Shop-floor tool dispensing

Since incorporating a tool dispensing and management system, the St. Joe Division of Atchison Steel Casting and Machining no longer has machines down because tooling is unavailable. And its machinists aren't hoarding needed tools in their toolboxes.

Since incorporating a tool dispensing and management system, the St. Joe Division of Atchison Steel Casting and Machining no longer has machines down because tooling is unavailable. And its machinists aren't hoarding needed tools in their toolboxes.

The shop, which rough and finish machines castings, has two 10-bay Kennametal ToolBoss management systems. These draw-based units dispense the exact number of tools requested, track and report usage, manage the rework cycle, force the use of reground tooling, ration tooling, and restrict tooling when necessary.

"We store about 500 line items in the ToolBoss units — the most frequently used tooling and other things like screwdrivers, pliers, gloves, and batteries," says Vice President of Manufacturing Services Jeff Wise. Operators select tooling by machine, job, and user.

The two units are part of the shop's internal network, and process engineers manage them from office workstations. With the system's software, the engineers produce customized reporting, quickly re-order, and easily re-stock.

Atchison now knows the exact cost of tooling for each operation and its true internal operations costs. This information lets the company respond quickly to customer demands.

"We have taken the first steps in tool control and will soon be consolidating and standardizing items not currently in the ToolBoss system," says Wise. The company plans to install a third unit for those items and incorporate Kennametal Automated Tool Management Solutions (KATMS) software.

KATMS, a comprehensive modular tool-management package, oversees multiple tool cribs and ToolBoss units. With it, Atchison plans on managing items outside the system, tracking gage recall, and implementing tool-assembly management.

Kennametal Inc.
Latrobe, Pa.

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