Multi-task Machining and Process Automation Equate to Higher Job Satisfaction and Higher Quality Precision Products

Marten Machining specializes in high precision five axis milling, CNC turning, wire EDM and surface grinding for clients across the globe. More precisely, Marten Machining works with clients who need specialized fixtures, tooling or machine parts requiring unique designs and precision manufacturing.

To deliver those services, Marten Machining relies on a balance between automation and employee skill. Notes Dave Marten, Vice President of Marten Machining, “Our work requires specialized talent, accuracy, precision and quick turnaround — not high production. Automation is critical to our business — it increases our efficiencies, reduces scrap and waste, and ensures precision. Rather than having employees use time to manually operate machines, employees use their time more intellectually in operating and programming the computers to do the work. This is a shift in precision manufacturing that requires a different skill set.”

And that shift — skilled labor using critical thinking skills to program advanced automated five-axis machining centers and automated pallet changers — provides job satisfaction. “Every one of our employees is highly trained, competent, very specialized and skilled. They receive in-house training and specialized off-site training, sometimes traveling to Germany for training from the manufacturers who construct our specialized equipment.”

Marten continues, “Automation changes the way a person looks at a process. The entire process development and strategy is different, so our employees need to be more technically trained. They need to understand the potential causes of failures during machining and think strategically when using the machine to hold dimensions and part tolerances during an unattended machining cycle.” He adds, “Automation increases job satisfaction because our people get to use creative, critical thinking to improve quality, rather than using their time to simply manually load parts at the end of each machining cycle. ”

As an example, Marten cites the INDEX R200 Five Axis Mill-Turn Multitasking machine as well as the two Hermle C30U automation cells currently installed. “The R200 can run parts complete from certain forms of raw stock, and the bar loader serves as an automated attendant along with the parts catching arm. Similarly, the C30U automation cells use an Erowa robot to load and unload parts automatically. Once our skilled employees have completed the brainstorming for process development and programmed the machines accordingly, unattended machining takes over — freeing our employees to focus on the next client’s process development.”

Thanks to process automation, Marten Machining has 18-20 hours of throughput each day per machine, rather than the standard 8-9 hours of throughput per shift associated with manufacturers who do not utilize automated machining processes. Mill turn and five-axis automation allows Marten Machining to produce multiple, varied parts simultaneously. This reduces the time needed to produce the specialized machined parts, reduces lead times and results in efficiencies that reduce costs.

“In the end, high precision automation means happier employees and happier customers,” concludes Marten. “That’s a win-win situation.”