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Just a Touch More Capacity

“Automated” does not have to mean utterly unattended. What many shops need is to find just a little more productive capacity with their existing staff and equipment.

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“Automated” does not have to mean utterly unattended. What many shops need is to find just a little more productive capacity with their existing staff and equipment. One valuable automation device might already be in the shop—that is, the spindle probe that came with the CNC machining center.

 

In this application, a manufacturer that increased its number of machining centers by 80 percent (from 6 to 11) managed to increase its productive capacity by more than 800 percent. The difference was the implementation of probing, allowing the machines to “feel” for the location of parts, eliminating the need to position each part precisely through a manual setup. In this way, what used to be a 90-minute setup is now 10 minutes, leaving 80 more minutes for machining. The company obtained new capacity not just by buying new machine tools, but also by discovering more capacity on its existing machines.

 

In certain cases, the probe can even be used to measure a finished part. This article provides an example. In this exchange with a reader, the various uses of the machining center probe are concisely summarized. 

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