Breaking the Bottleneck
With so many different production processes in the manufacturing industry, potential problems can pop up everywhere. Take metal cutting, for example; there is seemingly no end to the tools available. This raises some questions: Are all those tools really needed? Are they used at the peak of their possible performance? In metal cutting processes there are always situations that require improvement. These are often seen as ‘bottlenecks’ blocking the ability of manufacturing companies to run an efficient and effective company.
Simplifying and correctly applying fewer ‘different’ cutting tools to achieve the final goal of an efficient production economy can often be a large part of the answer. Production economy is a term used to describe all actions taken to optimise a metal cutting production process. Global production economy could be described as assuring maximum security in, and predictability of the process, while maintaining highest productivity and lowest production costs. This definition leads to the correct scenario to achieve the final goal of every manufacturing process, namely producing correct and finished workpieces with minimum effort, in the shortest total time possible and at the lowest cost possible. Described below is a basic micro-economic optimisation strategy to help to open some of these bottlenecks in your metal cutting processes.
1. PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT
Select the best possible production environment or working conditions. Some slelcted equipment could create constraints later on during the optimising process.
2. 1 TO 1 OPTIMISATION
Decide on a 1 to 1 optimisation (non-productive times have already been minimised) or a more global approach (do not concentrate on machining costs and times only, but on total process costs and times).
Select the best possible tooling adapted to the situation and the target (versatile, safe, best performing, etc).
4. DEPTH OF CUT
Select largest depth of cut possible for each operation; i.e., minimum number of passes (constraints due to available machine power and torque and stability of workpiece fixturing and tool clamping)
Select highest feed possible for each operation (think on constraints for workpiece quality and risk for tool failure).
6. CALIBRATE FOR SAFETY
Calibrate depth of cut and feed for operational safety, in regards to chip formation and evacuation, vibrations, fixture security and stability, workpiece deformation
7. MACHINING OPTIMISATION CRITERIA
Select appropriate machining optimisation criterion (minimum cost or maximum productivity).
8. CUTTING SPEED
Use cutting speed to calibrate optimisation criterion.