Lightweight Pallets Do Heavy-Duty Job For Illinois Manufacturer

This shop used to take 6-7 hours to set up a job to run 1-2 parts at a time. Now they're running 12 parts at a time at a much lower cycle time per part thanks to a dedicated pallet system.

A once slow, tedious and time consuming machining job on a family of parts has been turned into a much faster, more profitable operation day in and day out thanks to a dedicated lightweight pallet system designed by Jakob Tool System (Elgin, Illinois).

The customer, Murphy Machine Products, (they bought the first system in 1993), in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was producing parts on a vertical machining centers using customary vise holding procedures.

"The way we do it now, and the way we did it then was like comparing apples and oranges," said Mark Waters, unit leader and supervisor of the secondary machining line at Murphy. "It used to take us anywhere from six to seven hours to set up a job. Then we were running one or two parts at a time. Now we're running 12 parts at a time at a much lower cycle time per part."

"The system proved itself on the four VMCs for various small parts as well. The advantage showed itself in the shorter setup time. Every time we lock a pallet into the receiver mounted with a vise, indexer or quick-fix fixture, it is already indicated," he said.

The Omni-Lock system they have mounted on one machine is hardly ever taken off. The system is accurate and repeatable to the point that they can store all of their offsets on a disk for all jobs. The Haas VMC has a floppy disk drive to read the offset for each job. Essentially they don't have to pick those offset values again, saving time. Next, they simply place the loaded pallet in the Omni-Lock receiver, roll it in, lower the roller system and clamp the pallet with the two handles. That is all done in a matter of seconds. Now they are ready to run parts.

The system has made the operation a lot simpler and they say they don't have to worry about complicated procedures to set up a job. As a result, their scrap rate is said to be lower and newer operators are less likely to make a mistake on a more expensive machine.

One example of how much easier this has made operations is a particular job where Murphy was asked to run parts that numbered in the tens of thousands. In this job, the operator can load the fully loaded pallet without a problem. The simplicity of setting up and running a job makes the operator's job (and the supervisor's) much easier. Mr. Waters says, "We can run a capable process for ±0.001-inch print tolerance without a problem and some cases, even a capable process for ±0.0005-inch print tolerance. Consistency and dependability are what keep the customers coming back. Murphy Machines feels that they can depend on their four Omni-Lock systems, running two shifts, to produce the consistent quality of parts they need.