Teaming Up to Reduce Set-up Times

A Texas job shop maximizes its investment in universal turning centers thanks to quick-setup/close-tolerance tooling

Quick-change tooling is critically valuable to job shops like Anthony Machine Inc. in San Antonio, Tex., which has been supplying component parts to manufacturers in various industries since 1946 — oil-and-gas, mining, transportation, and power generation, to list a few. The variety of work orders underscores the value of quick-change tooling.

For over 30 years, Kennametal’s KM brand quick-change tooling has been making machine shops more efficient. Anthony Machine, and thousands of other customers will attest that KM provides shorter set-up times, greater flexibility, higher levels of machine utilization, and the ability to meet head-on the increasingly stringent requirements for precision.

With more than 70 years of precision machining experience, there’s little that the Texas job shop has not seen or done. Recently, have acquired a pair of DMG Mori Seiki NLX 3000 1250 universal turning centers — its first Y-axis, live-tool lathes— Anthony Machine's manufacturing team was challenged to get the most value of that new investment.

Kennametal senior sales engineer Mark Davis advised the Anthony Machine team that the best way to reduce set-up times and maximize the new machines’ potential would be to equip them with Turret Adapted Clamping Units (TACU) and KM quick-change toolholders.

“The TACU system supports everything from KM32 up to KM63,” Davis said. “We offer blocks for both static and driven tools, and can tool-up lathes from Okuma, Haas, Mazak, Doosan, and of course DMG Mori—pretty much all of the major machine tool builders, with more coming online all the time. This makes it both easy and cost-effective for our customers to equip more than 80 models of CNC turning centers with a fast, flexible and accurate quick-change toolholding system.”

According to Anthony Machine manufacturing technologist Daniel Goller, the selection of TACU and KM for the new machines was an easy one. “Over the years, we’ve built a number of KM-equipped custom toolholders for deep boring and other machining operations on our CNC lathes and machining centers, and we use Kennametal? on several of the shop’s manual turret lathes to overcome limitations with available tool positions,” he said. “On more than one occasion, we’ve earned new business because KM was able to achieve tolerances and surface finishes that others couldn’t do with conventional tooling.”

Anthony’s operations manager Mohsen Saleh agreed. “The differences are striking,” he said. “Compared to the traditional wedge and screw-style blocks that come standard on most machines, the KM-equipped TACU units are both faster and more accurate. We routinely hold tolerances of 0.0005 in. (0.013 mm) and I’m told that part size doesn’t change from one clamping to the next.

“The turret’s less crowded,” Saleh continued. “Everything’s easier to get at, and you don’t have the chatter and deflection that you often find with your typical straight shank tools and set-screw type boring bar holders.”

“Anthony’s experience with TACU is what we’ve come to expect from KM,” noted Kennametal’s Davis. “Considering the breadth of the platform, its accuracy, and especially its flexibility, it’s quickly become the de facto industry standard in quick-change tooling.”

Saleh offered a bit of perspective on Anthony Machine’s recent success. “We bought our first CNC machine in 1986,” he said. “At that time, we were using a well-known competitive brand, and then Kennametal came knocking. What first struck us was their service-oriented attitude.

They’ve always been willing to come in and work with us on applications, which together with the quality of their products is why they’ve since become our preferred tooling supplier.

“We’re always competing against smaller, lower-cost shops, and in order to continue winning new business in this environment, we have to adopt the latest in advanced tooling and machine tool technology,” he concluded.

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