8/25/2010 | 3 MINUTE READ

Opportunity Awaits

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Shops have trimmed operations in the past couple of years, reducing labor costs, energy costs and almost every other cost of doing business. Firms have thoroughly analyzed the way they do business and eliminated unnecessary duties and wasteful activity. The focus on cost reduction has been very intense.

And two of the largest costs, employment and energy, have been key targets for cost reduction. Companies of all kinds have learned that they can function fully, yet more profitably, with fewer employees and have squeezed more profit per dollar of revenue.

The survivors are leaner than ever and more than a few are looking at a return of demand for their capability, particularly if they can produce complex parts—the type that have not been easily outsourced or which have come back to the U.S.A.

As business improves, you don’t want to be left behind or lose out on the
business available globally because you can’t respond quickly and profitably.

The question for some companies then becomes: Are we going to add more personnel to meet the demand for our products, or can we accommodate an increase in business by adding technology?

Adding capacity and improving capability by investing in machines that complete parts unattended offers a long-term, low-risk answer to the question, an answer that can help you respond quickly to the ups and downs of order activity.

Modern equipment can be relied on to put more high quality product out the door and bring more revenue in the door without the need to add personnel. It can also offer meaningful reductions in energy consumption on the shop floor. Fewer personnel, less energy consumption, plus faster production is a recipe for future success.

With technology, output can be added or controlled consistently without the concerns that come with hiring and employing operators for equipment. This is part of the reason companies of all kinds and sizes are investing in information technology. IT has been one of the hottest sectors in the economy this year.

Managers and business owners are also faced with great uncertainty regarding health care costs, taxes of various kinds and levels, and likely increases in employment tax rates. It is this range of circumstances that is dampening hiring and preventing employment in this country from improving in any meaningful way.

According to our most enthusiastic customers, many of whom operate small shops, the investment in advanced machining technology that can drop complex parts complete is a revenue and profit builder, not simply an expense.

A faster process with no wasted time (running continuously) makes parts profitably, even if initial capital expense seems major. The flexibility of modern equipment also means, of course, that you can handle many different jobs in less time on the floor.

As energy inevitably becomes a larger expense for shops, energy efficiency becomes another important reason to upgrade your production capability. Efficient use of energy is an additional advantage of advanced equipment.

Further, economical use of waste heat, or climate-neutral heat discharge from the shop floor and recovery of machine waste heat, enables a sustainable reduction of energy costs at a company. 

The INDEX cooling concept ensures that the spindles, hydraulics and control cabinet are cooled constantly and that the heat can be fed to another useful application via a “water interface,” for example, for service water heating or as process heat for other manufacturing steps.

A cold water interface provides the ability to dissipate heat in a climate-neutral manner, if the machine waste heat stored in the cooling medium cannot be used otherwise. The cooling unit can, with the aid of the water interface, be used outside the shop floor as well as centrally across several machines. This offers considerable potential energy savings for shopfloor cooling and increased efficiency as a result of centralized heat disposal.

Looking ahead to better opportunity and higher input costs, such as energy and labor, the market is telling us that advanced technology offers the best way to succeed going forward. 