GE Forge & Tool Thriving with MIDACO's Productivity Solutions

In the bustling world of manufacturing, staying ahead of demand while maintaining quality is a perpetual challenge. For GE Forge & Tool, a third-generation family-owned American company based in Grover Beach, California, the demand for their renowned "hoof nippers" farrier tools was skyrocketing. To meet this surge, they turned to MIDACO's innovative productivity boosting solutions, revolutionizing their machining process and multiplying their output.

Josh Garner, of GE Forge & Tool, shared their transformative journey with MIDACO's Automatic Pallet Changer with Trunnion System and Manual Pallet Changer. By integrating these system into their Haas Vertical Machining Centers, GE Forge & Tool witnessed an astonishing fourfold increase in part output. This leap in productivity enabled them to seamlessly keep pace with escalating customer demands, solidifying their position as the go-to provider for nipper tools among professional farriers.

Maximizing Efficiency: The Role of MIDACO Automation

The key to this remarkable efficiency lies in MIDACO's cutting-edge technology. The Automatic Pallet Changer allows the operator to load and unload parts on the shuttle while the spindle is cutting. The additional Trunnion System, comprising two platforms mounted on the pallet changer shuttle, facilitates 4-axis machining on a vertical machining center with unparalleled precision and without needing cable management. As the VMC tirelessly operates, the pallets with trunnion transfer automatically in between cycles, minimizing spindle idle time and maximizing throughput. Only one rotary indexer is needed inside the VMC to operate both trunnions. With a repeatability of +/- 0.0001" (0.0025mm), GE Forge & Tool experienced a seamless transition from machining four parts to an impressive twelve per run with 4-axis capability on their VMC.

Josh Garner elaborated on the impact of this automation:

"By adding this dual trunnion table setup, we've gone from machining four parts to twelve on just one pallet alone, and don't forget we have two pallets. We're keeping up with demand and having MIDACO is a huge help in this process."

Streamlined Operations: Beyond the Numbers

The benefits extend beyond mere numbers. With the MIDACO Automatic Pallet Changer with Trunnion System in place, GE Forge & Tool now supports 60-80% of their workload with this single station, streamlining their operations and reducing manual intervention. The efficiency gains are evident in every aspect of production – from faster machining to minimal changeover time and reduced hands-on involvement. What initially seemed like a tripling of output is, in fact, a nearly quadrupled throughput due to the enhanced process efficiency facilitated by MIDACO's automation.

- More parts on the table

- Less changeover time

- Less hands on the part

- Faster machining

MIDACO's support has been invaluable throughout this journey, emphasizing the importance of multiple pallets in optimizing spindle time. As one pallet is in use, the alternate pallet is seamlessly loaded and unloaded, ensuring continuous operation and minimal downtime. Josh Garner summarized their experience succinctly:
"The machining itself is faster, and by adding more parts to a run there is less changeover time, less hands on the parts and as a result making more parts overall after calculating the cycle time. Going from 4-12 parts may seem like it's tripling… by not having the changeover, we're nearly quadrupling the process."

Maximizing Space with a Manual Pallet Changer

In a strategic move aimed at optimizing their tight machine shop space, GE Forge & Tool also integrated MIDACO Manual Pallet Changers into their HAAS VMC setups. The decision to adopt this innovative solution was driven by its space-saving design, which proved ideal for their compact workshop layout.

"Space determines a lot of it (regarding the decision to add Manual Pallet Changers) and just the setup itself on the tools that we need, but space is definitely a factor… We have shoehorned in as much as we possibly can at this time."

At the heart of this system lies a shuttle positioned conveniently in front of the vertical machining center doors, minimizing the footprint required. Like the Automatic Pallet Changer, this manual system also features two durable aluminum pallets, allowing operators to pre-load a full table of work holding and parts onto each pallet outside of the machining center, all while the spindle is in action. With seamless manual sliding of each pallet onto the MIDACO cast iron receiver mounted directly on the VMC table, downtime is effectively eradicated, ensuring continuous machining operations.

The versatility of the Manual Pallet Changer is evident in its range of XY sizes, spanning from 16" x 14" (406mm x 355mm) to 60" x 25" (1524mm x 635mm), with a hefty 1,000lb (454kg) capacity per pallet. This integration not only optimizes workflow efficiency but also underscores GE Forge & Tool's commitment to leveraging cutting-edge solutions to enhance productivity in their operations.

A New Era of Productivity: The Game-Changing Solution

MIDACO's Automatic Pallet Changer with Trunnion System and front loading Manual Pallet Changer have proven to be game-changers for GE Forge & Tool, propelling them into a new era of productivity and efficiency. With these innovative solutions, they have not only met but exceeded the demands of a rapidly growing market, cementing their reputation as pioneers in the industry.

L-R: Ana Fernanda-Melendez & Tony Gunn of MTD CNC, Josh Garner of GE Forge & Tool,  Mike Munao of Midaco, and Merten Broekaart of Kerckhaert Royal Horseshoe Factory Atanding beside Midaco Automatic Pallet Changer at GR Forge & Tool

For those seeking to unlock the full potential of their machining centers, MIDACO offers a pathway to unparalleled productivity and profitability. Contact MIDACO today to explore how automation can transform your manufacturing processes.

For more information

call (855) 593-5668

Video & image credits:
GE Forge & Tool
MTD CNC North America