If you’re contracted to deliver large quantities of identical components for a very well-known name in the earthmoving vehicle sector, you’d better make sure you have a fast, reliable, and repeatable manufacturing setup.

National Technologies Inc. makes precision parts for Caterpillar using a fleet of Haas CNC machine tools. One machine in particular, a Haas high-speed DT-1 Drill/Tap Center, is fitted with an automatic pallet changer to create a formidable, high-volume production setup.

National Technologies bought the Haas DT-1 around 3 to 4 years ago, but at that time, the parts in question were still being made on an old and tired multi-spindle chucker.

“The chucker was unreliable, and there was a lot of variance in the part, which caused problems in subsequent operations,” says Scott Harrington, National Technologies’ Marketing Manager, Production. “Our production department went looking for a fast, reliable alternative to the chucker, and decided to look into a pallet changer and fixture system that would work with the DT-1.”

The company chose a pallet changer from MIDACO – the ADT-1SD – that is designed especially to integrate with the Haas, “so it makes set up and control very easy,” Mr. Harrington explains.

Each pallet is loaded with 10 parts, using a collet fixturing system. The DT-1 takes just 2 minutes to finish all 10 to length, and drill and tap a hole in each. While one pallet load of parts is being machined, the operator reloads the idle pallet in roughly 1 minute. Once machining is done, the pallets are swapped in just 6.5 seconds, keeping non-cutting time to a minimum.

“We make 25,000 of this particular part every year,” continues Mr. Harrington. “The speed of the Haas DT-1 combined with the pallet changer is formidable, and means we rarely have any problems meeting quotas during normal shift hours. The accuracy and repeatability of the setup has eliminated scrap parts.”

National Technologies Inc. occupies a new 80,000-square-foot facility in Oak Creek, WI, where it operates more than 60 Haas CNC machine tools. The company has been in business since 1959.

For particularly high-volume production, the Haas DT-1 can also be married to a dual automatic MIDACO pallet changer.

- Scott Harrington, Marketing Manager, Production
National Technologies Inc., Oak Creek WI

"All American Iron" - CNC Machining Magazine Summer 2012, pages 36 & 37

Read the entire story in GERMAN on Zerspanungstechnik.de (July 2013)