How are 32 Cox Machine sheet- metal fabrication employees producing as many aerospace parts as its former team of 62? Four powerful MultiCam® 3000 Series CNC Routers replaced the machine shop’s less efficient turret punches. This smart equipment switch freed up eight to 10 operators to perform other functions.
With the extended router, they can cut longer parts including aircraft doublers and lengthy skins. Now Cox Machine’s prices are more competitive, which is bringing in additional business. The fabrication team cuts precision flat-pattern 2000, 6000 and 7000 Series aluminum sheet-metal parts for Cessna, Gulfstream and Spirit.
Previous Cessna Aircraft Company and Kansas Tool machinist Ernest “Bud” Cox founded Cox Machine in 1954. An 80,000-square-foot building in Wichita, Kan., houses its machining facility. Formerly Attica Engineering, the 24,000-square-foot fabrication plant in nearby Harper has produced quality sheet-metal products since the 1940s.
“High quality and low cost were big factors in choosing MultiCam,” Production Manager Ted Nelson said. “The routers are a huge improvement over turret punches. They eliminate time-consuming deburring and sanding. We like the low operating cost with few consumables.”
Cox Machine bought its four routers from Kansas- Oklahoma Machine Tools in Wichita, the regional MultiCam Technology Center.
“KOMT has been great,” Nelson said. “We trained at their facility. They answered every question and taught us things we didn’t know routers could do. Not much goes wrong, but they usually help us fix it over the phone. Or techs come out quickly. And they overnight parts to minimize downtime.”
Cox Machine runs four MultiCam routers 70 hours a week each over three shifts. They shut down from just 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. With a high overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) rating, maintenance is predictable. The first Center of Excellence for Cessna, Cox makes every copper busbar with minimal deburr.
“MultiCam was attractive to us because of the small footprint and easy installation,” Nelson said. “The great thing about our routers is they’re some of the least downtime machines. Ease of use is another key selling point. We cross-train employees quickly so someone can always fill in without breaking our busy workflow.”
Source: Mid-America Commerce & Industry (September 2012)