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installation to include additional machine tools, more storage, and even nonmachining operations like inspection. Some systems have 10 or more machining centers and dozens of pallet shelves stacked in three levels. Thus a linear pallet system differs


from a pallet pool system, the latter of which can be thought of as an “unintel- ligent extension of the machine,” as Bob Baldizzi, specialist for systems and large machines, Doosan Machine Tools America, (Pine Brook, NJ) explained. “In a pallet pool system, additional software on the machine itself runs the system. You are typically limited to telling the software what program is associated with what pallet in the pool and the sequence that you want those pallets to go through the machine. That’s it. There’s no production scheduling. No data management. No reporting. It’s just a larger pallet system extension to the machine.” Pallet pool systems are usually circular arrange- ments, though they can be linear, adding to possible confusion. “The pallet pool systems I’ve seen typically have the same part on all fi ve or six pallets,” said David Suica, president, Fastems LLC (West Chester, OH). “If you want to change parts, you generally have to change tooling inside the machine, the part program, and any offsets needed for each part. Pallet pools are fi ne for a series of the same part. But if you want to make just what you need in the quantities you can sell, a linear pallet system is generally a better way of going.”


Spindle Utilization Over 90% Situations differ, but it seems no machine shop reaches over 50–60% spindle utilization without an FMS, while anyone using one properly will see rates of 90% or more. And in some cases the disparity is even greater. Hansel


said “spindle utilization is probably 30% or less in most cases if they have a mix of machines that are being manually fed. It’s just impossible to do workpiece changeovers, fi xture changeovers, and scheduling a lot of resources effi ciently


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HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL MACHINING CENTERS, BRIDGE AND GANTRY MILLS, GRINDING MACHINES, TURNING CENTERS, AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS


August 2017 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 69


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