3. How to Optimize Your CNC Machine Shop
Under the term “optimize,” the streamlining of the process is normally understood. The desired result here is to make sure employees and production equipment are used in a rational way and without substantial delays. It will lead to lower manufacturing costs per part fabricated. Ways to do so are the following:
3.1 Ensure Seamless End-to-End Fabrication
Some CNC service suppliers, unfortunately, fail to optimize their supply chain. It leads to inconsistencies in supply, over or understocking, production delays, and other forms of unpleasant surprises. Here are the tips for ensuring good, end-to-end production:
3.1.1. Have a solid supply chain management system. It has to ensure two things: that raw materials and tooling are delivered in required quantities plus 5-10% more (rejection rates and unpredictable issues) and that transport keeps up with the pace of manufacturing, so there is no overstocking.
3.1.2. Construct an optimal manufacturing line. Avoid placing production units in the way half-finished components have to be moved between rooms multiple times. This will prolongate the manufacturing process overall.
Aim at building complete lines with units for preparing raw workpieces, for processing these to half-finished parts, for finishing these parts, and for packing into primary and secondary packaging if necessary.
3.1.3. Ensure the rotation of personnel. The worst-case scenario on your manufacturing line is the complete stop of production – breakage. If 3 machinists are needed to fix it, these must be present every hour of a CNC shop operating. This will not cause the situation when you will have to wait for a specialist to arrive at the premises.
3.2 Ensure One-Stop Post Finishing
The idea here is basically the same as for the supply chain. A single part may require some types of finishes to be applied. So, it’s wise to ensure a one-stop finishing service. For this purpose, it’s necessary to pre-plan and construct several lines for applying finishes:
- Hand and form fit function finishing. This aspect implies the manual adding of necessary components. For example, adding inserts or functional assemblies. Screws or bolts also belong to this process.
- Sanding and polishing. Bead blasting, polishing, and sanding are all normally executed via the same CNC or manually operated unit. It takes hours and is the last stage of manufacturing, so it should be placed closer to the warehouse/ to the end of the production line.
- Painting and printing. Clean paint is a great portion of a product’s quality. The process must be performed in a strictly controlled environment that is similar to sanding and polishing in a CNC unit.
- UV coating. It’s simply an application of UV ink that is further cured with ultraviolet to fully solder. It serves the protection of a component.
- Laser etching. It is the process of removing a thin part of a material from a part’s surface using a laser. This way it’s possible to produce a brand name logo or anything else.
- Powder coating. It’s much like a detailed spray painting. Parts are coated with dry powder and then baked at a temperature of 200°C. You can learn what is powder coating here.
Even if it’s impossible to have all of the details, a CNC shop must offer hand form fit function finishing, CNC polishing, bead-blasting, and either powder coating or painting.
3.3 Ensure Robust Quality Assurance
The thing is that none of the industrial machines is 100% accurate. Normally, there is some production error or deviation from the set dimensions. Sometimes it is within limits, but it may also breach them, which must be detected. here are the ways of doing so and protecting your brand’s reputation:
- Optical inspection. It’s performed manually by a machine operator (optionally, with the help of some sort of tooling). It helps to detect and remove sub quality components timely.
- Verification of purchased products. Selection of finished goods (10-100 units) must be obligatory sent for an obligatory, independent quality inspection. This way, you will also receive a quality certificate.
- Inspection by the Quality control department. You must have im-house QA specialists and an equipped room with measuring instruments. There you will be checking the dimensions and properties of the finished goods to see if they match the standards and requirements set.
Don’t neglect any of the described needs for your CNC shop, as they impact the level of your service significantly.
3.4 Ensure Safety in the Workplaces
It’s crucial that your workers are not endangered. CNC shops are quite a place where incidents are absolutely unheard of. So, consider sticking to these recommendations to prevent those:
- Make sure your workers are not roaming around working machines 24/7. They are supposed to rest behind a plastic protective screen and watch the process go smoothly.
- Specific dress code. Actually, your workers are supposed to wear protective gloves and eyewear at least. It’s better to also provide them with some industrial coats and casks, if necessary.
- Pay attention to waste management. Any CNC must strive to be an environment-friendly business. It is also tightly connected with safety concerns, such as hazardous substances, sharp-edged metal chips, etc.
- Hazard control. There are some flaming and toxic materials stored in a CNC shop. Make sure these are approached as per safety standards.
- Routine machine maintenance. Every unit obligatory must pass routine checks daily or even more frequently. But it’s also crucial not to forget to stop production lines for planned maintenance, so no unexpected breakage is possible.
So, there are methods in which you guarantee that your CNC shop is subject to no safety issues.