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Here at Webtec, our nearly 60 years of experience in manufacturing hydraulic valves and test equipment means we’re always looking to ensure that our business is in the best position to support and supply customers through innovation and quality. Our ‘Make it BLUE®’ approach continues to help customers maximise the productivity of their hydraulic machinery but without the complexity of costly consultancy. Of course, this can only happen if we have the best machines and equipment, a case in point being our recent investment in Zoller CNC tool pre-setting and TMS (tool management system) technology.
Over the past two years, our turning shop at St Ives in Cambridgeshire has machined over 400,000 parts in average batch sizes of 50-350. Until recently, measuring cutting tools for use on our turning centres meant entering data manually. Our previous multi-axis, twin-spindle lathes featured two BMT 12-position turrets and were showing their age. As a result, critical tools like taps and reamers needed manual clocking, which had a negative impact on set-up times.
Today we have the latest Okuma LT2000EX3MY turning centres with three turrets, each offering 16 indexable positions. Combining this potential with Sandvik Capto base units gives us quick-change capability for up to 64 tools. Key to maximising our lathe and tool-holding solution is a recently installed Zoller Smile 420 CNC tool pre-setter. Providing Capto C3 and C4 compatibility, the Zoller gives us the ability to measure tools offline with no impact on run times. The accuracy of tool measurements also means we always produce components correct to specification, first time.
Importantly, by using a specially developed app we can populate the tool locations in the turret with data. Sending this information digitally is quick and eliminates any risk of incorrect data input, providing us with 100% confidence. In the turning shop we’ve successfully reduced our set-up times on all jobs, some by up to 75%.
Zoller technology is also impacting the milling shop at Webtec, where we now have a TMS for our Matsuura horizontal machining centres and their 500-tool capacity. The Zoller TMS manages the location of tools and generates tooling sheets for our many products. Notably, the system is sufficiently easy for any team member to use. We’ll soon set up the TMS on our Okuma tooling and storage system to generate further benefits for customers.
Ultimately, the expectations of our customers for quality and short lead times are among the principal drivers that prompt our ongoing investment in the latest manufacturing and measurement technologies.