Choosing a single-brand machine tool enables Ketchie Inc. operators to be self-sufficient. They can quickly learn how to set up and program almost all the machines in the workshop. #case analysis
Courtney Silver, president of Ketchie Inc., and plant manager Terry Smith saved customers $30,000 last year, thanks in large part to the workshop’s advanced Mazak processing technology.
In 2008, when Courtney Silver (with a background in finance and supply chain management) decided to help her husband, Robert “Bobby” Ketchie, manage his manufacturing operations She never thought that she would eventually use the machine shop in Concord, North Carolina. The couple jointly operated and developed Ketchie Inc. until Mr. Ketchie passed away in March 2014. Ms. Ketchie-Silver became the president and sole shareholder, and within a year, her store became a qualified female company owned and operated. Today, Cage continues to develop through capital investment in new equipment and new technologies.
In terms of technology, Ms. Silver said that the business philosophy of this store is “buy the most sophisticated machines, and then use everything.” For several machines in the store, this means more than 30 years of use. time. The workshop also integrates multi-task part processing and automation functions.
An important business strategy of Ketchie is that it has achieved standardization on a brand of machine tools. The biggest advantage of this is that the workshop can quickly attract new mechanics, not only can speed up the machine, but also set up and program it.
The store’s strategy is working. In the past four years, Ketchie’s revenue has increased by double digits year-on-year, and the number of employees has increased by more than 20%. It also invested more than $2.5 million in machine technology.
Mazak HCN-6000s is a heavy-duty machine that can provide the power and versatility required by Ketchie for efficient and precise machining of large parts, as well as a special integral spindle/motor headstock to minimize vibration and heat generation, So as to achieve the highest level of store quality.
Ketchie’s first CNC was the Mazak M4 turning center purchased by Bobby Ketchie’s father Ed Jr. in the late 1970s. Since then, all machines in the store have been produced by Mazak Corp. Because of its reliability and Mazatrol control technology that can realize EIA/ISO and conversational programming, Jr. only purchased Mazak machines. She said: “He immediately realized that a conversational programming language would make training new employees easier and faster, and it would still be useful to us.”
Ketchie now has eight turning centers and four horizontal machining centers, including Mazak HCN-6000 and HCN-6800 HMC, Quick Turn 350MY and 450MY turning centers with multitasking capabilities, and Palletech automation systems.
Mazak HCN-6000 and HCN-6800 are heavy-duty machines that provide Ketchie with the power and versatility required for efficient and precise machining of large parts. They also have a special integral spindle/motor headstock, which minimizes vibration and heat generation, thereby improving part quality. Both models are equipped with two pallet changers as standard, and one of Ketchie’s HCN-6000 is part of the workshop’s Palletech system, which uses a modular design to make it easy for the workshop to add pallets, loading stations and parts during the production process The cleaning station needs to be changed.
The Quick Turn 350MY and 450MY in the shop have milling functions and Y-axis eccentric line functions, as well as standard through-hole chuck assemblies that can handle various part sizes in a single setting. The sporty 12-position direct-drive turret eliminates the need for leather belts to improve the surface finish of parts and reduce maintenance. The machine can accept VDI and bolt-fixing tools, and is equipped with a standard 10 horsepower (7.5 kW), 4,000 rpm electric spindle.
Ketchie relies on Mazak machines to quickly and efficiently process many of its parts, which are used in industrial equipment and heavy machinery made of castings, forgings and raw materials.
According to plant manager Terry Smith, the mechanic has programmed almost all parts on the machine because the Mazak controls are easy to use, while Ketchie’s parts are “not very complicated.” The workshop will use the CAM system to program certain parts, but 99% of the time the work is programmed on the machine.
Mr. Smith said that Mazak’s Mazatrol programming also greatly shortens the learning curve for new machinists, allowing them to easily transition from one Mazak machine to another. He explained: “We want all operators to be self-sufficient, which is why they all know how to set up and program machines.” “This is the real advantage of all Mazak machines with Maztrol controls. The operators can run us. The turning center in 1987, then switched to the latest Mazak multitasking machine without interruption.”
One of the Ketchie machinists who benefited from Mazatrol programming was Jordan Nicholson (Jordan Nicholson), a turning center operator with no machining experience. He quickly progressed from simply looking after the machine to installing and programming. He now uses on-site tools and Y-axis eccentric line function to run the Quick Turn 450MY in the workshop.
Mr. Nicholson said: “The programming of milling and turning operations on the same machine at the same time is a bit daunting,” but Mazatrol made the learning curve very short for me because it is simple and straightforward. The transition from an old turning center to running a new turning center was not as complicated as expected, mainly because both machines have the same type of control. Once you master the basics, you can almost seamlessly transition to multitasking. “
For parts that require two or three setups, Ketchie’s Mazak multi-tasking machine technology and live tools help reduce setup and machining cycles.
According to Mr. Smith, Ketchie’s technology acquisition is based on production flexibility and reduced setup and processing cycle time. He said: “The Mazak multitasking machine with real-time tools really helps reduce both.” “For many jobs that previously required two to three settings, now we can use QTN-350MY or 450MY to complete them in one setting. He also pointed out that when the workshop can eliminate the need to handle parts (such as a single process and multiple machines), the overall quality is immediately improved and the risk of stacking tolerances is reduced.
Mr. Smith said that although Ketchie’s multi-tasking machine provides a single set of parts processing, the workshop’s six-pallet Mazak Palletech system can “hide a lot of conversion and inspection time because the machines in the system basically run at 100% speed. “. This gives the workshop time to inspect or replace parts without having to stop the machine spindle.
Most of Ketchie’s work involves industrial equipment and heavy machinery parts made from castings, forgings and raw materials. Materials include cast iron, stainless steel and tool steel. The processing cycle is between 2 minutes and 1.5 hours. Depending on the parts and machines, the required tolerance range can be as small as 0.0003 to 0.0005 inches.
Ms. Silver said: “Thanks in large part to our advanced Mazak processing technology, we were able to save our customers $30,000 per year last year.” “We will actively re-evaluate the settings, cycle time and other aspects of their specific work. We are able to reduce these two items and pass the savings on to our customers. In turn, this makes them more competitive. As we continue to provide our talented team with the latest manufacturing technology, we foresee more opportunities Save customers time and money with our Mazak technology.”
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Post time: Sep-16-2020