Welcome to Mazak TALK, Mazak's new blog designed to keep you up to date and directly in tune with all things Mazak.
On Mazak TALK, you'll get regular news, opinions, and other valuable information from those at the heart of Mazak manufacturing. From corporate management to engineering, you'll hear from us on Mazak TALK.
Throughout 2012, we made significant investments in growing and improving our North American Headquarters Campus in Florence, Kentucky. One such investment involved expanding the size of our National Technology Center (East Building), from 69,000 to 100,183 square feet, to help make room for our Customer Service Headquarters.
We decided to merge these two core business segments inside the East Building to better meet the increased technology, training and service demands of our customers across all industry segments through improved technical and application support.
On December 18, the Customer Service Headquarters officially moved into the newly expanded East Building, occupying one third of the facility while the National Technology Center inhabits two thirds.
As such, the East Building is now home to the Customer Training Department, National Service Department, MAZATROL Control Support Group and the Documentation Department. This includes six new classrooms and a dining hall to significantly enhance the learning and training opportunities we provide customers, from advanced manufacturing seminars to machine maintenance classes to hands-on operator development courses.
On January 7, all of our Kentucky-based customer training courses started taking place in the East Building. You can view the complete list of 2013 training classes at the National Technology Center and Customer Service Headquarters here.
In addition to offering training courses at the National Technology Center and Customer Service Headquarters, customers can also visit one of our Regional Technology Centers throughout North America, where we routinely offer similar classes.
All of our Technology Centers play a key role in our comprehensive Optimum Plus service and support program. Each facility offers customers full access to advanced Multi-Tasking and 5-axis machines, parts support, applications assistance as well as leading-edge networking and manufacturing technologies.
Furthermore, our National Technology Center expansion allows for additional collaboration with the Regional Technology Centers by providing the engineering, development and necessary floor space to perform customer runoffs of larger manufacturing systems.
By constantly investing in our operations and offering such a broad range of support options, we ensure that our customers have complete access to everything they need to optimize their production processes and remain highly productive and profitable in today's challenging global economy.
Every machine tool company designs their machine controls differently, using varying communication methods. Therefore, MTConnect exists to try and set the standard communication method for retrieving data from such manufacturing equipment.
For those unfamiliar with MTConnect, it is an open-source, royalty-free manufacturing protocol that easily connects devices and systems from different suppliers to capture and share information in a common format, like XML. Using HTTP, a lightweight protocol, the machine tool looks like a Web server on a network.
The MTConnect Institute offers the source code and binaries free to machine tool companies, which can decide whether to offer MTConnect-enabled applications free to their customers or charge a fee for the implementation.
Currently, 98 organizations, including Mazak, actively support the "plug-and-play" MTConnect networking platform. Our collaboration with the MTConnect Institute enables you to simplify the monitoring and management of your Mazak production system.
With MTConnect compatibility, you can collect data on your overall machine utilization and monitor the occurrence of machine alarms, spindle loads and more in real time for continuously improving part processing and ultimately achieving a leaner manufacturing environment.
Keep in mind, however, MTConnect is not an application nor can it do calculations. It is the software applications that take the MTConnect data and turn it into important information, such as a visual dashboard of your factory. MTConnect provides the data, the data layout, and the data dictionary, leaving it up to the application to do something with the information—this is very different from other manufacturing protocols.
You'll find that more than 200 of our machines are MTConnect compliant, including models from the following series: HORIZONTAL CENTER NEXUS; HYPER QUADREX; INTEGREX IV; INTEGREX e-Series, i-Series and j-Series; MEGATURN NEXUS; QUICK TURN NEXUS; SLANT TURN NEXUS; VARIAXIS and VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS.
If you own an older Mazak machine, have no fear because you too can benefit from MTConnect through some simple, quick upgrading. All you need to do is obtain the latest version of Mazak's main software and purchase an MTConnect adapter for your specific Mazak machine model. From there, it's as simple as plugging the machine into your network and integrating an internally developed or third-party monitoring software solution. And as always, Mazak is here to help you implement MTConnect into your operations.
If you are interested in learning more about how MTConnect works, what an MTConnect-enabled facility looks like and what new MTConnect advancements are on the horizon, I will be conducting a webinar titled "MTConnect: Downstream Applications to Increase Productivity and Competitiveness" on January 30 at 2 p.m. ET. Registration information for this webinar will be available soon at www.mazakusa.com/webinar. I hope you can join me!
Several major milestones came into play at this year's IMTS, which ran Sept. 10 – 15 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Not only did the show itself bring in 100,200 attendees from all over the world, making it the most successful manufacturing event in more than a decade, Mazak brought more to the IMTS show floor than ever before.
