Set-Up, Part-Load Time Decreases 50%

Figure 1. The previous manufacturing method. After machining the first part, the company would remove the finished part, flip the bar stock and machine the second part.

A leading manufacturer of precision metal products makes complicated parts for one of its product lines. The parts, made in lot sizes of 24, have multiple angles and other critical features. This complexity was a problem for the manufacturer. The workholding system required multiple operations to make the parts, meaning they had to be handled multiple times. This meant multiple set-ups and processes. At the end of each operation, they would need to stop the machine, refixture, reset the workpiece and run the next cycle. During each process, the operator needed to stand by the machine to be ready to prepare the workholding for the next step.


Figure 2. Using Mate workholding, the company uses just one operation to machine the part. The company now uses a tabbing process to remove the part from the workpiece.

Needing a better way, the manufacturer began looking for different workholding systems and learned about Mate’s modular 52/96 workholding system. Specifically, they took a closer look at the DynoGrip™ vises and DynoLock™ bases that promised increased flexibility and faster set-up times with best-in-class accuracy and repeatability. Intrigued, they performed some tests, which showed the DynoGrip vise provided plenty of rigidity in a compact package. The quick-change jaws meant faster set-ups, and the DynoLock base held everything firmly in place.

Liking what they saw, the company realized that Mate workholding allowed them to make the parts in just one operation and could move the production to their Yasda PX30i 5-axis machine. Combining the production into one operation also allowed them to use a process called tabbing for easy parts removal for the next manufacturing step.

Figure 3. The finished part before tab removal. Once the tab is removed, the part is sent to the next manufacturing step.


Operating at 2.5 shifts per day and achieving one batch per shift, the total set-up and part-load time decreased from 3.0 to 1.5 machine hours per day. This reduction represents a 50% decrease in set-up and part-load time and an increase in machine capacity of 7.5%. At a combined machine and labor rate of $110/hour, these improvements equate to an annual savings of $41,250! Plus, these savings only speak to set-up, part installation and removal. Now with less machine attendance, the operator can better flex over to other machines in the cell, boosting overall productivity even more. In a tight labor market, this is essential.