Aurora Technologies , Inc. (ATI) makes it a priority to keep our equipment and technology up to date to ensure our competitiveness within the custom fabrication industry. ATI has been rigorously evaluating all of our manufacturing processes and looking for areas where efficiency improvements are available, from our ERP system, to our fixtures, tooling, and especially to our machinery. Because the defense and medical industries are always rapidly evolving and changing, ATI is alert to keep pace with advancements.
It’s About the Precision
In order to meet customers’ tight tolerance requirements, ATI has recently added two Mazak VC500-5X (5-axis) milling machines to our fleet of equipment. These machines are built to hold some of the tightest tolerances that can possibly be achieved.
Colin Schroeder, Engineering Manager at Aurora Technologies, says “When we first acquired these machines, it was a bit of a learning curve for everyone in the shop. But after a short time, we started to utilize them to their fullest potential. It’s pretty amazing to see the complexity of parts these machines are able to produce while holding some of the tightest tolerances imaginable. It’s really been a game changer for us.”
It’s About Throughput Gained
Before the addition of the 5-axis milling machines, some ATI manufacturing processes took a substantial amount of time if multiple operations needed to take place on a single part. Now Aurora is able to complete parts in one operation, which increases the accuracy of the part and – most importantly – increases the efficiency of daily jobs. “Since we have installed the 5-axis equipment, they are constantly booked with jobs. There’s always a job that can be run faster or more efficiently using these machines. It’s hard to imagine how we could continue to keep up with our customers without having these machines on our shop floor. The throughput we’ve gained from the machines has paid off quicker than we could have imagined,” Schroeder says.
It’s About Cutting Costs
Equipment isn’t the only improvement that helps drive Aurora’s lean business model. Aurora Technology, Inc. has also invested in fixturing inventory. Aurora’s engineering team designed and manufactured our own machine sub-plate for the Mazak machines. These special sub-plates are installed in each of the 5-axis milling machines, which allows operators to quickly set up 16 different configurations within minutes. Vises and fixtures can be bolted into place on the sub-plate with the repeatability of 0.0003″ each time. This means there is no need for indicating vises or fixtures.
“Determining the best method of set up changes was a challenge says Schroeder, “We first designed a fairly simple idea to see what we liked and disliked about it, then made changes along the way. We’re always looking for another way to increase the speed of job changes and fixture set ups. Since the first sub-plate model, we have revised the design three different times, each becoming more robust and flexible for our daily workload.
“You have to look at machine set ups like throwing away money. We always want the milling machines to be running. Anything we can do to minimize machine downtime is important for our business model.”
Call Aurora Technoloiges, Inc. to speak with one of our experienced custom fabrication specialists about your needs! Or visit our Machined Parts web page for more information about ATI’s advanced machining capabilities!