A shop running two 10-hour shifts has just about all of the day covered. That was the case with Aztalan Engineering. Using a horizontal machining center—with parts loaded on one pallet while they are being machined on the other pallet—offered a way to keep production going throughout all of the staffed hours. However, for a manifold part needed in relatively high volume, the shop went even farther than this. It added a Fastems pallet system so it could keep on feeding the machine even through the unattended hours. Capturing this seemingly small number of additional hours had a significant impact on capacity. The additional 4 hours per day, plus an extra 6 hours over the weekend, increases the weekly output of this machine by more than 25 percent over what a standalone HMC could do, even an HMC staffed by an operator for 20 hours per day.
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