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Open Up to Quick-Change, Modular Workholding

Case Study: Toronto Mold & Die Shop Cuts Set-up Time by 90%

With forty years under their belt, 120 employees, multiple customers with different machining and material demands, and a successful business, the shop turned to Jergens in 2015 to explore options for a better way. A better way to hold the large variety of components that the shop had grown to manufacture for its customers in the mold and die industry. They did, and they did it so well it earned them a reputation in the industry as ‘the aluminum experts’.

The Workholding Challenge

The shop had to build and maintain over 150 different custom fixtures of widely varying configurations. Furthermore, products produced spanned eight different categories, required expertise in CAD, engineering, prototype parts, machining operations including five axis, tooling and the list goes on.

In addition to ordering a range of steel sub plates, fixture plates and numerous clamping components to make the fixtures, the shop also had to machine and assemble them. So, before a single chip hit the floor from a customer part, they had to make their own set ups. They did well, obviously they are a skilled shop, but realized that a better solution had to exist.

Jergens Workholding Solution

By choosing Jergens, and their Zero Point System (ZPS), the shop was able to accomplish three things immediately: refocus on their core business as an expert manufacturer of components within the mold and die industry, secondly, implement a far superior system and lastly, achieve tremendous cost savings.

The ZPS mounting system is a real game-changer for the industry and provides two key advantages – speed and repeatability, less than 0.005mm (0.0002”). The speed part of that equation is that, with ZPS, users can fix, position and clamp all in one step, saving set up time in many cases by as much as 90%. There are many options within the ZPS including units that feature either pneumatic, hydraulic and manual actuation. A newer style even features a clamping module with sensors to provide clamping force feedback. A range of clamping plates, pull studs and mounting styles are also all part of this robust workholding solution.

The Results

For the shop, the biggest realization (economic impact) came from the analysis of the true cost to manufacture and assemble the fixtures, and the incredible reigning-in of set up time – 90% reduction. Prior to the Jergens ZPS solution, the time it took for each set up was ten minutes, and there was an average of thirty setups – that’s five hours per day spent just in setup time. That average time with the change to ZPS went to just one minute, or one-half hour total per day. At a rate of $100 per hour, that’s $450 per day in savings, or $112,500 annually

Tom Reid, Canadian Sales manager for Jergens, who works very closely with the shop, reported, “I’ve seen a lot of positive results, particularly with Drop and Lock (another popular quick-change pallet option) and ZPS, but don’t recall one as dramatic as this in recent years”. Tom continued, “We work closely with the customer to engineer and provide these solutions, and also measure important calculations such as ROI, which in this case was about five weeks”.

The end result for part production was significant and predictable - error reduction, reduced scrap, easy part orientation, and better / more consistent output from the manufacturing floor.