This year's show marked the first time we exhibited an unprecedented number of machines designed and built at our Kentucky Manufacturing Plant. Of the 22 fully powered machines cutting industry-specific components inside our massive new booth, these eight are proudly made at our Florence Campus: the new VERTICAL CENTER UNIVERSAL 400 and 400-5X, new VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS 530C-II TT, VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS COMPACT, new QUICK TURN NEXUS 250-II MSY-D, QUICK TURN NEXUS 450-II MY, new QUICK TURN ZENITH 250M-2T and ORBITEC 20.
In today's steadily growing and competitive manufacturing world where demands are high and increased quality, efficiency and productivity are critical for your success, you need a machine tool partner that can quickly deliver the best solution for your business.
We can get you what you need, when you need it because of our ongoing investment in our North American operations. Such commitment allows us to stay ahead of the manufacturing curve and, more importantly, enables you to benefit from even more advanced technology, support and training that will increase your competitiveness.
We've recently made great strides on three expansion projects within our Florence, Kentucky Campus, involving our North American Manufacturing Plant, North American Parts Center and National Technology Center. Combined these expansions will add over 200,000 square feet to the campus, increasing total floor space to 800,000 square feet and allowing us to stake claim on one of the largest machine tool factories in the country.
Our growth, however, isn't limited to Kentucky. We recently completed an expansion of our Midwest Technology Center in Schaumburg, Illinois to support the continuous upswing of manufacturing business throughout this region.
North American Manufacturing Plant Expansion
When this 16th expansion of our manufacturing plant is complete in the fall of 2013, we'll be able to exceed surging customer demands through increased production and support of new and additional Mazak machine models. In fact, we'll have the potential to increase production capacity from 135 machines per month to 200.
North American Parts Center Expansion
We're increasing the storage capacity of this facility by 25 percent, adding two new fully automated vertical lift module storage systems to boost small-parts capacity and replacing an existing rack system with one that provides 286 more pallets of large-part storage. Upon completion, we'll have one of the industry's largest inventories of spare parts, with 50,000 unique part numbers valued at more than $65 million.
National Technology Center Expansion
Now on our second expansion of this facility, we are increasing its floor space from 69,000 to 100,183 square feet to include seven new high bay areas, a second story for additional office space a larger technology demonstration area. The added office space will house six dedicated training rooms and space for our National Service Department.
Midwest Technology Center Expansion
We added 18,000 square feet to this facility, making room for two new first-class training rooms, an enlarged presentation area, a new dining area and new conference areas outfitted with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment. This now 56,000-square-foot facility gives our Midwest customers access to more technology and more technical service and support for helping them increase their throughput and shorten their production lead times.
As every U.S. manufacturing industry segment continues to grow, our 2012 expansions will enable us to be even quicker and more effective in fulfilling our customers' evolving needs for advanced machine tool technology and applications support.
Modern machine tools with highly advanced technologies have made it possible for you to be more productive and competitive than ever before.
As the industry continues to progress, Mazak is committed to helping you realize the unique benefits and capabilities of our machines, and how to choose the right setup to cut costs and lead times. In fact, at IMTS 2012 in booth S-8300, we'll introduce you to our new 3-4-5 manufacturing solution that will assist you in easily identifying the right Mazak technology for your operations and take you to the next level of productivity.
From 3 levels of CNC controls that provide advanced operator support, to 4 levels of automation that focus on better equipment utilization, to 5 levels of Multi-Tasking that shorten cycle times by using fewer machines to complete cutting operations, 3-4-5 focuses on everything you need to easily develop a highly optimized manufacturing system.
3 Levels of CNC Controls
We're able to meet your unique production requirements by developing our own advanced control technology that perfectly matches up with our comprehensive line of innovative, productive machine tools and systems.
4 Levels of Automation
With the right level of automation you can significantly improve your bottom line. Our comprehensive, single-source approach to automation brings together an unmatched level of resources that focus on your unique operations.
5 Levels of Multi-Tasking
Because we have a wide variety of advanced Multi-Tasking machines from which to choose, we categorize our offerings based on their capabilities, from basic to complex, so you can optimally align our technology with your processes.
Whether you're producing small parts with unit cycle times of under a minute or large, complex components that require a full week of machining, only Mazak has the 3 levels of CNC control, 4 levels of automation and 5 levels of Multi-Tasking that make it as easy for you to create the right manufacturing synergy for your business.
