Gardner Business Media

Methods - Aug 2018

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cradle to grave solution that Midway wanted – very fast, repeatable, reliable and affordable," said LaVigne. Gil-Mar right away challenged Methods to develop a solution for the program. "With a scope of 180,000 parts times four doors, and on-demand delivery and cost a key consideration, automation was essential," said Thomas Saur, General Manager of Methods' Michigan Technology Center. The Methods solution was a lights-out cell with six Fanuc RoboDrill D21LiA5, 30-taper 4-Axis VMC's, two Fanuc robots, in addition to infeed and outfeed conveyors. Two operators load raw ductile iron blanks onto infeed conveyors that feed two operations: op 10-milling and drilling, and op 20-contouring and spot facing. Finished parts are then loaded onto outfeed conveyors for inspection. Production output is six minutes per cycle (three minutes per part, machined two at a time). Typically, 325 part sets are made per 10-hour shift. "It was a very successful project, and for us a paradigm-shift into automation from dedicated, individual equipment" said LaVigne. The Cell exceeded all goals for the F-150 door hinge contract, providing a lean solution with tight tolerances. Niigata: Increasing Size, Speed & Throughput Methods entered into the equation again in 2018 through the introduction of two large, 50-taper horizontal Niigata Mills, giving Gil-Mar an infusion of speed, capacity and productivity. "With our expanding portfolio of large, heavy-duty truck parts manufacturing growing at a 20% clip over the last three to four years, our capabilities and output need to keep pace," said Lavigne. The Methods' Niigata recommendation is the ideal solution for machining heavy-duty ductile iron spring hanger brackets that Gil-Mar is making for the Ford H567 and F53 chassis platform. The brackets, weighing in at over 30 pounds each, require rigorous machines and the Niigata Mills are up to the challenge. "The new Niigata model SPN701 has the largest work envelope in its class in the industry, with an X-Y-Z of 39.4 x 37.4 x 33.5 inches and the rapids on this machine are 2,362 inches per minute - nearly 30 percent faster than older Niigata Mills we have," said LaVigne. "With its size and speed, we anticipate a boost in throughput of up to 20 percent. As for reliability, Niigata machines are very rigid and a 20 year life span is common on them," continued LaVigne. The Niigata high speed linear mills feature a double box structure to ensure outstanding rigidity and long-term volumetric accuracy. Throughput objectives on the Niigata SPN701 are further realized via a unique synchronous swing motion on its 60-tool capacity automatic tool changer. Partnering for Success Methods Machine Tools has saved Gil-Mar literally hundreds of thousands of dollars through their innovative solutions, programming strategies, reduced cycle times and increased throughput. Mr. Joe Ruicci, Gil-Mar's Chief Operating Officer said "It is a fantastic relationship with a great distributor that stands behind the equipment they sell. For our company to grow and flourish in the future, we need strong experts such as Methods that possess the strategic strength and vision to help transform machines and metal into business success." 25

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