This forward-thinking, Millennial-owned job shop is producing complex components many other shops cannot thanks to their Matsuura MAM72-35V. KCS Advanced Machining Services has increased efficiencies and spindle uptime, and Matsuura’s factory-built automation is a force multiplier for their business.
“Had I known that this was an option, or even in my wheelhouse-what the automation allows us to do-it’s a force multiplier. One machine is a force, now two machines is a force multiplier, but three machines- one of them having a pallet pool is an exponential force multiplier. That’s a machine that doesn’t require a full shift of an individual and unattended nights and weekends machining and it’s all about the spindle uptime,” said , KCS founder and president, Kyle Szczypienski.
Located in Livonia, Michigan, KCS Advanced Machining Services (KCS) is a low-volume, high-mix machine shop specializing in the precision machining of built-to-spec products for a range of industries that include space hardware, manned spaceflight, motorsports, automotive and aftermarket, consumer products, and industrial robotics. With a focus on utilizing the latest technology, hardware, and software, KCS specializes in sophisticated, complex, challenging, multi-axis machining projects.
“KCS has a long history of being a high-mix/low-volume, built to spec, 5-axis job shop. We identified some new opportunities in a high-volume production and faced with the everyday challenges of labor and skills gaps and cost of ownership, we decided that the MAM72-35V Vertical Machining Center is the most efficient and most sensible point of entry into on a high-volume market as well as very well suited for our everyday Niche high-mix low-volume 5-axis machining designed to run 24/7 for 20 years, the efficiencies can’t be beaten,” Szczypienski added.
The KCS team approaches every project as an opportunity for success. According to Szczypienski, while other shops shy away from challenging projects, KCS welcomes them.
“We’ve built a well-earned reputation for hitting above our weight class. We take on tough jobs other shops won’t or can’t – and we’ve grown by producing results and delighting customers. Big or small – no job is too difficult or too complex,” Szczypienski explained.
A 32-pallet feed system and 320 tool capacity complement the automation and full feature set on the company’s Matsuura MAM72-35V. Each pallet can hold multiple parts and is fed automatically into the machining envelope allowing for unattended 24/7 operation.
“It’s amazing what these machines can do – they will recognize the work on the pallets, feed the pallet into the machine, identify the operations to perform on each part, select the tools as they are needed, then complete complex 5-axis machining operations perfectly, and every time,” Szczypienski continued.
“It’s not just about part accuracy but it’s also about the point of rotation accuracy. We have a lot of data here that the Matsuuras are able to hold that point of rotation, less than 5 microns, throughout the day time and time again and what that correlates to is part repeatability- that that first piece and the last piece coming off the machine the same or with all the capacity of the pallet pool here the ability to pull a job in that hasn’t been ran in months and get the same part off the machine the first time as it was the last time,” Szczypienski continued.
Szczypienski says the company has been building prototype spacesuits for NASA’s possible return to the moon. Szczypienski said they’ve worked on such prototypes for a few years, including components that would make up the suits. If everything goes according to plan, the parts manufactured could be a part of NASA’s Artemis program that will send humans back to the moon in 2024.
“We are making spacesuits. NASA has not built a surface suit since the days of Neil Armstrong and with the pending moon mission, they’re working on a new surface suit, which is modular for the size of astronauts and the roles of the mission,” Szczypienski said.
“I keep preaching to the guys here that our goal is to get parts on the moon we know we’re going to engrave our logo in a boot so that we have our name on the moon, and then maybe someday, Mars,” Szczypienski added.
“We decided to go with the Matsuura basically due to the factory-built automation. This machine model (MAM72-35V) in particular, they’ve been building since ‘91. We decided that we wanted to go the route of a manufacturer whose perfected the technology, who arguably invented the technology or possibly modernized the technology in the early nineties, whereas some of the other manufacturers are bolt on hardware or third-party hardware with multiple user interfaces and essentially different machine tools, whereas this machine includes the pallet changer, the tool magazine, and the machine itself as it is a purpose-built ecosystem. With the pallet pool being integrated into that machine controller, there’s only one controller that you have to deal with that provides lots of flexibility throughout the day we like to call it the one-button automation. We decided to go with Matsuura for their one-button automation,” Szczypienski explained.
Like all Matsuura machining centers, KCS’s MAM72-35V was built from the ground up and features Fanuc controls and Matsuura’s High Speed Precision package, as well as other custom features that combine to greatly improve efficiency while playing to the shop’s programming strengths.
“I always say that with the less expensive machines you never stop paying for the machine, they have a lower price tag, but I feel like the cost of ownership is higher due to maintenance, or usually longer setups or typically having to the cater to the machine throughout the process. Whereas, we decided to go with Matsuura because of the accuracy of the machines and the reliability and robustness of the machines would allow us to reduce our setup times,” Szczypienski said.
“We’re a small, growing shop in a very high-end niche where expertise, precision and overall ability have to meet or exceed the creativity and complexity of our customers, so we constantly work to improve our capabilities in order to deliver, Szczypienski concluded.
Matsuura USA Distributor, Yamazen, Inc., supports and sells Matsuura products in 32 states. Yamazen has strong business and cultural ties to the companies that build the equipment it distributes. Yamazen supports its products with extensive manufacturing and logistics expertise to maximize positive impact on the operations of its customers.
Yamazen, Inc. sold KCS Machining Services their very first Matsuura machine, an MX-520 PC4 5-Axis Vertical Machining Center. KCS has been pleased with the service and support they have received from Yamazen, Inc., although they rarely require service on their Matsuura machines.
Learn more about Matsuura’s MAM72 Technology at: https://www.matsuurausa.com/series/mam72-series/.
Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business.