13 October 2015
13 October 2015,

ready wait switch by stuart milesIn any CNC machine shop, you are only making money when your equipment is running. For any given job, your largest production cost is the labor. To maximize your profits you have to maximize your efficiency. That means keeping the people and equipment running. Poor shop design and inefficient practices lead to down time and lost profit. Gaining efficiency could be as easy as simplifying the tool changing process.

Down Time for Tooling

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all production could be made with one simple feed and one tool? Unfortunately, that is more of a dream than a machinist’s reality. If you’re just a hobbyist tinkering in the home shop, tool changing isn’t a big deal. In a working shop, it is a profit drain. Time spent on tool changing is not time spent making money.

Tool Cribs for Large Scale Organization

time to organize stuart milesLarger shops have dedicated tool cribs and managers to maintain all tools, bits, drills, and supplies. They have even store extra machine parts for quick repairs. The crib manager tracks use, maintains inventory, and reports to management. There are even AutoCribs to automate the issue and return process.

Many smaller shops can’t afford such aids to efficiency. They must depend on each operator to maintain their own tool and collet inventory in their own workspace. This set-up is inherently unorganized and inefficient by nature. However, just a few steps will get the space organized and decrease tool changing time right in the machine area.

Tool and Collet Holders for Small Scale Organization

organize your shop with r8 tool holdersWhether you are using an R8 or 5C set-up, having your collets at hand and a good collet wrench can help you become a quick change artist. A good R8 tool holder or collet tray will help you work efficiently because tools and collets are organized. A dedicated tray gives everything a place.

Everything Has A Place. It doesn’t matter if you are organizing R8 tools in a shop or mixing cups in a kitchen; the one maxim of all organization is that Everything Has a Place. When everything has a place the benefits are endless:

  • It’s easy to see at a glance what is missing
  • Tools are protected
  • No down time spent searching
  • Quick access to tools equals quicker tool changes

Everything in Its Place. Any organization system is only as good as its implementation. If you set a tray on the work area, it is much easier to return the tool to the tray. This increases the chances of the tool going to “its place”. You only get more efficiency from the machinery and the people if your organization system actually gets used. A dedicated R8 tool holder at the machine (or even mounted to the machine) increases the chances of the tray being used.

Sierra American R8 Tool Holders and Collet Trays

r8 tool trays protect tools and colletsTo organize the work area around your machine, use an R8 tool tray by Sierra American. These are free standing trays, so you decide where you want them. The tapered seat design holds collets secure. The generous openings make it easy to remove and insert collets into the tray.

  • 52 tool/collet capacity
  • Heavy duty construction to protect tools
  • Compact design organizes without eating up valuable work space
  • Proudly made in the USA.

If you want to be a quick change artist, you need your tools at the ready and easily accessible. You need an R8 tool holder from Sierra American. Ask for them by name at your tool supply. If they don’t have Sierra American, call (800) 576-5331 to locate the nearest dealer or use the Contact Us form.

Digital artwork courtesy of Stuart Miles@freedigitalphotos.net







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