Developing advanced manufacturing technologies is only part of what we do at Mazak to help you increase your productivity and profitability. As part of our comprehensive Optimum Plus customer service program, we offer world-class parts support to maximize the return on your machine tool investment. By stocking more than 50,000 unique part numbers, we are able to achieve 97% same-day delivery on all our orders.
After all, in today's 24/7 manufacturing world with urgent demands and just-in-time logistics, it's more important than ever to maximize uptime. That's why we are committed to continuous investment in our spare parts fulfillment so you get the fastest possible solution to the unexpected and your facility keeps running smoothly. In fact, we recently invested nearly $1 million to expand our North American Parts Center in Florence, Kentucky, enabling us to continue our commitment to providing one of the industry's largest inventories of spare parts—which is valued at more than $65 million.
The expansion increases our facility's storage capacity by 25%, growth that will also support our many new and upcoming machine tool models. Two new fully automated vertical lift module (VLM) storage systems—which join 13 other VLMs in an advanced automated storage and retrieval system—will boost small parts capacity by 5,600 parts, and we are replacing an existing rack system with a new one that will provide 286 more pallets of large part storage. In total, the expansion allows the Mazak Parts Center to inventory almost 14,000 additional parts to keep customer machines up and running.
We group the VLMs into four pods or pick-and-pass workstations. Within each module are 8 feet wide, 34 inch deep trays that can hold up to 1,100 pounds of parts. (There are also wider units capable of handling oversized parts.) Together these pods create a 150-foot long picking area, with a conveyor line running in front of them. For heavy parts, we have a pallet storage area that is serviced by an automatic stacker crane.
Our Parts Center currently ships 1,000 aftermarket parts daily and has the capability to process up to 2,000 orders within a five-hour shift. Since our customers are busy during working hours and most often place part orders late in the afternoons, the Parts Center is staffed well into the evening hours to ensure those orders get same-day shipping. We also streamline access to our massive spare parts stock through our highly successful PartsWeb ordering program that puts customers in touch with the North American Parts Center 24/7.
To confirm every customer's spare parts order is accurate and quickly filled, we use a five-point check system that is managed by our warehouse management system:
With our five-point system, we are able to achieve nearly 100% part-picking precision. Pair this accuracy with our same-day delivery on 97% of all our orders, and we're able to offer our customers the best in parts distribution—which is critical in today's highly competitive 24/7 manufacturing world where there is no margin for error.
Read about our Parts Center and Spindle Repair Department expansion.
We all know time is money in today's highly competitive manufacturing landscape, and no shop owner can afford to let machine tools sit idle. One way to keep your machine spindle working while additional setups or unloading operations are taking place is through pallet changing.
Several of our vertical turning centers, including those from the VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS Series and MEGATURN NEXUS Series, easily integrate with our optional 2-pallet changer so you can immediately start boosting your productivity through continuous machining. In fact, whether your focus is on high production jobs or small batch just-in-time production, you can significantly reduce your part cycle times and machine non-cut times with pallet changing.
With an automatic 2-pallet changer, machine operators can load, unload and inspect parts on one pallet, while the machine continues to work on parts fixtured on the other pallet. When one pallet of work is completed, change out time between the two pallets is often a matter of seconds. You'll also find we offer a shutter for our vertical turning centers that mounts between the machine and pallet changer to block coolant as well as keep chips from scattering.
If you're trying to double your shop's production, investing in a 2-pallet changer is one of the easiest things you can do. It's not uncommon for a pallet changer to pay for itself in a matter of a few weeks — and the rest is just more money in your pocket.
Even though the average person rarely notices them, valves play an important role in our daily life. Without valves, we couldn't turn on a faucet or gas stove. In fact, public utilities wouldn't exist and neither would fresh water or automatic heat in our homes.
Valves range in size from a fraction of an inch up to 30 feet in diameter, and vary in complexity, from a simple brass valve from a hardware store to a highly sophisticated coolant system control valve made of an exotic alloy for a nuclear reactor.
And the larger, more odd-shaped the valve, the more difficult it is to machine turned features on it. But it doesn't have to be a challenging process. Mazak has found a way to simplify the approach and advance large-part productivity.
During a recent webinar titled "ORBITEC 20: Innovative Solutions for Valve Manufacturing" manufacturers discovered a new world of possibilities in the precise machining of the most challenging valve projects. They learned Mazak's new ORBITEC 20 employs a wholly unique headstock design to generate turned features on large parts by keeping the workpiece clamped and stationary, moving only the cutting tool.
