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How offline tool presetting will give you the competitive edge

Humans are creatures of habit.

Just think about it – you enjoy a Sunday roast and have spaghetti bolognese for tea at least one night a week, right?

You always sleep on the same side of the bed and set your alarm for the same time every morning, hitting ‘snooze’ at least once before you finally head downstairs to boil the kettle, pack your lunch and prepare to face another working day.

It’s not in our nature to accept change very easily, in any walk of life. “It’s just the way I’ve always done it. And I’m not having anyone telling me I’ve got to start doing it differently now.”

zoller offline tool presetting

At ZOLLER UK, we hear this sort of sentiment a lot. The manufacturing engineers we speak to have long set their tools on the CNC machine itself, using probes and lasers, before releasing them to do their job.

But we can prove that there is a better way – a method which is proven to eliminate errors, reduce scrap, improve tool life and reduce costs, and ultimately ensure that right-first-time components roll off the production line time after time.

ZOLLER’s world-leading range of offline tool presetting and inspection solutions focus on establishing process-reliable procedures that are driving the push towards Industry 4.0, setting businesses on the road to increased and sustainable profitability.

The fact is, no matter how accurate the on-machine setting operation, the machine in question is not making parts for as long as it is preoccupied with the setting process. And time is money.

Take the following example:

  • Total tool changes across a typical day and night shift cycle, using 10 machines – 100 tool changes
  • Average time taken to change tooling – 3 minutes per tool
  • Loss of production during typical day and night shift cycle caused by on-machine tool setting – 3 minutes x 100 tool changes = 300 minutes, or 5 hours a day (25 hours a week)

Taking an estimated hourly machine rate of £50, the cost to a business of this nature is £1,250 per week in lost production.

With a £35,000 investment in an offline tool presetting system such as ZOLLER’s smile pilot 3, this same business would see a return on that investment within 28 weeks, with a subsequent saving through an additional 25 hours of production capacity each and every week.

It’s an equation that makes even more sense when you consider that on-machine laser setting cannot validate critical tool features such as diameters, corner radii, step lengths and run-out, significantly increasing the risk of machine crashes and failures.

In our experience, a conservative estimate for a spindle replacement or repair is £40,000, with a lead time of around four weeks. By the time the machine is back in production (based on a 40-hour, single shift five-day week at £50 an hour), the additional productivity loss to the business is £8,000.

By preventing such scenarios, an offline presetting solution will start saving you money from day one, while simultaneously validating production routines and delivering consistently top-class parts.

When quality assurance becomes a given, the sum total of the other advantages is incalculable – higher capacity, less rework, more satisfied customers, increased brand loyalty and an expanded order book. Businesses are freed up to focus on other aspects of their operations, giving them an all-important competitive edge.

That’s why offline tool presetting is putting the ‘smart’ in ‘smart factory.’