High Mix, Low Volume
High Mix, Low Volume is the order of the day for manufacturing nowadays. At first, it may appear impossible to carry out this process profitably. However, once you understand this game, you will be able to win. For the best solutions for HMLV, you need to get in touch with Contract Manufacturing Specialists of Indiana.
If you aren’t in the job shop business, your assembly line manufacturing vision would be millions or hundreds of thousands of parts. Every single step that you take is optimized and tweaked individually. It will help you to save a few cents here and there which adds to a lot of money after manufacturing several parts. Such a kind of production work is referred to as High Volume Low Mix. The job shop will make large quantities of very few parts in the course of the year. Much of this business has now gone offshore leaving us with the High Mix Low Volume works. It is what we are going to cover in this article. The work entails producing smaller batches of parts. To keep the job-shop easy, a lot of the orders are done within the course of the year.
To win the HMLV job, you cannot focus on the optimization of individual parts too much. You need to pay attention to the changes that deliver savings on each job. According to Datron, low volumes entails works that produce less than 1000 parts. However, if you go through the statistics, you will discover that the average batch size is 95 parts. You could be wondering how you can succeed in this world where you have to get everything right with only 95 parts.
It is good to understand the difference between these two styles. HMLV focuses on optimizing your production for a specific part. It is the art of performing optimizations that improve all jobs and not just specific jobs. You will be focusing on the changes that improve all the jobs and not specific jobs.
The other feature of HMLV is that it has a smaller margin error. If you are only producing 95 metal parts, you will not be scraping so many of them. You have to get High-Mix Low-volume right the first time. After wrapping around your mind on how different this approach works, you will figure out how you can win.
To optimize your production, you need to reduce the cycle times. You also need to eliminate surprises and uncertainties and reduce cycle times. The other initiatives include setup and loading optimization and automating and standardizing routines. If you improve on these four areas, it will pay off very quickly and benefit virtually every job.
High-mix, low volume is all about getting investments that will optimize all the jobs and not just a few of them. One of the investments that you can make easily in this field is better Speeds and Feeds. The right Speeds and Feeds software will always make an immediate improvement across all the jobs that you are doing.
The reason is that the process automates the best practices for speeds and feeds. It makes speeds and feeds repeatable and systematic. Remember and excellent speeds and feeds solution is not always job-specific. You will see the improvement benefits across all your jobs. You could be wondering how much is the improvement?
If you survey some of the customers, you will be shocked by the results that you will get. There are great ways that this manufacturing technique can improve your Speeds and Feeds. There are so many ways of reducing cycle time for all your jobs.
The other reason is better tooling. When you spend a little more on the tooling, you will be able to enhance cycle times across the board. Likewise, if your CAM does not offer modern tool paths, or you are not utilizing it to the full potential, it is the right to up your game now. Offline tool setting may also enhance your cycle times as it doesn’t. You should not stop the spindles to do it.
Lastly, if you are thinking about new machinery, you need to look for the things that can improve any job. Machines that have faster tool changes, faster rapids more acceleration can speed up the jobs. The ability to change tooling and put more tools on the machine as the machine continues to make chips will both benefit all the jobs. In case you are not ready, check-in the fourth axis with tombstones so that you will be able to cut more sides using fewer setups.
How do you eliminate surprises and uncertainty? Remember we insisted on HMVI working right the first time. It means that eliminating surprises and uncertainty will be of great help. If there is nothing else, it is much easier to optimize stable processes. Below is an excellent list that you can begin with;
Ensure that your g-code runs perfectly the first time you insert it on the machine so that you don’t waste valuable spindles time cutting air. It means utilizing a simulator on each job like the G-Wizard editor. There are several tips on how to eliminate errors using the g-code simulators. Make your fixture locations and workpiece repeatable with fixture plates. Look for ways of cutting to tolerance without test cuts. It can call for better tooling, different speeds, and feeds, different programming or an in-process probing for automating test cut adjustments makes tool wear predictable so that you can pre-plan tool changes instead of getting surprises once a tool break.
You also need to standardize your tool setups. It could be the first ten slots in the tool change is the way for each job. Standardize materials for every cut size, get consistent materials, and grade inspect and then identify any issues early enough. The other thing is to plan for emergencies. Set up a couple of pallets with vices to that you can rework and carry our one-offs as required. The next step is automating routines that every job requires to go through will obviously bear fruits. Probes allow high automation for tool handling, setup, in-process inspection, and adjusting costs. The other valuable thing is standardizing routines. A well-documented standard routine will be done faster and with fewer errors. However, it is a perfect solution for further optimization.
Fixtures provide great opportunities for standardization after realizing that the goal is creating general-purpose fixtures that aren’t part specific. You could be wondering how this can be possible. You may whip up a plate fixture to hold various standard material sizes and reuse across several jobs. Think of standardizing the repeat jobs. Are you set up so that you can just leave fixtures for repeat jobs on pallets so that you can pick up where you left it from?
Think about standardizing coolant and chip management so that the machine runs can handle it. Are your operators able to check coolant, top off and clean, while you are making chips? Are your conveyors and chip augers set up to automatically run when there is a need?
The other element is setup and loading optimization. The last section is getting ready for HMLV jobs in setup and loading optimization. The first job you have is investing in pallets so that parts are loaded and unloaded as the machine continues to make chips in the following batch. Once this is accomplished, standardize, optimize, and organize your work.
You also need to use standard fixtures and checklists. Follow 5S in organizing, make everything visual, and eliminate the cutter. Don’t search for tools that are needed for setup as you keep everything right with the machine. If you have all these working great, go-to power tools from hand tools, electric or air for part unloading and loading. Offer assistance as you handle heavy pallets. There is so much that you can gain by optimization of this area and it will benefit every single job. After getting the central tenet of HMLV, you should not waste your time on optimization unless they are benefiting each part. You will see the opportunities that you can move ahead with. Within no time, you will become more profitable and competitive. The best brand for High-Mix, Low-Volume manufacturing in the region is Contract Manufacturing Specialists of Indiana.
There are so many things that make us be the best contract manufacturing company in the region. The top among them all is the kind of experts that we employ. We have a team of highly talented experts that will work on your project.
Our core offerings and services at Contract Manufacturing Specialists of Indiana includes, but is not limited to, the following below:
We service multiple cities throughout the state of Indiana. We provide all the services listed above, and much more in every city throughout Indiana.
If you don’t see your city listed or a specific service listed, don’t worry. All you have to do is contact us by either giving us a call or filling out our online contact form. Then we’ll discover what are some of the top solutions for you, your business, and executing a solid solution.