Archive for March, 2010

Managing Complexity with Automated Tool Management

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

manThe Issue

Using world class engineering skills to deliver top quality components for clients is central to the culture at Numac Engineering. One result of this is that they have an ever increasing tooling database. Selection of the correct tool for any given job is essential.

Historically, cutting tools were stored in “bins” and it was up to the machinist to select the correct tool for any given job.

As part of their “Lean” manufacturing initiative significant opportunities for improvements in both quality & efficiency were identified in this area.

The Solution

Andrew McLaren managing director of Numac Engineering recalls “The driver for the project was addressing inefficiencies identified as part of our Lean Programme. We were keen to make improvements, but were only willing to take action if we could be sure it would also positively reinforce our quality first culture”.

Following extensive research into best practice, the result was a significant investment in a Venda 365 automated tool management system, and the development of systematic tool management procedures. The system, which delivers the correct cutting tool for a specific task based on a barcode system, has enabled Numac to reduce costs and increase efficiency, whilst at the same time consolidating their already enviable reputation for quality.

The Benefits

“Another great aspect of this project was that it was chosen by machinists on the shop floor following a “Lean” Workshop. We are always keen to ensure that our management processes fully involve employees from all areas of the organisation, so it was gratifying to be able to implement a project, driven by the shop floor, that moved us forward in areas of efficiency & quality,” adds McLaren.

“Given that many of our products are used in harsh environments on critical applications where failure can be catastrophic, quality has to be second to none. Furthermore, the fact that Numac often manufacture using expensive, exotic alloys means it is essential that we get it right first time as mistakes can be very costly.

“Our investment in the automated tool delivery system has ensured that we can continue to deliver high quality components to our customers at very competitive prices.”