Forest City Gear Expands Machine Capabilities
Forest City Gear has acquired three Haas turning centers to improve the throughput at its gearmaking facility. The company has made this investment, according to president Wendy Young, "...because we needed to better control our throughput and reduce the time to start up jobs. We were experiencing delays from some outside vendors and we saw problems on the horizon from such bottlenecks. Our company is always on the lookout for such conditions, because both our quality and our delivery protocols are vital to our success with current and potential customers in the world market." These new machines will be used in the company's blanking department, headed by Tommy Kalt.
As Kalt explains, "We purchased a Haas ST-10 Turning Center with a magazine bar feeder, 300 PSI high-pressure coolant system and automatic tool presetter. It's a fast, very flexible and very easy-to-use machine tool." This machine is currently operating in the Forest City Gear facility to produce "donuts" from automatically fed bar stock. These donuts are the near net shape blanks used in the gearmaking operations here.
As a custom producer of extremely tight tolerance gears for the most demanding applications, according to company CEO Fred Young, "We need to have optimum control of our operation, at every step. Our company today exports gears to every corner of the world and our rigorous quality standards require a number of intermediate steps, prior to shipment. If the blanks are not available and our production is delayed, the entire operation slows and we simply will not allow that to happen."
Kalt expands on the ST-10. "It has a manual, programmable tailstock for shaft work, another real advantage in our type of shop, where we do a lot of splines in addition to gears. Plus, the Haas CNC system is very easy to learn and to use. It has simple language commands and most operations can be done with the push of a button. I like to say it has an American-made feel to it. The work area is open, the tooling is easy to change and the learning curve was really short for our guys. They were up and making good parts almost immediately." He noted that the performance of the first machine led quickly to the purchase of the two additional Haas ST-20SS Turning Centers with 8" chuck and 24-station hybrid turret, programmable tailstock and high-pressure coolant pump. Kalt also noted the ECO CNC system on the Haas machines, with its minimal lubrication monitoring and auto-power down features, was in sync with the Forest City Gear green initiative program and represented a further value to this purchase. Forest City Gear will take delivery of the two additional Haas ST-20SS Turning Centers in late September.
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