Cutting tool training pays dividends at Pneumatrol
Established over 50 years ago Lancashire-based Pneumatrol has become a leading manufacturer and solution provider of pneumatic and electromagnetic valves, with customers across the globe using its products across the Process, Rail, Energy and Industrial market sectors.
Like many companies with such a history Pneumatrol employs a mix of skilled people, ranging from highly experienced setters, through adult NVQ trainees, to young apprentices. Each of these groups has a different approach to the application of cutting tools, so the decision was taken to bring them all together for an intense training session provided by WNT (UK).
To ensure that it meets the demands of its global customer base Pneumatrol has a policy of ongoing training as an integral part of its business model. During a review of its machining processes it came to light that much of the application knowledge of the older skilled setters needed updating, and concerns were raised that the younger apprentices were not being taught the best way to utilise modern cutting tools. The solution was to work with WNT (UK) to provide up to date knowledge of cutting data for all staff responsible for programming and setting the various turning and machining centres. ‘Bringing all of our people together at the same time enabled WNT to present the training in a structured way, which made perfect sense to us. The result is that we are already seeing the benefits,’ says Paul Brammer, Pneumatrol’s Machine Shop Manager.
Since the training day Pneumatrol has started working through its portfolio of pneumatic valves and reviewing all of the cutting data, the results so far have generated significant savings in both consumable tooling costs and more specifically cycle times. ‘Our first task was to look at specific long-running jobs and without changing any of the tools that we use, simply looking at the cutting data on these first 12 components we have reduced the average cycle time per component by around 84 seconds. Given the volumes involved that equates to almost 1800 hours/year saving, simply by applying the optimum cutting speeds and feeds,’ says Paul Brammer.
The task now is to work through the rest of Pneumatrol’s catalogue of parts and replicate these savings where possible. The reduction in cycle time is only one part of the benefits gained from the WNT training. Applying the correct cutting data has also seen improved surface finishes. The machine tools are also faring better as they are not working as hard and tool life and swarf control has also improved, reducing consumable costs and also having an impact on the lights out weekend running that Pneumatrol operates.
‘Our consumable tooling bill has fallen by around 38 per cent since the training thanks to the improved performance of the existing tools.’ says Paul Brammer.
Tel: 01254 872 277
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 34
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