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New Workholding Allows Ohio Automation Manufacturer to Improve Cycle Times by 60% and Reduce Labor Hours by 50%

Rimrock Corporation selected Jergens 4-faced monoquad vises to machine spray gun models and for other vertical CNC milling operations because they could machine the entire jaw - a feature many manufacturers do not offer.

Founded in 1956 as a manufacturer of automatic lubrication systems, Rimrock has expanded to supply products including ladles, sprayers, extractors and complete turnkey robotic systems. As an exclusive integrator for ABB robots, Rimrock designs, manufactures and installs systems for applications ranging from material handling to parts finishing for the die casting, forging and foundry industries.

Rimrock manufactures industrial spray equipment, including several handheld spray guns that require machined castings for the bodies. These castings were machined on a Brother® TC 229 vertical machining center (VMC) using a progressive, manually loaded fixture that finished one spray gun per cycle with separate setups required for each spray gun model. According to Rimrock Machine Shop Manager Wes Dodge, "Moving each different part through progressive fixtures tied up the Brother TC 229 which we also use for manufacturing many other parts. We were challenged to keep up with sales demand with short lead times – this was a real problem." 2-1/2 days were required to set up and run kanban loads for each of the three spray gun models. Ongoing machine operator overtime costs to maximize machine usage was also a problem.

Machinist Jason Richardson agreed with Dodge, "We were always playing catch up to try and free up the Brother TC 299. We needed to find a better way."

Rimrock purchased several new Hardinge® VMCs, one of which was dedicated to machining these spray gun castings. They also purchased a Jergens 4” monoquad vise with a round base for use with a Troyke NC-10-B indexer. In addition, Rimrock precision-machined the Jergens full-faced vise plates to exactly accommodate the dimensions of the spray gun castings.

This combination of new machine and workholding enabled Rimrock not only to access and machine all operations on multiple models without moving the parts through progressive fixtures, but also to free up availability of the Brother TC 229 for other parts manufacturing. As a result, cycle time improved by 60% and actual manned labor hours were reduced by 50%.

"The greatest impact of using the Jergens vises together with the new machine was overall throughput," said Dodge. "We now comfortably meet our customer requirements."

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