Cost Savings

In 2011, The Charles Machine Works, Inc. began a production project to develop a new FMS system with four horizontal machining centers with a 76 pallet system. We selected CMS Research to be a partner in making this project a successful investment in a low volume, high product mix environment. Early results include, quicker than expected capital investment payback by successfully doubling spindle utilization used by previous processes. I would highly recommend CMS. Dr. John Lenz and staff have been outstanding to work with. Their software and consulting expertise has been a strong part of our FMS production ramping up months ahead of schedule.

CLIENT: Bob Henry, FMS Project Manager, The Charles Machine Works, Inc.

Data Management, Scheduling

With plans to run over 200 individual part numbers on our FMS, this software was essential in managing the data required of the system. The ability for the system to choose parts to run on the FMS for a shift that will fully utilize all machines. With a high number of parts (>100) that could be next in line to be produced, the ability to see the expected utilization of each machining center for a given set of work allows us to fully utilize our equipment. SAIL has the ability to transfer information into our ERP system. It also provides detailed performance data to analyze the system and the ability to display setup, load, and inspection instructions in electronic form at the load stations.

CLIENT: Nathan Eyster, Manufacturing Engineer, The Charles Machine Works, Inc.

Productivity, Quality Management, Efficiency, Serialization, Data Management

The SAIL software will log events relating to production of parts. The data that SAIL provides can be utilized to identify production and personnel problems that hinder productivity of the Flexible Manufacturing System Cell. Without this data these problems would be difficult, if not impossible to identify and quantify. We are able to integrate SAIL software with our MRP software to provide a means of passing production orders to the FMS Cell, as well as giving a path to direct production data back upstream to populate our MRP system with quantities produced and machining time for those parts. This capability will lighten the work load of manually reporting parts produced and production time, as well as reduce errors. All of the SAIL and MAST software can be maintained off-line, separate from the FMS Cell. Anyone within the company can have vision of production activities in the FMS Cell and maintenance of the SAIL system can be performed without going to the shop floor. The SAIL software will serialize parts as they are produced so that quality of parts may be documented and tracked. Inspection of parts can be triggered by the system by setting up inspection criteria for individual part numbers. This can be by number of parts, by random frequency, or by time period. Multiple types of inspection criteria with different frequencies can be set up for each part.

Machine cycle times and load/unload times can be viewed in a spread sheet or a graphic view. This feature can highlight issues with parts that require re-machining, machines left off-line, or machines left in option stop. Information on the load and unload times can help focus on issues relating to these tasks. All of this data can be used to pinpoint problems that reduce equipment utilization. I would highly recommend CMS.

CLIENT: Neil Retherford, Manufacturing Engineer, The Charles Machine Works, Inc.

Decision to Purchase, Scheduling, Customer Service

The decision to purchase the software was simple since other systems fall flat on their face compared to what MAST and SAIL can do for our organization. No other system can schedule jobs so that the same part can be manufactured for multiple jobs. The software will take our customer demand and automatically schedule what part runs and for how long. It won’t be up to us anymore to decide and manually input. This will help us meet our efficiency goal by allowing us to produce more parts with the same amount of people.

CMS Research is working with our individual needs and has the ability to write specific software that works with our MRP. During the initial installation phase, John Lenz and his team were very responsive.

CLIENT: John Bussani, CEO, Tens Machine

Capacity Planning, Inventory Management Control, Responsiveness to Customer Demands, Customer Service

Most software systems do not support rail systems. There are too many variables to calculate in a timely manner. Using the MAST and SAIL software to manage the work on the floor, we are able to have real-time data, which allows us flexibility in capacity planning and the ability to meet our customer demands. Because we use eight rail systems that control 34 machines, hundreds of pallets and thousands of part numbers, MAST forecasts our restraints by allowing us to simulate any number of scenarios. Once we have the desired outcome, we know the optimum number of pallets, loaders, and hours that are needed. Matching our cycle time with our customer demands is a must.

SAIL tells us precisely what, when and how much product is needed to keep our customers happy. To avoid supporting a large inventory, we produce a certain amount of product a day as a solution to fluctuating demand. Orders simply go into the system and when the daily quantities are met, the pallets shut off. John Lenz has done phenomenal job in helping us learn the software. He taught us and pointed us in a positive direction and that means everything. A project like this can be overwhelming, but CMS was great in helping making it easier.

CLIENT: Wayne Buss, Kevin Rowell, Applied Engineering

Job planning, Scheduling/tracking, Cost identification, Serialization

Because we are a low volume, high-mix shop, MAST allows us to run different scenarios that tell us if we have the resources and machine capacity available to run a set quantity and mix of parts and have them completed by their due dates.SAIL can schedule parts automatically by importing work orders directly from our ERP system and can update these schedules daily, weekly, or any time interval we choose. We can also manually schedule using SAIL if we so choose much easier than using the machine manufacturer’s system. Without SAIL tracking cycle time for each job, we would have no way of accurately tracking the true cost of producing a part. Knowing the cycle time of each operation for each part every time it runs allows us to see variances and address issues immediately. Serializing parts gives us the ability to track the path of individual parts through the system - from the machine to the pallet to the fixture location. Part inspections are signaled through the part tracking software at whatever frequencies we choose.

CLIENT: Nick Daedlow, Geater Manufacturing