Robert Page Engineering: standing on the shoulders of a CNC giant

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Tauranga-based Robert Page Engineering Ltd recently established a preferred supplier agreement with Iscar Plus, which will also include a Matrix dispensing machine to go with a ToolPort insert dispenser.

Tauranga-based Robert Page Engineering Ltd recently established a preferred supplier agreement with Iscar Plus, which will also include a Matrix dispensing machine to go with a ToolPort insert dispenser.

Tauranga-based Robert Page Engineering Ltd recently established a preferred supplier agreement with Iscar Plus, which will also include a Matrix dispensing machine to go with a ToolPort insert dispenser.

Kevin O’Dea, managing director says, “For us, it’s all about getting smarter in what we do every day.” And in this case, smarter also meant bigger.

When a company has installed one of the biggest horizontal borers in the country, like Robert Page Engineering did, you need to make sure the machine is generating maximum turnover possible.

Weighing in at 48,000KG the borer has table travels of 4000 in X, 2500 in Y, 2000 in Z, and a table loading of 15,000KGs. This makes this machine the largest CNC borer of its type in New Zealand. All axes, including table rotation, can be used simultaneously for 4-axis machining. This is a serious machine that needs to produce parts efficiently, and that’s where the tooling comes in.

Statistics show that while tooling is only three percent of the total cost of running a workshop, it plays a big part on the total output.

Robert Page Engineering (despite the company having skilled programmers and setters) decided that sorting out tooling and its related issues were best left to the specialists, leaving them to concentrate on what they do best, that is, producing high-quality large machine parts, on time and on-cost.
To do this it was decided that any cutting tool supplier cannot just come through the door expecting to sell tools unless it’s accompanied with a partnership to work with them to reduce real costs.

This, the company says, eliminates buy-on-price from opportunistic suppliers as well as the time taken up by salesmen’s visits.

The company turned to the one company that it believed met all the criteria to form a partnership to improve efficiency, to make sure the right tooling is available, and the best machining and programming processes were being used.

The agreement will find an Iscar Plus application engineer spending an agreed number of hours in the shop each week, working with company programmers and setters on bottle-necks, helping with new jobs, checking that the best tools and practices are being used, and training.

John Dower from Iscar Plus says, “The agreement means the Iscar engineer will make sure that the right tools and the right processes are being used. Where the best tool is not from the Iscar Plus range, advice will be given where to source the tool so other suppliers are not eliminated.

Because efficiency is key, we want our customers to be able to compete globally for work, and their competitiveness is good for both partners long-term, even if it means not using one of our tools.”

To manage tooling, Robert Page Engineering had previously installed a ToolPort insert dispenser, and now they have invested in a Matrix dispenser that will be interfaced with the ToolPort. The Matrix will deal with end mills, taps, drills, and larger tools.

The Matrix can also manage gauging by tracking serial numbers and certification dates, the last machine user, if the gauge is out in the shop, who issued it and more.

Vending systems like these will reduce wastage and missing tooling by 20 percent, and Robert Page Engineering’s staff will no longer have to spend time managing the tooling.

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