This year’s American Machinist Benchmarks for Machine Shops survey showed how shops are using tooling presetting devices and advanced workholding concepts to reduce cycle time, maximize machine uptime and boost productivity. In each of these categories, the benchmark shops – those that scored highest in the survey – indicated they used these technologies to score major improvements in shop operations and productivity.
Once again, as in the survey conducted and presented in 2008, the respondents indicated that their use of tool presetting devices for conventional tool clamping systems significantly increased productivity in metal-cutting operations. Almost twice the number of benchmark shops reported using tool presetting over all shops responding to the survey.
Productivity-boosting, cycle-time reducing workholding techniques are especially important to those shops surveyed, because they overwhelmingly indicated their businesses are characterized by a high mix of short-run jobs.
The big news emerging from the 2009 Benchmark survey is the improvement that benchmark shops enjoyed from their use of multiple workpiece fixturing. Although the total number of shops using these high-density workholding techniques decreased slightly in this year’s survey (as compared with the 2008 survey), this year’s benchmark shops indicated a significant improvement has taken place in reducing cycle times and improving productivity.