All posts by Anthony Romero

Operational Excellence at Prospect Machine Products

“An essential key to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace”

By Anthony Romero – August 12, 2019

Sales and Applications Engineering Manager

Prospect Machine Products had the unique opportunity to receive black belt Six Sigma training by a customer with a strong lean manufacturing know-how. In that training, several chosen suppliers from other industries were also certified.

PMP’s Director of Quality Dave Boiano became a Black Belt and has since implemented several continuous improvement initiatives:

  • Gemba daily walks to discuss current manufacturing activities, production planning, and machine Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) – See PMP’s blog May 2019
  • Manufacturing Key Process Indicators (KPIs) that are reviewed monthly by the management team (sales, quality, production planning, and purchasing)
  • Several Kaizen events to eliminate waste and improve efficiency
  • Leadership’s daily involvement on all phases of production
  • Employee participation in lean manufacturing

Our company’s focus on lean and continuous improvement manufacturing has earned us an excellent reputation among our competitors, both in the U.S. and abroad. Our pricing is very competitive based on feedback from established customers and prospects. However, PMP’s quality and on-time delivery are also world-class, achieving high ratings in the market.

And when it comes to new projects, our Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) method is another way we ensure customer satisfaction. This process calls for the involvement of toolmakers, quality personnel, manufacturing engineering, production planning, and sales during the launch phase of any new part or product. That involvement helps identify and remove roadblocks that might otherwise impede a project down the road.

A commitment to safety and willingness to absorb the costs associated with it also figure into operational excellence for multiple reasons. First and foremost, nobody wants see employees get injured at work. Plus, no company wants to be faced with the staffing and productivity challenges that arise when a team member is unable to work. That’s why safety is a high priority at PMP. Similarly, environmental compliance is important. Consequently, we have maintenance and engineering personnel who are tasked with ensuring that we are meeting all applicable guidelines in our operations.  

Technical support also plays a role in operational excellence. It must be provided in a timely manner and by individuals who understand both the company’s capabilities and the needs of its clients. This is especially important on new projects but also applies to ongoing projects. We take all the steps necessary to ensure our technical support is unmatched in the industry.

Other Elements of Operational Excellence

In addition to all of the internal factors that support operational excellence, there are external factors that come into play as well. For example, supply chain management is critical. It requires strong relationships with raw material and service providers who share our commitment to quality and on-time delivery, as their efforts affect our customer satisfaction as well

Ultimately, achieving operational excellence is no easy task. It involves every aspect of running a manufacturing business and requires a significant investment of time, effort, and focus. However, we are committed to it and that commitment has proven to be the core of our success at Prospect Machine Products.

Have a deep draw metal stamping project where precision, quality, and on-time delivery are crucial? Contact us! Email info@pmpdeepdraw.com or call 203-758-4448 X25 for sales and engineering

Deep Draw Components in Sealing Technologies

By Richard Laurenzi (President) and Anthony Romero (Sales and Application Engineering Manager) –Prospect Machine Products – July 22, 2019Deep drawn mechanical sealing components

Deep drawn mechanical sealing components is a rapidly growing domestic and international market for us at Prospect Machine Products. PMP customers benefit from our broad deep draw tooling selection, our deep drawing metal forming progression, and our CMM metrology, which have all been keys to our expansion in this market.

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What’s more, our collaborations with customers in the European Union and Asia have led to significant U.S. localization of deep draw sealing components and product lines for the automotive, appliance, outdoor power equipment markets, and more applications.

Through deep drawing, we’re able to add features to sealing components that increase the capability of metal inserts in all forms of seals. Transfer press capabilities that allow us to add features such as small holes, lips, rollovers, dimples, and tapers minimize our customers’ costs and enhance bonding and adhesion of the seal to the insert.

Sealing Applications

Our deep drawn metal stampings for seals can be found in:deep drawn metal stampings for seals

  • Rotational shaft oil seals in gas-powered engines and transmissions
  • Valve stem seals for liquid propane engines
  • Dust and grease seals in tie rod ends, ball joints, and other automotive suspension applications
  • Oil and water pressure seals
  • Oil seals for name-brand home appliances

Deep Draw & Seals – Special Requirements

Deep draw sealing components require precision fits to be suitable for very rugged environments. To that end, we provide the ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC) heat-treatment process to our customers as an essential value-added service performed by skilled and experienced experts. We also provide real-time SPC data collection, cradle-to-grave traceability, and enhanced capabilities to view and precisely measure very tight dimensions and rollovers without a gap on very small formed parts.

A very critical requirement on some of these seals is the no-gap specification in the roll over of the lip. Otherwise the insert is considered faulty due to the engineering design. This is where the know-how of the toolmakers and engineers becomes paramount, since especial deep draw tool designs are needed. Additionally, the lots are sampled during the production by sectioning several parts and visually ensuring that there is no gap in the rollover under high magnification.

