What is the highest-value work your machine tools do—roughing or finishing? I suspect you would say finishing.
Therefore, what if you could let your machines do less of the low-value prep machining, and more of the high-value finish machining? How would that change the economics of your process?
TCI Precision Metals is focused on this very question. The metals supplier provides material for machining facilities concerned with efficiency improvement. TCI provides these shops with machine-ready and feature-ready blanks that are machined to custom sizes, and often even machined to include particular features before they are sent to the customer. With capabilities such as duplex milling, TCI can perform certain types of rough machining far more efficiently than the typical shop.
In a recent Webinar, TCI president John Belzer explained the case for this pre-machining. In a representative example, the pre-machined blank might cost $30 more than an unmachined blank, but this pre-machining would save $40 per part from the shop’s own process. Meanwhile—and this point is key—getting rid of the rough machining both frees up capacity for the shop and enables the shop to increase its throughput. Thus, the answer to straining capacity might not be buying more equipment. The answer might be freeing up the existing equipment from having to perform less critical work.