Case Study: Innovative On-Site Machining Saves a Stunning $22K Per Min

Atlas' On-Site machining team is making design changes to a customer's press bay.

by: Tom Dyer

March 30, 2021

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You know the feeling… 

…when you get the word that your vendor says they can’t get the job done when they promised. 

I’m sure this has never happened in your company…right? 


The question is: 

What are we going to do now? 

Well, in this case study, you’re about to learn how calling Atlas Machine & Supply for on-site machining was one of the best decisions they made that day. 

Table of contents:

........................ Background

........................ Challenges

........................ Solution

........................ Results

Background

This $150B automobile manufacturer located in the South Eastern Region-U.S.A makes a variety of cars, trucks, buses, and sports cars. The company sells millions of vehicles all over the world each year. 

At this particular stamping plant, the automobile manufacturer had planned some production downtime to make some engineering design changes to one of their high-speed presses. The manufacturer had hired an on-site machining company to come in and machine the design changes within the planned downtime schedule. 

At the end of the second day into the job, the on-site machining company was not even close to being done with the first out of the six press bays to be machined in this project. Needless to say, they were failing miserably. The on-site machining company had promised to complete the engineering design changes on all six press bays within five days. At this time, they had not even completed rough machining the first press bay. After several discussions, it was determined that there was no way this was going to be done on time. Not even close!   

This is where the question for the automobile manufacturer comes into the equation. What are we going to do now?

Challenges: 

  • Locate another on-site machining company that can get to the automobile manufacturer’s location extremely quickly to review the project needs and required timeline.
  • Ensure the on-site machining company can come up with a rock-solid solution and plan to not only accomplish the task, but to also pick-up where the other on-site machining company left off. This entails redoing the other on-site machining vendors work and still producing a quality result on time.
  • Being able to trust that the chosen on-site machining company completely understands just how critical the machining quality of work to be done is as well as meeting the project deadline from a financial standpoint.     

Solution: 

After contacting several on-site machining companies, the automobile manufacturer chose Atlas Machine to solve these challenges. That same afternoon, Atlas Machine had an on-site machining Engineer at the automobile manufacturer’s location to review the project. Upon reviewing the current condition of the press and all the requirements, the Atlas Machine Engineer consulted with his teammates back at Atlas Machine’s headquarters and gave them the rock-solid solution/plan the automobile manufacturer was looking for to accomplish the task.  

 Atlas Machine immediately went into action on the plan for this project. Right away, the Atlas Engineers began designing a machining fixture and the Atlas Machine Shop began machining the fixture components as the prints were released. Simultaneously, the Atlas On-Site Machining Team began getting all the portable machining equipment programmed and ready to test the set-up on the new fixture. Once the fixture was completed, assembled, and tested, everything was loaded onto an Atlas Machine truck and ready to go to the customer’s location.  

On this particular project, Atlas Machine also had some other unique advantages. Not only did we have an Atlas Engineer go to the customer’s location to collect all the information ahead of time, but we also already had the perfect piece of portable machining equipment on hand to perform the task. A few years earlier, Atlas Machine had custom designed and built a computerized numerical control (CNC) portable milling machine to add to our on-site machining inventory of portable equipment. With all these things combined, Atlas was very ready to take on this project. 

Upon arrival at the automobile manufacturer’s stamping plant the next morning, the Atlas On-Site Machining Team began offloading all the portable machining equipment and reviewing the plan with the customer. The plan was to machine all six of the press bays to the customer’s engineering design change specifications within nine days. This included overhead machining multiple holes through 7-1/2” thick steel material and several holes that were to be machined 3-1/8” in diameter x 2-5/8” deep. These particular holes had a tolerance of 0/+.0012”. Needless to say, the Atlas On-Site Machining Team was confident in successfully completing the job within these machining specifications and on time.

Atlas Machine & Supply Crew Installing a Portable CNC Mill

Once the plan for the project was reviewed, the Atlas On-Site Machining Team began working with the customer’s team to get the new fixture and portable machining equipment installed into the first press bay. Now most of the time there are always some unknowns when you’re planning and performing an on-site machining project. Sometimes things come up once you are on-site such as logistics coordination, equipment set-up challenges, electrical power connection issues, etc. The reality is that in the on-site machining world, those things are just going to happen. Thankfully for Atlas Machine, we have performed hundreds of on-site machining projects in various locations and situations, and all of those experiences make us very capable of handling those “challenges”.  

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After the overhead set-up on the first press bay was completed and verified, the Atlas On-Site Machining Team began redoing the previous vendors work and completing the machining specifications. Throughout this first day on the job, the customer performed constant checks to ensure the Atlas team was making good progress and that the plan was going as promised. The customer’s level of nervousness and stress was very noticeable throughout most of that first day. The anxiety in the air was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Who could blame them? You would probably feel the same way. Right?  

As the Atlas On-Site Machining Team progressed along throughout the next few days on the project, the customer’s nervousness and anxiety seemed to melt away. By the time the Atlas Team wrapped up the machining specifications on the sixth press bay, the automobile manufacturer personnel were extremely happy and showing their gratitude for a job well done. 

Key Results: 

Upon completion of the project, the automobile manufacturer was very pleased with the work performed by the Atlas On-Site Machining Team. The customer reviewed all of the engineering design changes on all six press bays and was very, very pleased with the outcome of the project. The customer noted the high level of accuracy on the machining, the professional communication during the project, the systematic approach in which the plan was followed, and also how safely the Atlas On-Site Machining Team performed their tasks. 

Not only did Atlas Machine exceed the customer’s expectations on the quality of the machining, but also on the on time completion of this project. As you may recall, Atlas Machine had promised to machine all six of the press bays to the customer’s engineering design change specifications within nine days. Well, the entire project was completed in six days! 

Needless to say, the automobile manufacturer was extremely happy in many ways. But think about it from the financial aspect for a moment. In a survey conducted back in 2005, manufacturing executives in the automotive industry said that one minute of downtime costs an average of $22,000 per minute with some saying as high as $50,000 per minute. Since Atlas Machine completed the project three days early, we’re sure that saved the customer a ton of money on this project.  

As I mentioned at the beginning of this case study, calling Atlas Machine & Supply for on-site machining was one of the best decisions this automobile manufacturer made that day. What about your company? Are you in a similar situation with some of your machining vendors? Are they not completing projects on time or with the quality of work that you expected to pay for?  

Whether it’s on-site milling, turning, boring, or welding…Atlas Machine’s On-Site Machining Team has got you covered. 

Give us a call for 24/7 service to speak with one of our on-site machining experts or feel free to click on the button below to complete our Request for Quote Form. We look forward to helping you and your team soon. 

 

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