Webtec Products Ltd are specialist manufacturers of hydraulic measurement and control products helping to improve the productivity of heavy machinery.
Formed in 1964, they have been helping customers worldwide from their headquarters in Cambridgeshire, UK, but also from offices in the US, Hong Kong and Germany.
Webtec reached out to ZOLLER for guidance in how they can improve their tool set-up and tool management to increase their production output and meet growing customer demand.
With a turning department that has machined over 400,000 parts in the last two years, Webtec were searching for a solution that helped to optimise their production. The average batch size was between 50 and 350 pieces, with all tool data being entered manually by the operator. This process was holding them up as they looked to ramp up their manufacturing.
Webtec’s customers’ expectations of quality and short lead times were the main reasons for looking at investing in new technology, and they needed a solution that guaranteed their tool data was accurate and that they could easily monitor the quality of the tools that were being put into the machine.
In order to increase their manufacturing output and meet their customers’ expectations, Webtec had to reduce their tool set-up times by moving away from manual methods. ZOLLER was an obvious choice to help them achieve this. As part of a wider investment project, they installed a ZOLLER Smile 420 tool presetter to enable them to inspect and measure tools offline, meaning their machines were running for longer and therefore producing more parts.
Graeme Johnson, Machine Shop Manager, said: “The ZOLLER machine allows us to measure tools while the machines are running and to also populate the machines with the tool data which is sent digitally, eliminating any risk of data being input incorrectly.
“We have 100% confidence that the data that we are sending to the machine is correct.”
Webtec also invested in a Tool Management Solutions (TMS) package, from ZOLLER, which enabled them to improve their tool storage and organisation. This increased tooling efficiency enhanced the new approach from Webtec, meaning that tool data was easily accessible at the touch of a button.
With a new way of setting tooling, Webtec reaped the rewards almost instantly, drastically reducing set-up times on all jobs with a huge increase in machine run times.
On average across an eight-hour shift, in which operators would have 10 tool set-ups, they would be saving around one hour in set-up times compared to the previous methods, meaning an extra hour of machine running time per shift.
Mr Johnson said: “The Smile 420 has met our requirements exactly. It has allowed us to reduce set-up times on all jobs, some of them by up to 75% on average across an eight-hour shift.”
The tool set-up improvements have benefited Webtec and checking the tool quality is another important step and the ZOLLER machine has meant this process can be carried out accurately, reliably and with confidence.
Connor Brokenshire, Quality Inspector, said: “One thing that we did notice a huge impact with was our screw cutting tools. It helped us see any damage to the to the form which you may not have been able to see or feel without the in-depth look from ZOLLER.
“It allows us to make a better call on the condition of a tool before we load it into the machine.”
The overall package offered by ZOLLER, including TMS, means that the benefits are felt further than just in the machine, but across the entire shopfloor.
Mr Brokenshire said: “The organisation comes into it which just allows us to increase everything. Everything gets better; productivity and set-up time is improved. It’s had an impact on multiple areas, including the milling section, which we use the TMS system for.”
Why ZOLLER UK:
With clear benefits to their production, Webtec have been impressed with not only the world-leading technology from ZOLLER but also the support provided throughout this project.
Mr Johnson said: “When we’ve needed to contact ZOLLER for service or support, they’ve been first class and they’ve provided us with all of the support and service that we need.
“The process of measuring tooling offline was new to us but ZOLLER took us through the process, providing us with excellent support and training to allow us to integrate this with our manufacturing process. That continues to today with the support that we have for our TMS system.
“Anyone thinking about investing in offline tool measuring, give ZOLLER a call. They have definitely opened us up to looking at other possibilities in the future.”
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If you, like Webtec, are looking for a solution to save time and increase the repeatability of your tool setting process, get in touch with ZOLLER UK and challenge the team to showcase the full capabilities of ZOLLER tool presetters and tool management solutions bespoke to your business.