Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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March 2015—13 require FCG to create a gear from scratch using the customer's part print. For many years, the philosophy at FCG was to manage both value streams using the same shop foor resources. "We were having issues predicting delivery for cut-teeth-only projects," Mr. Lyford says. "With a make-complete job, you produce a gear from raw material to fnished good and can forecast when it goes across certain pieces of equipment. Cut-teeth-only work is more unpredictable, often arriving suddenly and creating a bottleneck." The very nature of the drop-in business, he adds, has always been a challenge. It requires the shop to determine what its capacity will be more than two weeks out. When Mr. Lyford mapped both value streams in terms of revenue, it didn't tell the whole story of what was happening on the shop foor. So he separated them and examined the jobs in terms of hours allocated both by operation and job type. "It became clear through our research that both value streams would beneft from their own designated production paths," Mr. Lyford says. Surprisingly, the research also suggested that despite its lower price tag, cut-teeth-only work played a much larger role on the shop foor than the FCG team originally thought. Assigning Equipment With this information at its disposal, the FCG team took the next step in separating the two types of work, earmarking the best equipment for both, since capability was needed on both sides of the fence. Mr. Lyford assigned all of the machines that had the most turnkey capabilities and allocated them into the cut-teeth-only value stream. "We didn't need some of the more dynamic machine capabilities on the make-complete side," he adds, noting that fexibility and time management became the focal point. "If the guy up the street is trying to do a spline that has a tooth milled out or a unique profle or a crown—something he can't do—we need to be able to absorb that business. That's part of the selling point. By separating the equipment, we can justify which of our capabilities are best suited for the different jobs." Almost all of FCG's equipment is less than 10 years old, so Mr. Lyford had the luxury of selecting specifc advanced hobbing, shaping and grinding machines for each job type. Two of FCG's shaping machines, for example, were separated into make-complete and cut-teeth-only work. The company's Gleason GP300 S features a backlash-free, direct-drive mechanical shaping head and offers a diverse range of capabilities including back-cutting, front-cutting and face gear attachments, so according to Mr. Lyford, it's a great ft for cut-teeth projects. Machine tools on the FCG shop foor have been designated for each value stream, making it easier to forecast what equip- ment will be available for the two types of custom gear work.

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