• Abbott Workholding Products

    WORKHOLDING PARTS MANUFACTURER UPGRADES HMCs TO IMPROVE ACCURACIES, GAIN EFFICIENCY AND ADD CAPACITY FOR LARGER WORKPIECES. Abbott Workholding Products was faced with the need to address a number of production issues related to its aging lineup of horizontal machining centers.

    “We saw the need to update several of our machines and we decided to thoroughly assess our current capabilities and determine the solution that would best meet our needs moving forward,” said Doug Reed, Vice President, Operations at Abbott Workholding Products.

    A leading manufacturer of tooling columns (tombstones), chuck jaws and master plates, the Manhattan, KS-based company was founded in Phoenix 1954 as the Abbott Engineering & Manufacturing Company producing soft jaws and the first Pie Jaw brand chuck jaw. Spurred on by the success of the Pie Jaw, Abbott expanded the product line to include tooling columns, tooling blocks, master plates and segments. In 1993 the company moved from Phoenix to its current location and further expanded its product line up to include steel and aluminum soft jaws, cast iron and steel Pie Jaws and associated fixturing. Today, Abbott manufactures more than 4,000 aluminum, steel and cast iron workholding products and ships them across the U.S and around the world.

    Abbott realized that increased maintenance of its older model HMCs was resulting in more downtime and a decrease in production throughput. In addition, because of the age of the machines, repair parts were becoming more difficult to find and more expensive. But while the cost of replacement parts was certainly an issue, there were many other problems caused by the aging machining centers.

    One big concern was that Abbott’s workpiece requirements had outpaced its capability to produce them. Abbott had added many new products over the years, including larger sized tooling columns that required larger workzones and heavier load capacities.

    Another consideration—and perhaps most importantly for Abbott-- was its desire to increase production quality standards. “We have always had the reputation of being a quality manufacturer, but we wanted to ensure that we constantly improve our quality standards moving forward, particularly as our customers demand tighter tolerances and higher quality products,” Doug Reed said.

    Several solutions were considered to meet the machining challenge including double column machining centers. However, since it was already using horizontal machining centers and was familiar with its operation and capabilities, Abbott decided to stay with a horizontal machining center.

    “Key to the purchase decision, we wanted to partner with a supplier that stood behind its products and had an excellent reputation for service and support that continued long after installation,” Doug Reed reiterated. “We were fortunate to attend an SNK Open House and be able to speak with all of the key department people along with loyal NIIGATA users who were able to assure us-not only of their satisfaction with the reliability and performance of NIIGATA machines-but with SNK’s commitment to its customers.”

    Convinced that SNK America was their “go to” supplier and after reviewing the project parameters, the NIIGATA SPN901 was the clear choice for Abbott.

    For starters, floor shop space was somewhat limited, so the machine had to fit a defined space. But the SPN901 APC set-up area was open and allowed the operator easy access to the set up area. As Abbott has many very small production runs, part changeover considerations were crucial in the selection process.

    When features and specifications were considered, the SPN901 was a perfect match. With a large, operator-friendly workzone, table working surface of 31.5” x 31.5” and a maximum mass on pallet of 5,500lbs., it can easily accommodate larger workpieces. This includes the new 1,000mm tooling columns as well as custom designed products Abbott offers its customers. With a 40HP spindle drive motor (8,000 rpm) that generates 443 ft.lbs of torque, the SPN901 is capable of machining A713 Tenzaloy (aged to T-6 condition), aluminum, steel and cast iron workpieces. X,Y and Z-axis travel-at 59.1”, 51.2” and 45.3” respectively, means that Abbott can produce even larger workpieces should that be required in the future. Rapid feedrates of 1,968 ipm improves efficiency. Fanuc 30i CNC controller is utilized and achieves significant improvements in accuracy with ±0.00016” on the X-Y-Z stroke-ideal for the tighter tolerances Abbott was looking to achieve.

    But the proof is in the numbers and so far Abbott has seen substantial gains in production throughput. The large matrix type ATC has reduced set up time by 25% and has improved the ability to deliver products quickly to their end users. Abbott has substantially improved quality as well by improving tolerances of their tooling columns by 50%.

    Abbott will continue to monitor the performance of the SPN901, but after only a few short months, they are more than pleased with results.

    For more information contact SNK America Sales
    (847) 364-0801
    Contact Your SNK America Sales Professional
  • Doug Reed, VP, Operations for Abbott Workholding Products along with Operator John Mosburg standing in front of their new NIIGATA SPN901 Horizontal Machining Center.
    With spindle speeds up to 8,000 rpm and an ultra-rigid, high load guide way system, deflection is virtually eliminated.
    The versatility, speed and power of the SPN901 allow for roughing and finishing operations in a single set up-as shown here machining a tombstone.
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