Welcome to the world of small lots, or perhaps to the hellish world of small lots! If you are reading this article, there are two options: you are either experiencing this problem, or you have already understood that this is where you will find the solution!
IT DOESN’T MATTER FOR WHICH REASON YOU CHOSE, KEEP READING…
I am meeting more and more customers who tell my that they are very worried about this crazy market, to the point that they are not sleeping well at night or, even worse, that the current situation is scaring them to death, making them unable to decide on anything. Basically, they are paralysed in the face of all the quick changes taking place right before their eyes.
They are angry at their customers, their banks, their suppliers, and even the government. In short, the current situation is totally clouding their vision, and they are no longer able to reason in a way that is detached from their problems, a vortex that to some of them appears to be increasingly complicated, so much so that they cannot react.
They are standing totally still, remembering the good old days. They start to tell you that in the past customers used to order 50,000 – 100,000 pieces as a minimum order, while today not a day goes by that they find themselves discussing orders of 200, 1,000 or 2,000 pieces. Orders of 10,000 pieces are already a thing of dreams….
They describe their market as a crazy market: it is no longer possible to plan anything, the trend is to order the necessary quantities and to avoid having any stock. It seems that all customers have agreed upon this hellish and absurd belief that is ruining the manufacturing companies since they spend more time tooling the machines than actually using them to produce components.
The atmosphere at the company has also become more tense. Salespeople who fight with the production managers because of deliveries and small lots; each one wanting to teach the other how they should handle things.
The sales manager starts to give advice to the production manager on how the department should be organised. In turn, the production manager replies by telling the salespeople what they should say to the customer when the latter requests small lots with short delivery times. Ultimately, everyone oversteps their boundaries and the stress level between colleagues rises, to the company’s detriment.
The owner of an average-sized company, so frustrated by this market situation and by the fact that his managers are constantly fighting, told me that his “secret dream” is to have a telephone hooked up to a magical machine so that any ordered lot, even with minimum quantities, could be produced without any problems and quickly!
STOP! EVERYONE JUST STOP! THIS IS POSSIBLE. IN FACT, THIS IS A “MISSION POSSIBLE”
If you have been reading my blog at www.ﬂexible-production.com for some time now, and at the same time you are carefully reading all the articles of this blog, you will have immediately understood what I can offer as a solution to this serious problems being experienced today by many manufacturing companies. The answer to this disastrous situation is the MULTICENTER.
WHY THE MULTICENTER?
Because this machine allows you to:
- PRODUCE SMALL AND MEDIUM LOTS
- SWITCH PRODUCTION IN JUST 15 MINUTES
- QUICKLY RESPOND TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
- HAVE AN EXTREMELY LOW EQUIPMENT COST
- TAKE UP LESS SPACE IN THE PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT
- USE LESS ENERGY
- OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS A PROFITABLE SERVICE OF FAST DELIVERY
- EXPAND THE RANGE OF PRODUCTS THAT CAN BE PROCESSED THANKS TO ITS EXCELLENT FLEXIBILITY
- REDUCE WORK IN PROGRESS
I listed above some of the many benefits that you can obtain by using a MULTICENTER; however I want to take it one step forward and also provide you with a list of the main reasons which I have been given by customers who did NOT choose the MULTICENTER.
- I WANT SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT …
- I AM AFRAID TO INVEST AT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT
- I WANT TO WAIT FOR THINGS TO CHANGE, THEN I WILL CERTAINLY TAKE ACTION
- IF IT WEREN’T FOR MY BUSINESS PARTNER, I WOULD CERTAINLY BUY IT!
- I PREFER TO KEEP LIQUIDITY IN THE COMPANY
- FIRST I WANT TO FILL MY TRANSFER MACHINES WITH WORK, THEN I’LL BUY IT
- I’D RATHER WAIT, MAYBE THE PRICE WILL GO DOWN
- I’D RATHER INVEST IN REAL ESTATE
With all due respect, these are the answers I took note of since some of them are quite unsettling. And then people complain that there is a crisis!
For some companies, given the choices they make I find it reasonable, very reasonable, that there is such a crisis. Indeed, they have to suffer and close down because in 2015 a company has to have a strategy (to be clear, I don’t mean to say that the strategy is to purchase the MULTICENTER or any other machine).
Waiting for times to get better, hoping for things to change or for the government to fix everything does not seem to be a great strategy to me since it depends entirely on others: you have no control over the situation!
Unfortunately, I honestly have to say that there are many companies that, because of these ideas, make the biggest mistake ever: they stand completely still, in a world that is changing faster and faster.
IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE COMPANIES, THEN STOP READING SINCE YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE… YOU ARE JUST WASTING TIME!
If, on the contrary, you are willing to explore a new way of dealing with the requests of today’s market, then keep on reading. I will discuss a few real cases, also providing names and surnames, to prove that the endorsements are real and not just made up, as I often visit many websites that talk about many satisfied customers but no one knows who they are (false endorsements).
AT FIRST, THEY DID NOT BELIEVE THAT THE MULTICENTER WAS CAPABLE OF SOLVING THEIR PROBLEMS….BUT I WAS CERTAIN OF IT!
Just like I am certain that, if your company is having a tough time producing small and medium-sized lots, I am the only one that can offer you a solution that no other company can offer in terms of:
- TOOLING SPEED
- MACHINE DELIVERED IN A FEW MONTHS
- PLANT COST
All this thanks to the vast experience in the market and to the decision to mass-produce this machine which, as already mentioned, we are the ONLY company that does this, and we have been for over 12 years! This is a RECORD that no other company holds; others have tried, but the numbers show that they were not successful!
