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How CAM Innovation’s automatic undercutters drive tiered suppliers

-A case-study and guide for the automating motor repair center-

Automated applications in manufacturing are not only speeding up critical processes in design, production, and delivery, they are adding more jobs to the sector than any other time in the industry’s history.

Brian Kuney, a VP at the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and consultant in the global supply lines of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BMW, and Volvo, said “By 2025, the World Economic Forum predicts technology will create at least 12 million more jobs than it eliminates.”

“Companies of any industry must look to automate their processes to meet customer demand,” he continued.  “The advantages of automation will increase production rates, improve quality and safety, while better managing raw material and the supply chain.”

One common misconception about automation is that it is only useful in high production manufacturing factories but not very useful in smaller job shops that work on a project basis to make or repair items. In fact, forward thinking repair centers use automation all of the time – CNC machine tools, welding robots, grinding machines, painting arms and so on. Owners used to  worry that the time to set-up a machine for small batch production  will take too long or that they will need trained specialists to get the most out of an automated machine.

However, this is no longer the case. Control systems that drive automated machines have continuously dropped in price over the last 30 years while becoming very easy to use. At the same time the modern workforce has become more adept  at and comfortable with  modern interfaces. Anyone that can use a phone can operate most of the entry level automatic machines used in a small batch repair center.

What will Automation do to the workforce?

Data compiled by the World Economic Forum shows ‘Automation’ will:

  • Eliminate repetitive and sometimes dangerous tasks like data entry and assembly line manufacturing, allowing workers to focus on higher-value tasks that often require interpersonal interactions.
  • Demand half of all workers in the next five years are re-skilled for changing and new jobs.

What can Automation do for YOUR company?

Growing a motor repair center or Moving up the manufacturing supply chain and doing business with the large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) depends not only on the machining capabilities and workflow standards of the prospective supplier, but especially in today’s business climate  on the timeliness of the delivered service or product together with a high level of consistent quality.  

From bio to food manufacturing, the efficiency in which quality products move from design to market can make or break a company’s position along the supply line. The same is true in the service industry where the companies that can return a high-level product or service faster than the competition will grow to leadership positions.

Today, the application of automated solutions is connecting the industries and pushing efficiency standards higher across the board, while the development of new products and parts is propelling the repair job shops into new, more profitable markets.

CAM Innovation’s automated solutions: What are they?

Whether you’re providing large or small armatures for suppliers in the manufacturing sector, or large OEMs in thetransportation, miningand Aerospace industries, CAM Innovation’s line of undercutters are not only automatic and reliable; they are necessary for increasing revenue and a better bottom line .

CAM Innovation: The Undercutters

  1. Alongside their customers, CAM Innovation designed the MDU Automatic Undercutter to build or repair large armatures  more efficiently for railroads, mining companies, and electrical equipment manufacturers.
  • The FMU Automatic Undercutter is ideal for repair motor centers because it can be adapted to fit any lathe. This brings reliable automation to the repair center floor. Designed specifically for armature centers, the FMU is rugged, easy to set-up and understandable to quickly learn

The machines pay for themselves by automating hand work and freeing skilled people to work on high revenue jobs. In most cases the monthly increased revenue to the shop covers the cost of the machine.

Testimonials: What are customers saying?

In-depth interview with Chris Ellis, Vice President Operations – Huntingdon Electric Motor

WHY invest into automation?

“It has been tough for companies all over the country to find or retain labor over the last couple of years, and for a company like us, in the middle of the countryside, the labor pool for people with the appropriate skill sets or aptitudes is much smaller and the challenges more acute.”

WHAT else?

“In addition, the manual processes are often nuanced and require a lot of practice, patience, persistence, muscle memory, and time-served to repeatedly create a reliable repair or product of consistent quality.”

Automating = Bigger Bottom-Line

“Automation gives us back high value, shop floor labor hours which in turn sees more product shipped, more inventory on the shelf and more invoices created.”

Who should I hire?

“With younger people being far more familiar, practiced and less fearful in their interactions with human interfaces, I can quickly train and create a machine operator for an automation solution for a process that previously required a seasoned, skillful veteran.”

“Automated solutions for a shop floor process should be more than what the machine can earn you, but also the time it allows shop floor employees to complete other projects in parallel to increase revenues and lower lead times.”

Why CAM Innovation undercutters?

“Our previous undercutter was an European made machine. When we purchased it 25 years ago, it included a domestic support network, and when that support network became defunct, dealing directly with the company became challenging.”

Additionally, “The six-hour time difference made it tough to carry out an email conversation and there were challenges to troubleshooting on the phone. Meanwhile, any quote for repair required all the costs of travel, hotels, and car hire for a technician to come from Europe . Also, all replacement parts had to be sourced from Europe, so the undercutter could be down for days if we couldn’t come up with a fix.”

“CAM Innovation is a local company with 100 year history and the same approach to business as us. They are a well-led and motivated workforce that have a lot of pride in the work they do and the solutions they provide.”

“We are only about 2.5 hours’ drive from each other, so I go and spend time with them to develop the next machine we buy. They also visit us in a support capacity. They believe in working with their customers to provide an enduring process solution, and since they are in the same time zone, conversations by phone or email can be far more fluid.”

But what about the machines?

“CAM Innovation’s machines are well built around traditional strengths and heavy metal, and with innovative controls and progressive interfaces.”

“The set up and operation of the undercutter is so straightforward that it can be learned by employees from outside of the armature department and even outside of our Mill Motor Business Unit.”

“We can train employees from the Power Equipment, Belt Drive Generators or even Weld Equipment Repair Business Units, so that if we need to apply a surge to Mill Motors or Armature repairs/ production, then we can pull from different areas of the shop.”

“The other undercutter was so complicated that the best we could do was pull employees from the same department, which just moved the bottleneck and did nothing to improve deliveries of those jobs or increase revenues.”

Quick-hit Q and A with Paul Gullickson, former COO – L&S Electric

Innovate and Automate: Get a leg up!

“We are always looking for opportunities to have a leg-up on competition while also ensuring we do not fall behind technically, whether it is a CNC machine or undercutter.”

Bottom-line: “CAMs automatic undercutters grew our rail business.”

“Without CAM Innovation’s automated solutions and the subsequent increases in production capacity, we could not have sold the volume of armatures we have. The undercutters immediately impacted the bottom-line.”

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