Advantages of Cellular Manufacturing
Manufacturing cells are used to minimize product movement as well as materials, equipment and labor during the manufacturing process. By reducing cycle times and material handling, these cells help shops more easily meet customer demands regarding cost, quality and leadtimes.
A manufacturing cell brings together all of the elements needed to produce a part in one central location. It typically consists of the machine tools and tooling as well as any automation elements and supplies and the personnel who will oversee the process. Cells are used to minimize product movement as well as materials, equipment and labor during the manufacturing process. Because everything is close at hand, operators do not need to move to other areas of the shop floor to transport parts for additional processing or to retrieve supplies. By reducing cycle times and material handling, a shop can more easily meet customer demands regarding cost, quality and leadtimes.
This two-machine production cell is fed by a robot to reach the daily production volume.
For a feature article in PM’s November issue, Chris Koepfer visited Toolcraft, an Indiana shop that made the leap from manual machining and basic CNC technology to a sophisticated turning cell. The cell has two Okuma turning centers that are fed by a FANUC M10 robot. The cell can be tooled for almost any job the company produces and has had a huge impact on daily production volumes. Read “Taking a Big Step” for more information.
Setting up the automation in a cell can sometimes present some workholding/workhandling challenges. “Handling Parts in a Robotic Cell” provides a few examples of efficient part handling and ideas for getting the most from a manufacturing cell.
Robotics can facilitate more productive workhandling.
Shops can easily view chips simply as waste, hardly giving a second thought to the disposal process and the potential related savings. By keeping an eye on the waste and choosing the most efficient methods of chip disposal, a shop can easily add to the bottom line through substantial savings.
Selecting the right bar feeder can be one of the most important decisions a shop can make. Bar feed systems help improve productivity, throughput and quality, but in order to achieve the most benefit from them it is essential that a bar feed system be matched to the particular needs of the turning operation.
Today, lower part volumes and frequent change-over are changing the offerings of some automation integrators. Standard, off-the-shelf components are being engineered to work together in a large variety of applications and, in some cases, are even portable so they can be moved from machine tool to machine tool.