I’ll be honest with you: our MULTICENTER also had its problems at the start of its career, some of them quite serious!
During the first years, we suffered terribly not only due to the high costs of service covered by warranty of the first models, but also in terms of customer dissatisfaction. Having acquired our experience since 1958 on TRANSFER machines, we did not consider the fact that designing a flexible machine could be so complicated.
It’s an entirely different story. The major difference is that in flexible machines like the MULTICENTER, the tool is changed at every cycle, while in the TRANSFER machines it always stays in the spindle. This detail made things quite difficult for us. I remember problems with dropping tools during the change.
The lack of synchronisation and our inexperience in this area had made us doubt the worth of the tool changer, but the same supplier was shipping 600 units a month to another company and they did not have any problem
Fortunately, the NEVER GIVE UP attitude and the personal commitment of my brother Giorgio, who for two years dedicated himself on a daily basis to finding the solution, through tests set up in parallel, paid off.
Other manufacturers that tried to follow in our footprints, seeing the sales we were making with the MULTICENTER, gave up after producing a few machines when faced with problems opting for a turret head with 4 or 6 spindles so that the tool can always stay in the spindle.
This is a makeshift solution that does nothing to improve the machine flexibility, since it is based on old technology. We also produced a head with 8 spindles back in 1989 (at the same time as the fall of Berlin’s wall), but this machine is more similar to a transfer.
The part change forces you in any case to access the work area and manually remove the tools, so good-bye to the 15-minute change! With the MULTICENTER, on the other hand, the tools stay in the magazines and only the clamps need to be changed.
Another problem typical of turret heads are the overall dimensions of the tools next to the one that is working. During the programming phase, one has to be very careful in order to avoid colliding against the equipment, which must be designed in compliance with the collision constraints.
Needless to say, the rigidity of the main spindle with a tool changer is much greater compared to a turret head which, for reasons of space, features smaller and lighter bearings.
Don’t forget that you only have 4 or 6 tools per module, so it will be more difficult to balance the cycle. Moreover, if in the future you need to add more tools, as I have often seen, for de-burring operations not initially planned in the cycle, it’s over before you even start! Today, these individuals claim to have come up with a great idea (already seen in the era of the fall of Berlin’s wall in 1989) and I smile when I hear someone say that the tool change is not the solution because it is not reliable.
Too bad that planet Earth is full of machining centers and of machining center manufacturers that use tool changes, while there are only a few “suckers” that make turret-head machines claiming to hold in their hand the absolute truth, while the others have closed their doors (bankrupt companies) or have changed products.
Perhaps some people, after reading this last paragraph with its not so friendly and elegant tones, think of me as an arrogant and disrespectful person. To these people, I would like to say that, at times, in order to express certain concepts in a clear and transparent manner, one needs to adopt the “straightforward” approach, commonly adopted by everyone while watching a game at a bar with friends.
I am pretty sure that when you’re with your friends at a bar watching a game, you don’t come out with phrases such as: “By Jove, the referee did not award a penalty! What an interesting alternative perspective! Where are your eyes? Are they by chance positioned exactly at the end of your bowels?
YOU GET MY DRIFT, DON’T YOU?
OK, WELL THEN, LET’S GO BACK TO OUR FOUR “SUCKERS”
If you tell me that you are looking for a TRANSFER machine with some element of flexibility then I agree, but you are nevertheless talking about a TRANSFER, and not a flexible multi-center which, perhaps, given your needs might even be the ideal solution, and I can understand that (it all depends on the lot quantities and on how often you need to change the lot).
However, it often happens that this TRANSFER is christened by its manufacturers with the name “multi-center” to deceive potential customers and make them think it is the same thing…in fact, even better (fall of Berlin’s wall in 1989).
I have told you everything, including the problems we had with the MULTICENTER at the start of its production since it is a proven fact that the problems were later solved.
By doing this, I anticipated what the four suckers might say today, now that years have passed, about the MULTICENTER, for the purpose of convincing you that the turret is the better solution and the latest innovation thanks to their research and development (fall of Berlin’s wall in 1989).
All this to say that, if you are confused about which machinery to choose, it is certainly not your fault. This is the result of the great chaos that certain manufacturers are creating by calling a certain type of machines (TRANSFER) with names which are not representative of the product (MULTICENTERS), thus leaving the customers in a state of confusion.
Now that you have all the elements you need to make an evaluation, it is your turn to assume the responsibility and decide to make the first step.
I certainly will not be knocking at your door and inviting myself in for a coffee in order to convince you to examine this possibility at all costs. You have to be the first one to believe that there is at least one possibility for finding a solution. I spent years knocking on the doors of companies that were not willing to listen, all a waste of time.
This is the reason why I no longer make cold sales calls. Instead, I spend my time writing articles for my Blog and I get my feedback:
I am contacted on a weekly basis by people who are looking for solutions and want to seriously analyse the problem of efficiently producing small/medium lots.
DO YOU HAVE THIS NEED AS WELL?
DO YOU ALSO WANT TO DO IT IN A SUCCESSFUL AND PROFITABLE MANNER?
Insert your email below, I will be glad to listen to your problems and evaluate the solutions together, all without any obligation, since the MULTICENTER is not the machine that solves all problems and in this case I will for sure notify it to you!
Expert in Flexible Production