Kaizen Korner: How to save time setting up a vertical turning lathe

Posted by Tom McDevitt on Mar 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

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Rose Machinist, Bob Peck, implemented a Fast Track continuous improvement project at the 100” VTL (Vertical Turning Lathe).  Bob knows from experience it’s time consuming and difficult to set up his VTL for machining 46” (ID) and 71” (ID) split rings.  They’re heavy weldments and require considerable muscle to bump these rings into approximate position before using scales and squares to precisely locate and position the 180 degree opposed split-flanges; a critical, first step in machining these weldments.  But Bob saw an opportunity to improve this setup procedure and in the process, Bob improved safety at his machine and reduced by 30 minutes the setup time for 46” and 71” split rings. 

Even for a one-off part, a 30 minute setup time reduction is a big number, but multiply the 30 minutes savings across 60 units , the combined annual average production run for 46” and 71” split rings,  and Bob’s kaizen project generates a huge cycle time reduction  for these products.

Bob achieved his remarkable cycle time reduction by machining a setup indicating fixture.  A precision machined fixture, Bob’s indicating tool uses the T-slots in the VTL’s table to quickly and precisely indicate the flange centerlines on the split rings.  This indicating tool now allows Bob to use the overhead crane to set the rings almost precisely into position; therefore allowing Bob to bump the piece into final machining positon using a soft-touch hammer.  This eliminates the need to muscle the pieces into position and significantly reduces the opportunity for strain injuries when working with these rings.  Moreover, Bob’s indicating tool also increases accuracy and that, in turn, improves quality. 

The Rose Corporation is a Pennsylvania-based, WBENC-certified small business specializing in the manufacture of custom industrial fabrication, large-scale precision weldments, power generation equipment (including repairs), and more. The Rose Corporation’s most unique strength is our experience with delivery of specialized design expertise, along with an ability to help customers optimize manufacturability, reduce costs, and improve overall product quality.