Have a deep draw metal stamping project for a sealing application where precision, quality, and on-time delivery are crucial? Email info@pmpdeepdraw.com or call 203-758-4448 X25 for sales and engineering.

 

Tools for Deep Draw Metal Stamping – Important Facts

Why Tool Design and Maintenance are Critical in Deep Draw Metal Stamping

By Anthony Romero – Sales and Application Engineering Manager

The design of deep draw tooling is based on engineering data, simulation, and external software modified with internal concepts. Some of the items that are considered are work piece material properties, draw reduction ratios, clearances, press speeds, blank holder pressure, and others.

However, there is metal-forming expertise that is involved as well. This is where our toolmakers interact with the assigned engineer to optimize the tooling based on historical data and expert knowledge. As mentioned in our blog on the “importance of mentorship” in our industry, it is crucial for the experienced toolmaker (i.e., the metal-forming expert) to pass their insights on to apprentices in the team. (Check out “The Experts Among Us” by Peter Ulintz in MetalForming magazine, March 2017.)

deep draw tooling

Tool set: punches, dies and fingers needed for deep drawn process.

The Many Tooling Considerations in Deep Draw Manufacturing

tools for deep draw stamping

Dave Boiano – Mfg. Eng / QA Director designing tools needed for the deep drawn process

We take many considerations into account regarding the tooling for our deep drawing applications and projects. For example, the number of stations is based on the draw and complexity of the part. The photo above shows a process that requires 10 stations and the respective punch and die, as well as the fingers that are required to transport the work piece from one station to the other.

Another variable to be considered is the estimated production volume. The material chosen for some of the punches and dies will depend on this volume and the actual load calculated during the deep draw operation. Special coatings or tool steels might also come into play (carbide coatings, A2, or M2 material), depending on the potential volume and high loading.

Taking Responsibility for Tooling

It is important to keep in mind that a reputable deep draw metal stamper like Prospect Machine Products (PMP) assumes all liability for the tooling for the service life of the work piece – potentially several years. This is a critical concept, since tooling costs can be significant. But with PMP, it is a one-time investment.

Offshore competitors understand this barrier to entry, so they amortize the tooling cost on the piece price to soften the initial financial impact. PMP doesn’t use this somewhat deceptive tactic, since the customer might end up paying several times the initial tooling cost when the project or the production part lasts several years.

Tooling Forensics Extends Tool Life

Another place where the toolmaker’s skill and experience are valuable to the customer is in what is referred to as “tooling forensics.” PMP’s toolmakers inspect all tooling for irregular wear, chipping, or other early degradation after the initial runs and setups.

Then, light design modifications and lubrication changes are made to increase the life of the tooling. This important step has a positive impact in keeping lead times short and helping to ensure on-time delivery (OTD).

Have a deep draw metal stamping project where precision, quality, and on-time delivery are crucial? Email info@pmpdeepdraw.com or call 203-758-4448 X25 for sales and engineering.

 

 

Buying low priced bearing components – “A practice that will come back to haunt you”

The Precision and Quality of Bearing Components are Critical Characteristics Regardless of the Application.

By Anthony Romero – Sales and Applications Engineering Manager

 

George Rusiecki of the former Torrington Co. described drawn-cup needle roller bearings (NRB) this way:

“For ease of handling and installation, drawn-cup needle roller bearings do as well as loose rollers but in a unitized assembly. The outer shell, which serves as the outer raceway, is accurately drawn from low-carbon strip steel and case hardened. No subsequent machining is needed, making this bearing economical. The turned-in lips of the cup provide mechanical retention of a full complement of trunnion-end needle rollers. Also, these lips act as close-fitting shields and help retain lubricant and exclude foreign matter.

Full-complement drawn-cup needle bearing load ratings equal or exceed those of ball and roller bearings of comparable OD. Thin cross sections allow larger shaft diameters on which the bearings operate directly. The large number of contact lines formed by the loaded rollers suits this type well for static, slow rotating, or oscillating conditions. Drawn-cup caged bearings share many characteristics with their full-complement counterparts, such as being well suited for use in housings of low hardness. Though they have less load capacity than full-complement bearings, they are better suited for high speed and shaft misalignment or load deflection.” [1]

The Use of Deep Drawn Bearing Components

The quality and precision of drawn-cup needle roller bearings are critically important, especially when they are used in automotive deep draw applications such as engines, pulley supports, gear pumps, planetary gears, or transmissions. Paying less for lower-cost bearings can seem like a good cost-saving measure. However, when you consider the labor costs charged by auto mechanics and dealerships to replace NRBs, those savings quickly disappear.

