The office and the shop floor. That was the only two areas we had until August of 2018. We added a Quality Control room (QC) and a Programming room doubling the amount of rooms we had but using the same amount of space. This remodel, along with the purchase of a Zeiss Micura CMM and making a custom job tracking software, has allowed us to take precision and quality to the next level in the quick turn micro machining world.
Before the remodel, programmers used computers on the shop floor. Measuring equipment like calipers, micrometers, and gauges were kept in toolboxes and various other places on the shop floor.
We had a paper traveler that was for tracking jobs, that each person was to fill out as the job progressed. As you can imagine though these travelers would get lost, ruined, or destroyed in many various ways.
To top it all off, we have our air compressor on the back of the shop wall, which makes it very difficult to hear. Programmers had trouble focusing on the computer, and communicating with each other about projects was difficult. Somehow, we managed to consistently make quality, precise, parts on quick turnarounds, but knew there were better ways. We realized as a precision focused machine shop that we needed to optimize speed, growth, and efficiency, without losing quality and precision.
First, we purge! No, not like the hit movies, but we do get rid of a lot of stuff. We sold our least used machine, went through all of our storage areas, and resituated machines, toolboxes, and shelves. This left us plenty of room in the shop, and gave us enough space for two more rooms. By walling off a section of the shop floor we made room for the QC and programming room without losing any amount of production capabilities on the floor. It’s crazy how much a little spring cleaning can do!
The programming room has three computers for our programmers and is much quieter and a lot cleaner than before. Whether we need to discuss strategies or talk with an engineer the programming room is the perfect place!
Precision and Quality
The QC room now has two computers, one for the Zeiss Micura Cmm and one for the Micro-Vu Cmm. It also is where we now store most of our measuring equipment. The QC room is temperature controlled, specifically for the Zeiss, (which I will go over in a future blog post) but also helps us keep our other measuring equipment calibrated longer. It also allows us to do in-house calibration saving us time and money. There is a “sticky mat” right when you walk in to help keep dirt out and preserve the integrity of the equipment.
The Workflow has seen a vast improvement. The “Dash” short for dashboard, which is what we nicknamed our job tracking software, does everything from quoting to shipping. It is a web-based app so each employee can access it from any computer in the shop. The best part, no paper! It automatically saves it as you input information. In addition, we purchased tablets so that each person can input and access information on the go. Information is relayed seamlessly from Programmers, to operators, and to office personnel through the Dash.
Now our system has structure, organization, flow, and best of all no wasted spaces! It goes from the office to the programming room, then shop floor to the QC room, then QC room back to the office to be shipped. Each person filling out the appropriate section of the traveler on the dash. While having the tools and ability to focus on their designated tasks at each step.
It is amazing to see how much the remodel has helped organization and workflow structure. Having separate rooms for QC and Programming, plus the Dash, has eliminated wasted time and money. Machine Craft NW is in the perfect spot to grow and move forward. Go check Out our remodel on our website using the virtual tour here!