Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Boston Centerless Precision Matters Fall 2019 | Page 15

AUTOMATED CHAMFER AUTOMATED CHAMFER EXPRESS LANE AVOIDS THE CARPAL TUNNEL BY DAVID MERSEREAU OVER THE years, bar end chamfering has become a more frequent requirement from our customers. We recently added an automated chamfer line to address the growing volume and to increase efficiency. Our process prior to this addition was labor intensive, whereby an operator would use a basic disc grinder to spin a few bars at a time to rough chamfer the end, much like sharpening a pencil. This process, although satisfactory, caused problems as the number of jobs grew and customers were looking for more consistent results. By implementing an automated process, we were able to achieve better consistency and higher throughput as well as reduce the risk for operator injuries, such as developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Benefit #1: Consistency Customers were starting to run into problems with the chamfer end catching or causing rotational vibration as the machining technology improved and finer and finer features became possible. The tighter tolerance demands of CNC Swiss machines drove the need for more consistent machined chamfers to reduce vibrations and improve grip and feed into the collets. Benefit #2: Throughput As we started to receive more high-volume orders with different types of alloys, the manual process became a bottleneck, causing delays in production. The volumes meant putting more operators on the manual process which resulted in a lack of consistency, contributing to acentric and inconsistent depth of chamfer, particularly in smaller diameters where it was already difficult to maintain any kind of throughput rate. Benefit #3: Employee Health Third and most important was the potential for carpal tunnel injuries and cramping as operators would have to spend more hours to process larger volumes. When small volumes need to be chamfered by hand, an operator might spend a few minutes processing them with the old manual system. But as the number of jobs increased and minutes turned into hours, these health issues became a bigger risk to operators. Depending on bar diameter and alloy type, the new automated line capabilities include: • Improved production of 25–100 bars per hour 15 • Diameters from .125” to approximately .750” • Full diameter “machined quality chamfer” • Fully automated loading which sets the end of the bar automatically and produces a chamfer at 45–60 degrees With the automated line, we are producing more bars in less time with a more consistent chamfer in an environment that is much more comfortable for our operators. David Mersereau David Mersereau is the Sr. Vice President/ General Manager at Boston Centerless. David has over 38 years of experience in operations, manufacturing, quality systems and control processes, supply chain management, material testing and validation, and Lean manufacturing. Prior to working at Boston Centerless, David held senior level positions at Altron Inc., Sanmina Corporation, North American Industries, and George Roberts Corporation. David holds a BS in Biology/Chemistry from Lowell Technological Institute and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business.