Working closely with their supplier and listening to the advice of their CNC operator, has resulted in an increase in turnover from 14-million Swedish crowns a year, to 22-million, for a subcontracting production company.
That 63% rise came after Swedish manufacturer Roslagsverkstäder looked at ways of improving productivity when customers started to order increasing numbers of their cast iron tooled components.
“We have been able to increase our turnover due to close co-operation with our supplier, and with a member of our staff who has comprehensive workshop experience,” says Roslagsverkstäder co-owner Andreas Thoresson (pictured far right, with CNC operator Ulf Forsberg). The company employs 15 people at its production site in Hallstavik, Sweden, and specialises in cast iron tooled components in series of up to 50 pieces.
After a major change at the beginning of the 21st century, the scene was set for transferring most of the production to Roslags foundries, which sell tooled components, ready for delivery to workshop and engineering industries.
CNC operator Ulf Forsberg is convinced this is the reason why they could concentrate entirely on the implementation of the production machinery. Previously, when they mostly worked on details of only one piece at a time it was adequate to key the NC codes directly into the machine. But things began to change in 2007 when the market increased.
“Our clients started to order more. It was important to be able to produce quickly.” The company then decided to start using Edgecam to drive their manufacturing machines, and Ulf Forsberg, who had experience of NC-programming was given additional responsibility, which included improving productivity.
He very quickly learned how to program with Edgecam off-line, and working with a technician from their supplier Edge Technology, he changed to post processors on all machines, and worked out a “brilliant concept.” A great advantage was that staff members of the company were familiar with the production process and ‘spoke the same language.’
Andreas Thoresson says: “It was essential for us that we had a man with considerable experience of machines. He had worked with Fanuc, Siemens and Mazatron. He rapidly learned how to use Edgecam, and transferred that skill to all our machines, which excited us and gave our whole enterprise a boost.”
Roslagsverkstäder have got nine milling machines and lathes as well as a placing machine. Nearly all employees participate in the production process. Ulf Forsberg spends between 55 – 60% of his time in the workshop. The rest of the time he is building programs which are used by the other operators. In co-operation with the supplier they developed a concept which during the first 1.1/2 years considerably increased the company’s technical ability.
Internally the work has been built up in a sequence, which registers a production order in their planning system by means of a database for articles. Edgecam is installed on a computer in the office, where every single production activity is being simulated. As soon as everything is ready, it is matched with the production order and postprocessor, and stored on a server which is connected to all the CNC machines.
Andreas Thoresson says the ‘secret’ behind their concept lies in the individual postprocessors. Looking at the two Mazak PFH 5800 milling machines, the operating system is identical on both, but there are differences in the graduation. On the control panel of one machine there is a 360 graduation, which means one notch per grade on the desk. While there are also 360 grades on the second Mazak, the grade is broken down much more; it’s divided into thousands, which provides 360,000 options of graduation.
“That is why the NC-code for a bend, for example, is called ‘B90’ on the first machine and ‘B90000’ on the second. However, it’s essential that the right postprocessor is connected to the right sequence.
“It can happen when we’re particularly busy that we may believe we can use the same post processors. In certain cases it might be technically possible, but it could lead to an incorrect postprocessing action, which will certainly cause additional costs. It’s a matter of making sure that all programs are connected to the correct postprocessor.”
Today, Ulf Forsberg is continuously taking care of developments, and suggests changes to the co-owners. One of his projects is working with Sandvik to prepare a durable edge tool (pictured, left) which can be reused for several operations without being renewed.
Another activity is the possibility of working directly from their customers’ CAD systems, while a third project is the evaluation of CAM news – such as information obtained from Edgecam user group meetings -- submitting proposals and deciding how advantageous it will be for Roslagsverkstäder.