The hidden cost of flipping parts

You know who you are. You can’t stop flipping. You’ve mastered the technique and do it better than anybody on the planet. Fixture the part, machine it, remove it, FLIP it, and do it all over again and again and again…and again. Do you enjoy re-enacting the movie Ground Hog Day? OK, I know the tone is a little more snarky than usual. Let me find my “educator voice” again. Please allow me to suggest an alternative to flipping parts. Set up the part once and let the machine do your grunt work—uh—I mean flipping. All you need is a 5-axis machine to find the hidden profit of 5-sided machining. There’s a line from another entertaining flick—“Show Me the Money!”

Get ready: I’m going to show you the money. How much is 4 hours-8 minutes-23 seconds worth to you? If your shop rate is $80/hour, that would be about $320. Does $320 more margin for one part sound good? Let’s say you do 100 of these parts a week. Does $32,000 extra margin sound even better? And then there is the hidden cost of inaccuracy. You might be the most precise part flipper there is, but there is time involved in making sure you retain accuracy when you are flipping parts. With 5-sided machining, you fixture the part ONCE and machine five sides and then another setup to machine the sixth side.

So, how did I arrive at $32,000 additional margin by converting from a 3-axis machining center using the “flip method” to a 5-axis machining center using the method we call 5-sided machining (which is also called 3+2 by some people)? This is a real part, which was machined on a 3-axis VMC and 5-axis VMC.

Standard 3 Axis

Operation

Setup Time

Load Time

Cycle Time

Description

1 30 min 20 sec 3 min 58 sec Drill top holes and C’bore
2 30 min 20 sec 0 min 42 sec Facemill back side
3 30 min 20 sec 1 min 07 sec Facemill front & mill pockt
4 30 min 20 sec 2 min 29 sec Mill, drill & notch right side
5 30 min 20 sec 2 min 23 sec Mill & drill left side
6 1 hr 30 min 20 sec 5 min 05 sec Mill front angle, drill & C’bore – built fixture to cut angle
7 1 hr 30 min 20 sec 4 min 03 sec Mill back angle – built fixture to cut angle
Total 5 hr 30 min 2 min 20 sec 19 min 47 sec

Hurco VM10U 5-axis

Operation

Setup Time

Load Time

Cycle Time

Description

1 30 min 20 sec 1 min 20 sec Drill, C’bore top side
2 1hr 20 sec 11 min 44 sec Complete the rest of the part
Total 1 hr 30 min 40 sec 13 min 04 sec
Time Savings 4 hrs 1 min 40 sec 6 min 43 sec

Show me the $ equation

Time Saved x Shop Rate x Part Quantity/Week
4 hrs 8 min 23 sec (time saved) x $80 (shop rate) = $320* x 100 (number of parts per week) = $32,000
*I rounded to an even 4 hours to keep it simple

If you want more detail, click here to see the video explanation by Michael Cope, Senior Applications Engineer. (You might need to scroll down to see video)

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