ORBITEC 20 benefits webinar participants learned about:
You'll find the ORBITEC webinar is just one in a series of Discover Technology webinars we are hosting. Mazak wants to bridge the technology gap and connect its customers with industry experts on the latest productivity-improving machining applications and solution ideas for various industries. These webinars are free and all you need is 60 minutes, a computer, Internet connection and web browser to start gaining powerful knowledge that help you stay competitive and grow your bottom line.
Upcoming seminars include: "Demystifying 5-Axis Post Processors," "Turbine Blade Manufacturing in Mult-Tasking," "MTConnect and Downstream Solutions," "Digital Simulation and PALLETECH Automation," and "Spiral Bevel Gear Manufacturing."
Let me be the first to officially welcome you to our new blog "Mazak TALK." I thought it only fitting that I make the first entry.
I'd like to start off by saying that we are extremely excited to see that business has picked up and continues to gain momentum for our customers and U.S. manufacturing as a whole. The time is truly ripe for opportunities in manufacturing in the United States. And while it was a tough couple of years leading up to this point, I believe that such trying times really bring out the strength, ingenuity and fortitude of all of us involved in manufacturing
I know that here at Mazak, changes - good or bad - in the economy and in manufacturing are often the catalyst for what I term "the natural evolution of business." For example, Mazak started out building commercially viable machine tools for a wide variety of customers, and we continue to do so. But now, more than ever, our customers are striving to further improve productivity so that they can fulfill current orders and continue to compete in a tough global marketplace.
It's just this type of customer need that contributes to the natural evolution of Mazak's business, one that has us now developing solutions that go beyond the sale of a machine.
Boosting competitiveness for today's manufacturers might simply entail an added accessory or some type of new tooling. But experience has shown that the best solution is, in many instances, adapting machine tool technology developed for particular types of parts or for specific industries.
A perfect example is Mazak's ORBITEC 20 for large part machining, a machine tool technology that we adapted and evolved into one designed to increase the production of our customers in the oil and gas industries manufacturing valves and other large components. Another is the VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS - COMPACT, which provides medical manufacturing shops high-performance, high-speed 5-axis machining capabilities on a space-saving machine that meets the needs of Lean Manufacturing initiatives. And you can expect to see more of this part-specific/industry-specific technology being developed by Mazak in the future, with a lot of it being designed and built right here in the United States at our Kentucky plant.
In this day and age, you can't survive by simply re-arranging a shop floor full of old equipment. You have to naturally evolve with technology and your business environment.
Consider Multi-Tasking machines. They are so much more efficient than the technology of the past. And what's amazing is that the newer Multi-Tasking machines are even more efficient and productive than their older generation counterparts. We currently offer 5 Levels of Multitasking so that those customers requiring simple turning and milling or those wanting full 5 axis contouring capabilities both have machines matched to their specific manufacturing needs.
Productivity increases by leaps and bounds from one machine generation to the next. These increases have been quite substantial in recent years, and we see them continuing at an even more rapid pace.
However, the natural evolution of business has involved more than just machine tool technology at Mazak. Our own manufacturing has, and continues to, naturally evolve coinciding with needs of our customers and U.S. manufacturing.
We've been manufacturing in the United States since 1974, and with our customers' future needs always in mind, we've made, and continue to make, major investments in our Kentucky manufacturing plant, even when times were tough.
We added 50,000 sq-ft to the plant and several new manufacturing systems that not only speed production, but also allow us to produce additional machine models. Plus over the years, we've evolved and refined our Production-On-Demand manufacturing systems to the point where we are able to produce over 100 different machine models, and make them available to you at leadtimes shorter than ever before.
Additionally, as our business naturally evolves, so too does our focus on service and support. Like our machine tools, we are continually developing and improving our Technology Center concept focused on providing customers with local access to the knowledge and guidance for streamlining their manufacturing processes and increasing production.
A large portion of the initiatives and investments in this area has been to shape the focus of our Technology Centers into resources that target those industry segments that are important to our customers. And we are stocking these facilities with the talents and knowledge base of people with expertise in those specific industry segments - such as oil and gas, medical and aerospace - and their coinciding manufacturing requirements.
As we continue to evolve, the kinds of events Mazak hosts are also evolving. These events have grown beyond just showing the latest technology into ones that are educational and application focused. All the Discover Mazak events at our various state-of-the-art Regional Technology Centers continue to reflect our long-term commitment to our customers and the industries they serve.
And with 2012 being an IMTS year, we at Mazak welcome you to visit our booth S-8300 at the show. While there, you will truly "Discover More With Mazak."
In closing, I'd like to leave you with this thought. Manufacturing is definitely driving today's economy, and every time there is change, there are opportunities to evolve and improve. We'll continue to evolve and improve here at Mazak and help our customers do the same.