Palletization system boosts productivity

Author Cutting Tool Engineering
Published
December 30,2019 - 11:45am

Related Glossary Terms

  • centering

    centering

    1. Process of locating the center of a workpiece to be mounted on centers. 2. Process of mounting the workpiece concentric to the machine spindle. See centers.

  • machining center

    machining center

    CNC machine tool capable of drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring. Normally comes with an automatic toolchanger. See automatic toolchanger.

To effectively serve boat building customers and remain competitive, Roswell U.S. LLC must design products, produce them and bring them to market as quickly as possible. At its Rockledge, Florida, facility, the company accomplishes that with flexible, productive machine tools.

CEO and Chairman Robert Oswell started the company, which does business as Roswell Marine, in Canada in 1998. He opened the Florida facility, which employs 48 people, in 2007. The company’s line of more than 400 products includes towers and accessories for wakeboard and water ski boats, swiveling board racks, Bimini tops and marine audio systems.

All manufacturing operations always have been performed in-house to better control product quality.


The HCN-5000 is available with Mazak's Multi-Pallet Pool system, a compact multiple-pallet stocker system for manufacturers that have limited floor space or require basic automation to increase productivity. Image courtesy of Mazak

“From napkin sketch to customer-ready product, we control all aspects of the product life cycle,” Oswell said. “Product and manufacturing flow is determined according to current industry best practices and all internal past captured data. We look for the best equipment and software that will keep us efficient and competitive.”

When the Florida facility needed additional equipment to increase its machining capabilities, the company compared offerings and selected machine tools from Mazak Corp., Florence, Kentucky. Roswell Marine’s most recent Mazaks include an HCN-8800 horizontal machining center and two HCN-5000 HMCs. The HCN-8800 has a built-in two-pallet changer. The HCN-5000s have 120-tool changers and are part of Mazak’s two-tiered 24-pallet Palletech automation system.

The modular palletized manufacturing system further boosts productivity of many of the company’s horizontal, five-axis and multitask machines. System configurations include one-, two- or three-pallet stockers; tilting load stations; centering load stations; part wash stations; and material storage. Overall, a system can accommodate up to 16 Mazak machines, six to 240 pallets and as many as eight loading stations for unattended operation.

John Runske, program implementation manager at Roswell Marine, said the 800.1 mm (31.5") pallet size and maximum workpiece height of 1,450.086 mm (57.09") of the HCN-8800 accommodate large parts, such as cast aluminum billets that may initially weigh 317.5 kg (700 lbs.) and end up at 31.8 kg (70 lbs.) after machining.

“We make parts from billet until we can produce them from a cast part,” he said. “The cast parts then allow us to reduce our lead time significantly.”

Lead time is reduced from about 12 to 14 weeks to a few days.

In addition to aluminum, the shop machines stainless steel and plastics. Parts measure from 25.4 mm × 25.4 mm (1"×1") to 762 mm × 762 mm × 381 mm (30"×30"×15"). A typical day at the shop produces several different parts for up to four separate OEM customers.

“The quick interchangeability and flexibility of the Mazaks, especially the Palletech system, is key to obtaining the manufacturing agility,” Runske said. “We can be running one part, then two hours later, for instance, we can run a completely different one, then an hour after that another different one.”

He said the palletized system allows the shop to prioritize and schedule prototype parts for the middle of production cycles by allocating some pallets to prototype work in the same cell.

Any finished product might consist of 120 to 150 separate components. The shop produces about 20,000 to 30,000 parts per month and annually introduces about 30 products to market. Product design cycles vary from eight months to two years.

“It is extremely critical that we meet our new product deadlines for our clients, who are comprised of the most premium boat manufacturers in the world,” Oswell said.  

Article by Mazak Corp.

 

End User:

Roswell U.S. LLC, 321-638-1331, www.roswellmarine.com

Mazak Corp., 859-342-1700, www.mazakusa.com

Challenge:

Boost productivity of machining centers.

Solution:

A modular palletized manufacturing system.