Methods Installs Three HMCs for Sturm, Ruger

Dec. 2, 2009
Compact, high-performance KIWA machines producing firearm components

Methods Machine Tools Inc. reports it has installed three KIWA-Japan KH-41 horizontal machining centers, each with a 40-tool automatic tool changer and a full fourth axis, at Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s Prescott, AZ, manufacturing plant.

Sturm, Ruger produces firearms for the commercial sporting market. The new HMCs are being used to machine the slide for their Ruger SR-9 striker-fired pistols.

“The new KIWA HMCs replaced older twin-spindle VMCs,” explained Mike Scoggins, Sturm, Ruger’s chief manufacturing engineer. “We have received multiple benefits since putting the HMCs in production including the ability to combine operations, improve part quality, reduce cycle time by 20% and minimize part change over time from one day to under five minutes.”

Methods Machine Tools supplies precision machine tools and accessories, as well as installation, parts, service, and training through its network of North American dealers. It is North America’s exclusive importer of KIWA-Japan horizontal and vertical machining centers.

The KIWA KH-41, developed by Japanese machine tool builder KIWA, has a simplified design that’s just 60.2 in. (1,530 mm) wide, to maximize space utilization. It can be installed in the same space as a vertical machine.

Yet, it offers rigidity and high operating speed, and it handles a range of workpieces. It has a full rotary B-axis, and with a 400-mm pallet machine the KH-41 can accommodate large work pieces up to 21.7X33.5 in.

The simple, fast ATC with drum-style design ensures speed, accuracy, rigidity, and lower cycle times. And, the KH-41’s 1G+ acceleration is standard on all axes.

Mark Lang, group vice president at Sturm, Ruger, said the new machines’ compactness has allowed the company to increase its manufacturing efficiency because it’s possible to assign one operator to run three machines. , “Due to the compact size of the KIWA KH-41,” Lang said, “the distance the operator has to walk between machines is minimal, as well as this equipment supports our Lean Manufacturing initiatives.”

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