification to eliminate dead time on the spindles checking new programs. This helped for a while, but as demand increased we once again were running out of machine capacity.
As we analyzed the time consumed on these machines we came to the realization that a considerable amount of time was being spent, on certain designs, just to remove large amounts of material to create the basic shape of the part. This heavy material removal was not something we considered specialized or precision machining, which is what the NT series machines truly excel at. Our conclusion was that this “rough” machining would be better suited for a more standard lathe operation, which would then free up spindle time on the more specialized machines to perform their optimal task.
The initial thought was to add a “basic” heavy-duty high horsepower lathe to fulfill this need. As we analyzed this project more thoroughly we realized that by adding a machine with more than just heavy turning capability we could give a more versatile work center to this area. The decision was made to purchase a Mori Seiki NLX4000-1500. This lathe has all the horsepower we need with the additional advantage of live tooling, a full “Y” axis, and a programmable tailstock. These extra features will make this equipment useful to our full line of UEA manufacturing products from slip rings to cable reels.
(Seen in the lower left of this photo are two of the net shape pieces turned on the NLX4000)
(The current United Equipment Accessories Hydraulic Swivel Machining area January 2018)
By having this new lathe working concurrently with the NT’s we will be able to absorb the extra demand . . . for the next few miles anyway.