When it comes to shop productivity and profitability, purchasing the right machine tool is only half the battle. The best and latest machine means nothing unless the shop knows how to best put it to use. Pushing a tool to its limits requires both metalcutting expertise and support.
Just ask Craig Rossi, a Six Sigma black belt and continuous improvement director for Warren Screw Machine (Warren, Ohio), a producer of high precision parts for aerospace and other industries. As the company continues to grow and buy at least two new CNC machines per year, it has an increased need for trusted technical support to ensure that equipment is tooled for maximum output. To meet this need, Warren Screw Machine works with MSC Industrial Supply’s Metalworking Tech Team to solve its technical problems.
“MSC’s metalworking specialist, Dave Lemley, and our MSC sales associate, Don Gilanyi, know tooling, they know machines, they know cutting. They work directly with our machinists. They have access to the incredible array of brands in the MSC toolbox, so they never push one toolmaker over another—they just match their best tools to our jobs,” Mr. Rossi says.
The MSC Tech Team has used its technical expertise to help Warren Screw Machine through some recent challenging projects.
In one situation, Warren Screw machine encountered problems with a groove which had to be machined into thousands of engine oil transfer tubes made of 1018 steel. “We could get our tool to plunge, but two passes were required,” Mr. Rossi explains. “As a result, our finishes were terrible, and we could not hold consistent tolerances. Plus, the second plunge left behind a significant burr that forced us to perform deburring operations.”
MSC’s employees got involved in the situation through Mr. Rossi before the job got too far along—and cost Warren Screw Machine too much time and money.
Mr. Lemley and Mr. Gilanyi worked directly with Warren Screw Machine employees at their machines. They switched the 0.171-inch insert to a wider 0.1875-inch insert and opted for a straight plunge rather than a double plunge. As a result, the finishes became consistent with fewer runouts. Mr. Rossi says MSC’s effort saved the company almost $6,500 in tooling and also freed up some shop workers for other tasks.
On another project, the MSC support crew helped drastically reduce machining time on a stainless steel aerospace button cover.
“It was a nightmare job,” Mr. Rossi says. “We just kept breaking parts, no matter what we did. Don and Dave came in, stayed right at the machines with our operators, and then changed our drill brand. Soon, we went from 1 hour per part to 24 minutes per part.”
A steering linkage component manufacturing issue proved a bit more difficult, but MSC was relentless in its pursuit of a more efficient throughput for Warren Screw Machine. The team thoroughly studied every stage of the process to make the parts, and ultimately recommended the Seco TNMG 332 and Jet Stream toolholder.
In less than 1 year, MSC’s expert tooling and machining recommendations saved Warren Screw Machine more than $170,000 during the production of the tubes, tabs and linkage parts.
The MSC Metalworking Tech Team’s success depends upon its understanding of both the technology and the clients it works with. This combination of expertise and service has won the trust of Warren Screw Machine over the course of their collaboration.
MSC’s knowledgeable staff understands the technical side of metalworking. For instance, Mr. Gilanyi, now an MSC sales associate, was once a machinist. According to Mr. Rossi, “When he suggests something, we trust his judgment. His tooling and machining input has helped me devote my time to other urgent lean issues within our facility.”
MSC matches its technical expertise with knowledge of its clients. According to Mr. Lemley, formerly a sales and service rep for a cutting tools manufacturer, making the right recommendations is a matter of doing his homework before he shows up regularly at Warren Screw Machine. “We listen, we analyze, we understand client objectives and then make tool recommendations given the job at hand,” he says. “It’s truly a ‘win’ for the customer.”
It seems that the customer agrees. Warren Screw Machine has maintained a long-term partnership with MSC’s Tech Team since 2004, when the company diversified into high precision machining. In addition, Warren Screw Machine buys an array of products from MSC, from disposable items such as grinding wheels to numerous types of metalcutting toolholders and inserts. The company has found that MSC’s sales staff is knowledgeable and good at distilling “Big Book” content to a manageable level for its applications and workpiece materials.
“MSC has earned our business throughout every stage of our engagement with them,” says John Condoleon, president of Warren Screw Machine. “They know what’s important to us: to do our work better and faster. They study our processes and pain points, and with every tool they recommend and with every technical suggestion they make, we trust them even more.”
The partnership has made a noticeable difference for Warren Screw Machine in the past 8 years, and the companies plan to continue their collaboration in the future. For Mr. Condoleon, the bottom line is clear: “MSC makes us more competitive in our worldwide marketplaces.”