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Offline Tool Presetting Solution Delivers Huge Savings

A specialist die castings manufacturer has reduced factory down time by an incredible two hours a day thanks to an investment in offline tool presetting.

Since purchasing a smile420 machine from ZOLLER UK, MRT Castings estimates a 15-minute time saving on each of up to eight daily tool set-ups, dramatically increasing its productivity.

The Hampshire-based firm, which for 60 years has produced components for technology companies across the world, has also reported a significant increase in tool accuracy, meaning its parts are coming off the production line right first time, every time.

Managing Director Phil Rawnson said: “The smile420 has made an instant impact. Prior to installing it we were setting the tools on a machine and a typical set-up might have anywhere between 15 and 40 tools. We were loading every one into the machine, measuring them on there, taking the readings and putting those into the controls of the machine.

“With the ZOLLER we can be presetting all of our tools while the previous job is running, and all of that work can be done offline. Then, when it comes to the changeover, we can load all the tools into the magazine.

“By the end of its first week the ZOLLER machine was already being used for every set-up on the shop floor.”

Traditional on-machine tool setting – even with expensive lasers – not only wastes time but is unreliable and cannot validate critical tool features prior to machining, increasing the risk of crashes and failures.

Valuable minutes are lost every time a spindle stops turning, negatively impacting profit margins.

Irrespective of the CNC machine controller being used, ZOLLER tool presetters and inspection systems can interface with it, making transferring tool data automatically, reliably and securely a straightforward process – perfect for the demands of Industry 4.0.

Mr Rawnson added: “We have a connectivity solution from the ZOLLER through our DNC software going straight into our CNC machines, so that we can actually send that data file straight from the ZOLLER into the CNC machine.

“What the ZOLLER tool presetter gives us is the opportunity to reduce the down time in a set-up and also increase the accuracy. It’s also giving us the productivity by optimising those set-up times.”

Precisely measured and inspected tools work to their optimum level, meaning they not only last longer but also drive up part finish quality, dramatically reducing scrap.

A ‘right first time’ guarantee saves a manufacturer valuable time and money and gives customers complete confidence in the reliability of a supplier’s methods.

Mr Rawnson said: “When we started talking to the ZOLLER guys they instantly tried to understand our application. They really got under the skin of what we were looking for.

“The machine is going to pay for itself very quickly and therefore it was an easy judgement call for us in terms of making that investment.”