Automation has revolutionized manufacturing, empowering CNC machine shops to maximize efficiency and productivity in ways that translate to tangible benefits for customers: accurate, consistent, and repeatable parts; lower costs; and shorter lead times.
Wagner Machine was quick to adopt automation, and we haven’t looked back since. Whenever we receive a quote request, we ask ourselves: “Can we leverage automation to improve this job?” More often than not, the answer is yes. Our customers never pay an up front charge for automation. It is used seamlessly throughout our manufacturing processes to provide cost savings and consistency whenever possible.
Here’s how automation became the new normal at our CNC machine shop.
The Beginning: Automated Lathes
Wagner’s automation journey began in the early 90’s when we first automated our single spindle lathes to produce small-diameter turned parts. In the late 90’s we started adding sub spindle machines to finish parts in a single op, and in the early 2000’s we began investing in Swiss screw machines with bar loaders.
Fast-forward to today, and we can say that over 75% of our lathes have automatic bar loaders and sub spindles, and most have live tooling with full milling capabilities. Capacity ranges from Swiss screw machines that accommodate diameters of 1.25” and smaller up to our newest lathes, which have 2.625” diameter bar capacity.
Leveling Up: Automated Mills
Next up was automating our mills, which is notably more complicated than automating lathes. In 2015, we acquired a used Fanuc robot from a friend and spent the whole year learning how to automate a 5-axis mill.
Within the next year, we bought a robot cell for another 5-axis mill in our CNC machine shop—and we were still just getting started. We decided to standardize around our own custom built robot cells, and that is when our mill automation really took off. Today we have five robotically loaded, high-speed 5-axis mills, one pallet loaded 5-axis mill, and two robotically loaded 3-axis mills. These high-speed and high-accuracy machines are ideal for the small parts with small and complex features that our customers require.
For those keeping count, that brings us to eight automated mills (six 5-axis and two 3-axis).
We have always machined tight tolerance parts, and regularly hold feature tolerances in the range of .0005” as needed. Our recent purchase of a Matsuura MAM72-35V machining center takes our ability to machine complex parts to an even higher level with positioning accuracy of less than .0001” over the full travel of the machine.
The Right Automation for a Variety of Jobs
If you have a job that can benefit from automation in any way, chances are Wagner Machine has the right solution to make it happen. You don’t have to do anything special to request it, we will apply it wherever possible to improve quality and reduce lead times and prices.
Need turned parts from .030” in diameter up to 2.625” in diameter? We can leverage automation to make your parts in the most efficient and consistent way possible.
Need milled parts with small and complex features? Our automated processes can save you money and improve part quality on 3-axis and 5-axis jobs in any quantity.
The future is here, and Wagner Machine is more than ready to help you grow your business! Request a quote to take advantage of our CNC machine shop’s automation capabilities.