HOW TO RETOOL A SYSTEM IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES
What I am going to tell you really happened and it was not easy. I spend days smashing my head in trying to find the solution that could achieve the desired result, which could facilitate my clients’ production. I was not the only one working hard, my team of technicians and engineers were also, and I could not close my eyes for a long time.
We spent days trying to solve it but I tell you that…..
THERE WAS NO SOLUTION!
RETOOL THE MACHINE IN LESS
THAN 3 MINUTES IS IMPOSSIBLE
At a certain point the situation changed. Some months ago I was sitting in front of my client who insistently kept saying:
“I WANT TO RETOOL MY
SYSTEM IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES”
I replied “You can’t do it, nobody can do it”. “Our machines are already the best you can find on the market, you can’t find anything faster”.
He insisted, saying:
- “I want to retool the system within 3 minutes”
- “I want to put one of the twenty articles I managed with each machine”
- “I want the system to be no bigger than the one I have now”
- “I want to keep the machine purchasing costs and its use as a steady content”
When I left the meeting I was very nervous and I said: “You can’t have everything you WANT!. In your opinion what should I do every day with my workers? Don’t you think that I’m already working to solve these problems?
While I was driving and clocking up kilometres back to the company I cooled down and thought that every problem has at least 10 solutions and we entrepreneurs and technicians have to be able to find the best solution to solve client problems.
My thoughts went immediately to the competition:
HOW DOES THE COMPETITION RETOOL THE MACHINE?
HOW LONG DO THEY NEED FOR IT?
To retool a system of one of our competitors requires at least one hour and the operations you have to do on one of those machines are:
- Replace the pieces referent pallet.
- Change the tools
- Replace the gripper
From this concept I outlined a GUIDELINE. With my solutions, the retooling takes NO MORE THAN 10 MINUTES if we keep to this process which is at the same time fast and flexible without increasing space and cost.
- No pallet replacement: by means of the viewfinder, you just have to change the program and load the new pieces.
- Quick-coupler for the tools: a rapid tool change can replace them, just a few seconds are needed
- Replace the gripper: just one operation similar to the one in the past.
But the solution, however, was not yet satisfactory, and this was not so easy to find. I saw many machines which had to satisfy this requirement, but they never worked.
The solution I saw so far was the one equipped by means of a roboter with automatic gripper changing and at the same time the machine had a big automatic pallet-changer and was equipped with a big gripper stock.
BUT THERE WAS
– The stock takes a lot of space. The grippers are bulky, so I needed a lot of space to store them even if I put them on different levels.
– The coverage for the stock is big and heavy. It spoils easily
– You put a capital of self-centering grippers in stock: if I have 20 grippers to manage with the robot these have always to be in stock. If I buy Schunk grippers each would cost 1.500 €… if instead I have 20 grippers in stock I would have a value of an Audi that I don’t use.
THIS IS WHAT MAKES
Together with my staff, we equipped the robot with an automatic gripper change and made a special stock.
The stock is more compact than any other solution so far: it can hold only two grippers, but it is possible to access the system from outside through a full extension drawer .
With this solution the worker can prepare the gripper for the following production while the machine is still working.
And furthermore, while the system works he can put the gripper in the stock and which is thus ready for use, so when you are ready to change the production you just need to push a button and the robot leaves the current gripper in the stock and takes the appropriate one for the following process.
YES, I’M TELLING YOU….
WE DID IT…
IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES
YOU CHANGED THE PRODUCTION
Ultimately you do all the system retooling while it works, also respecting all the client’s requirements, because:
- The retooling takes less than 3 minutes.
- We have limited the number of usable grippers ( in the end you can have an unlimited number of programs running in the system).
- We didn’t increase the costs of the system significantly.
- We didn’t increase the size of the system.
BUT ALL THIS
WAS NOT ENOUGH!
ARE YOU READY TO RETOOL
YOUR MACHINE WITHIN 30 SECONDS?
We found the way to perform retooling within 30 seconds…. The dream of every entrepreneur.
Once we reached the retooling in 3 minutes we just had to automate everything.
We just had to make the system autonomous. So we modified the software.
To change any item in production you just have to push a button on the panel to indicate the next production change, leave some space on the loading conveyer and the system stops on its own, changes the gripper and re-starts.
30 SECONDS BETWEEN ONE
PRODUCTION ITEM AND ANOTHER!
Seeing the results, the client was NOT only amazed how we solved his BIG PROBLEM but thanked me for having CHANGED his production process, achieving results with:
- more process profits
- more efficiency
- more order
- more production with more clients
DO YOU REMEMBER THAT TIME WHEN YOU
HAD THEPOSSIBILITY TO INCREASE
YOUR BUSINESS RETURN MARGINS
TODAY IF YOU MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN,
YOU WILL ONLY SPEND MORE MONEY
AND WASTE MORE TIME WITH MORE
Meanwhile time passes and it’s happening!