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Artistic Plastics & Fixtures, Inc.
$40,000 Expenditure in CNC Routers Generates
By Glen Whetherby - President
use of anti-backlash ball screws. These screws have excellent power transmission due to the rolling ball contact between the nut and screws. This type of contact ensures low friction, low wear, and long life. The ball screws also make it possible to produce parts to the machine resolution of 0.0005 inch.
The technical specifications of the Techno router that Artistic Plastics purchased include a working area of 49" x 41" and Z-axis height of 6". This router was designed for production routing and drilling on a wide variety of materials including wood, plastic, MDF, solid surfacing materials, and nonferrous metals. The price included the Mastercam CNC programming software. Although that program was originally designed for metalworking, it is ideally suited for cutting plastic because of its ability to generate the most complex contours with little programming effort.
Once the CNC router was installed and some pieces were programmed in Mastercam, Artistic Plastics began shifting router jobs to the new Techno Router. It performed so well that it was soon handling 95% of the router work. In fact, within the first few weeks, it had produced enough parts to pay for itself. A key feature of the Techno router is its ability to cut 3D continuous contours at up to 200" per minute, far faster than most machining centers. Compared to a hand router, the Techno router takes about the same amount of time to cut a single part. The speed advantage of the CNC approach comes when there are multiple parts to produce and several can be put on the table and cut in one operation. This really pays off on high volume jobs, when one operator can turn out as much work as five people working by hand. For example, to produce an order of 50,000 parts by hand, Artistic Plastics would have had five people working for two weeks with each producing about 1,000 parts per day. That same amount of work can be accomplished by one person running the Techno router for the same amount of time.
Because Artistic Plastics' products are visible to the public, customers insist on an excellent appearance, which includes perfectly smooth edges. This is an area where having the CNC router has also been beneficial because it can produce smoother cuts compared to a hand router. The human variability caused by having an operator closely follow a template has been replaced by a machine that never deviates from a computer-controlled path.
After using the original Techno router for several years, Artistic Plastics was producing many more routered pieces than it had previously. This was the result of the company's ability to produce higher quality parts for a lower price, and deliver them faster, using the CNC router. The company then purchased a second Techno router to keep up with the demand. That CNC router, which cost $22,000, differed from the first in that it was equipped with servo motors rather than stepper motors. The servomotor allows the new router to make even smoother cuts.
Both Techno routers are in use every day, usually for the entire day. Both have proved to be as durable and reliable as Artistic Plastics had hoped. Techno was the first low-cost router manufacturer in North America and has an excellent reputation for service and support.The two Techno routers generate about $15,000 of parts each week or $750,000 annually. Because the CNC routers provide a five-fold increase in productivity over hand routers, this income is available to Artistic Plastics at a much lower labor cost, creating an overall increase in the bottom line. With the efficiency provided by the CNC approach, Artistic Plastics is able to keep its prices as low as the competition's while ensuring that the work is done profitably.
2101 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040 | Telephone: 1.800.819.3366 / 516.328.3970 | Fax: 1.516.358.2576