Conventionally this part was manufactured in a multi operation process through vices to achieve the finished part. The part was machined this way as the run size and frequency were not great enough to warrant the expense of multi axis jigs which would have made the job run more efficiently.
Our customer has built this part into another product that they make, this has greatly increased volume and frequency for requirement of this part. This increase has allowed us to make specialized multi axis jigs that have reduced the amount of operations, to one loading. That produces 16 complete hinges in a cycle. Not only has it produced a more consistent part it has resulted in faster cycle times and less machine down time, and the customer is now getting a cheaper, quality made part in a single operation with the added assurance that the part through CMM measurement is correct in its tolerances and so will assemble correctly with its mating parts.
Some comments from our customer’s perspective:
“Based in New Plymouth, Howard Wright Limited (HWL) make a range of high quality medical beds and stretchers for local and export markets and often compete with much larger companies who base their manufacturing in low cost countries. While customers appreciate the quality of HWL products they are still looking for competitive prices so the challenge for us is always - how do we make quality affordable? An annual volume of approximately 2000 finished products is challenging in itself but often lends itself to innovative methods of machining high quality components from billet materials.
Taradale Production Engineers (TPE) are HWL's major supplier of turned and milled components and one example of where this has worked very well is in the production of special billet aluminium hinges for our Transfer Stretchers. With six of these hinges used per stretcher and the hinge being a highly visible component of the stretcher an anodised billet aluminium hinge was the preferred option - though initially the most expensive and some may say impractical to use on a medium volume product. To make this project viable, the team at TPE developed special 4th axis tooling enabling multiple hinges to be machined at once reducing cycle time and most importantly part cost. These hinges are made up of three parts - Aluminium gudgeon, aluminium trunnion and Acetal sleeve of which TPE supply assembled, greased and ready for us to assemble on the final product.
From pre-production prototyping to full production runs, working with the team at TPE is straightforward and professional. TPE make several difficult components and TPE are a highly valued partner in our supply chain."
Howard Wright Limited Research & Development Manager - Anthony Batley