PEKO Precision Products

THE PEKO Perspective: Robotic Workholding

Posted by Scott Baxter on Mar 27, 2019 2:20:24 PM

PEKO is constantly looking for ways to gain efficiency in our manufacturing operations.  Our CNC machining department is under constant scrutiny for opportunities for efficiency improvements.  We aren't the only ones, as Barbara Schulz discovers in her recent article about using flexible automation for high mix and low volume production machining.  This intriguing article highlights Zelos Zerspanung, and yields some very interesting insights and results, as well as leaves us with a few questions.  

We all talk about robotics, but our experience tells us that your typical small shop or those with a high mix/low volume can be adverse to such technology.  Common rebuttals for pursuing robotics in high mix machine shops are "it will take too long to setup" or "it will be too expensive".

This article identifies such objections:

"Mr. Oreskovic believes some robotic machine-tending solutions can be intimidating to small job shops. This can cause them to delay their transition to automated manufacturing because they think they need to invest in complex, expensive, process-specific systems that rely on highly trained specialists."

Dive deeper and you see how a process is laid out the subject overcame such obstacles, like starting small.  We agreed with this take and thought it very wise.

The article explains how this strategy can be implemented in high-wage companies, a theme in which most western companies can sympathize.  The discussion on quick-change workholding as a means for improving setups was right on point.  Carefully selecting grippers compatible with common work geometries or part families is exactly the kind of smart thinking that many shops could analyze before spending a single dollar on robotics.

Stage two and three of the process laid out in this piece, are Robotic Loading for Pallet Pools and Vice clamped parts.  Our gut reaction is that this sounds difficult to optimize, however I agree that by focusing hard on efficiency gains and using creative methodologies, there could be gold in those hills.  I applaud the author and the subject both for vetting out the process.

The article closes the loop and informs the reader that such an investment has paid off.  As we look to the future, I ask, how can other machine shops use a similar process?  What kind of human capital is involved in successful implementation?  What's taking so long for high-mix/low volume shops to adopt such a process?  What are some process limitations? And lastly, are these systems flexible enough to account for changes in future business demands?

The full article, Small Shop Sees Big Gains from Right-Sized Automation, was published on Modern Machine Shop.  Thanks for checking out The PEKO Perspective. 

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Topics: CNC Machining, Low Volume Precision Machining, machine shop

New CNC Machinery Announcement: KIWA Methods-KMH-1000B

Posted by Brianna Marchetti on Nov 28, 2018 11:18:12 AM

We've had many new CNC Machinery announcements lately–as we continue to grow our business–but this newest announcement is something that we've been looking forward to for months now.  If you've been keeping up with our latest blog posts, then you've had some foresight into this new addition.  The KIWA Methods-KMH-1000B is one of the largest horizontal machines in our shop, to date!

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Topics: CNC Machining, Contract Manufacturing, Low Volume Precision Machining, machine shop, large parts, machinery manufacturing

You have the technology

Posted by Todd Scheske on Nov 24, 2014 12:38:00 PM

So you have developed new technology or processes, so what are your next steps?

Of course funding is fundamentally important, but for physical device imagesCABLRYAXtechnology development, your business plan should in parallel consider developing a manufacturable design and prototype while also protecting your intellectual property.

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Topics: Contract Manufacturing, prototype cnc machining, Low Volume Precision Machining, Commercialize New Technology, patent, Technology

What Makes a Great Precision Machine Shop

Posted by Scott Baxter on Nov 11, 2014 11:28:00 AM

Identifying Key Factors for a Precision Machine Shop is important:

All over the country, there are  pockets of manufacturing still alive and well.  From plastics to metals and everything in between, there is still life in the manufacturing industry.  With some many shops of different sizes, specialties and cultures, it is important to identify key factors that contribute to a great precision machine shop. 

Not all machine shops are created equal. Many buyers and sourcing personnel focus too much on price without considering the big picture.  Quality, Delivery and Cost are all important and to achieve them the makeup of the business matters greatly. 

Buyers in high tech  industries such as Medical, Semiconductor, Defense, Printing and others would be prudent to look at the company a a whole to see how it operates before making any important purchasing decisions.  Let's analyze some important factors that one should consider when picking a machine shop for a project.

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Topics: CNC Machining, Low Volume Precision Machining, precision machine shop

4 Indicators of a Great Low Volume Precision Machining Supplier

Posted by Scott Baxter on Nov 6, 2014 10:14:44 AM

Finding A Precision Machine Shop for Low Volumes Can be Tough:

American Manufacturing is still alive and well.  There are thousands of precision machine shops across the country with an array of specialties.  Most of these machine shops are drawn to the business model of high volume production runs.  Less experienced operators can run the job once it's set up correctly, and big dollars come from each job.  As such, it is getting harder and harder to find the right suppliers for precision machining when the job requires small batches and short runs.  For the purpose of this article, I'm mainly talking about jobs of 1-50, 50-300 and 300-1,000 EAU quantities.  These quantities are highly prevalent in complex industries such as Medical, Semiconductor, Defense, Printing and others.  From the manufacturer standpoint, it is incredibly hard to find the right jobs, labor and equipment to make money in the low volume end of the business.  For OEMs looking to outsource this kind of precision machining work, it isn't easy to find a machine shop that has the capability to efficiently and effectively produce low volume machined parts at the reasonable price.  So without further ado, I present you with some indicators that can help to identify a good precision machining house for low volume production quantities.

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Topics: CNC Machining, Low Volume Precision Machining