In industrial uses, faulty NRBs can affect the reliability of equipment and cause machine downtime and production losses. Additionally, it is easy to imagine the negative impact on customer loyalty when there is a premature bearing failure in consumer goods like washing machines, lawn mowers, snow throwers, and similar products.

Unfortunately, some offshore factories frequently leverage a higher quantity to make a profit when manufacturing these bearings. With rising material and labor costs in the global market, these providers keep prices low by using cheaper materials, performing low-precision manufacturing, and doing a poor job of inspecting finished parts.

As explained in our blog titled “The importance of raw material quality in the deep draw metal process” defects in materials adversely impact the service life of parts. In the case of NRBs, using low-quality materials affects the load stresses on the raceway. Since any tears, porosity, or inclusions in the raw material can hinder the integrity of the bearing causing a premature failure.

PMP QA Manager inspecting drawn cups

The uniformity of the wall thickness on the drawn cup is another characteristic that plays an important role in maintaining a uniform loading profile on the bearing. At Prospect Machine Products, special inspection procedures are used to ensure that this characteristic is maintained within print specifications.

The same is true of the taper of the cup, since it is also involved in the loading of the rollers. Additionally, the surface finish of the actual internal raceway is crucial to the life expectancy of the bearing due to the thin oil film thickness between the raceway and needle rollers during operation.

Ultimately, there are many characteristics of drawn-cup needle roller bearings that can lead to premature failure when inadequate materials, forming processes, or inspection procedures are used. Buying low-priced bearing components can definitely come back to haunt you!

Ask Us About Your Bearing Project

Have a bearing project where precision, quality, and on-time delivery are crucial? Contact us! Email info@pmpdeepdraw.com or call 203-758-4448 X25 for sales and engineering.

 

 

[1] Machine Design – Needle roller bearings: what they are; where they go; why you may need them.  George Rusiecki of the Torrington Co. | Jun 01, 2000

 

How Prospect Machine Products Maintains High OEE and Customer Satisfaction

Overall Equipment Effectiveness – OEE for Deep Draw Stamping

By Anthony Romero – Sales and Applications Engineer Manager.

The universal equation for success in manufacturing, regardless of the product, business model, market segment, or geographical location, is:

(A) x (P) x (Q) = OEE

Where (A) = Availability

             (P) = Performance

             (Q) = Quality

Availability: A high score of a 100 percent means that the manufacturing process (including equipment, gauges, and personnel) is always operating according to the planned production or scheduled time.

Performance: This is where our team optimizes the cycle time. A performance figure of 100 percent means that the press is running as fast as possible and that there are only negligible brief stops for tool maintenance.

Quality: A high score of 100 percent here means that only parts that meet specifications are manufactured. No defective parts are produced and no time-consuming rework is required.

deep drawn metal OEEFocusing on OEE at All Levels

The production team at Prospect Machine Products (PMP) executes a number of daily and weekly tasks to continually improve on our OEE. However, this isn’t strictly a production issue. Our management team meets monthly to ensure that all parameters are positively impacting OEE and we are moving toward our goal of 100 percent for every job.

Steps PMP Takes to Maximize OEE

Preventive maintenance is one of the key parameters monitored by our production team, since an unplanned equipment breakdown can adversely affect delivery times and generate production losses. We also closely monitor equipment health and condition to ensure we achieve the highest possible productivity rates. To support a smooth “running” mode, we carefully train our personnel and ensure the availability of all the tools and gauges necessary for each job.

Our toolmakers also set the press to the highest possible speed (strokes/min) to get the maximum achievable output for our deep drawn metal stampings. In addition, the selection of tools, materials and designs for a job are made with a focus on minimizing the number of stops for deep draw tool maintenance. All of these efforts come together to produce a high first pass yield, which is another key performance indicator (KPIs) we measure.

(Above: PMP’s president Richard Laurenzi going over production KPI’s that impact OEE)

Careful Process Assessment from Start to Finish

To confirm that the steps we take on the front end to ensure high OEE are effective, production and quality assurance personnel monitor defective PPM (parts per million) and scrap rates for all products and machines. They then report any instance where production issues exceed the limits we have set so that a root cause investigation can be conducted and corrective action/preventative action (CAPA) can be initiated.

Top-of-the-Line Deep Drawn Metal Services

All these efforts are made to ensure that we meet customer needs and avoid any interruptions in scheduled deliveries. Ultimately, our OEE initiatives produce a positive impact on on-time delivery and manufacturing costs.

Have a project where the timeliness, quality, and affordability of components is critical?  We’re happy to talk with you about how PMP monitors OEE to deliver the parts you need and the value you want.

Contact us online, email: Info@pmpdeepdraw.com, or call Tony Romero at 203-758-4448 X25