St. Paul, MN (February 8, 2021) — Success in today’s world of manufacturing hinges on adapting your processes to be profitable for years to come, using new technologies and techniques that are secure and scalable for the long-term.

Matsuura’s automation capabilities and automatic tool change abilities can simplify the production process, reduce cycle time, provide unmanned machining capabilities and seamlessly integrate profitable automation into your business.

“People usually think of automation in high volume production environments, typically with 6-axis robots.  With small lot production, elimination of set-up time is the primary goal,” said Craig St. John, President of Matsuura USA.

“Shaving a few seconds or even, minutes of cycle time per part when making 20 or 30 parts is insignificant.  The savings and the profit improvement arise from reducing set-up time from hours to zero and by running parts unattended overnight and on weekends,” St. John explained.

Matsuura has been the leader in automating manufacturing. The company’s vertical pallet changers for MAM72 and H.Plus models and their new simple pallet changers for the MX series set the standard for automating machining centers.  In addition to Matsuura “built-in” automation solutions, Matsuura’s exclusive distributors can integrate robots with Matsuura machines.

“Automated, ‘LIGHTS OUT PRODUCTION’ is the future of PROFITABLE manufacturing,” St. John added.

Manufacturing in North America continues to become more complex, requiring multi-axis machining solutions. While most industries maintain a higher part mix and smaller batch production, reduction of inventory is an imperative initiative. Additionally, with pressure on pricing and margins, customers realize they must discover methods to reduce labor costs.

Matsuura’s state-of-the-art automated manufacturing processes add unmanned shifts and guarantee profitability.

Matsuura expanded its customer base and answered aftermarket demand for a smaller simpler 5-axis platform by developing a more cost-effective line of these machines with built-in automation as an option. Featuring the same hand-built quality, high speed, and sustained precision as the fully automatic machines, the two newest machines in the MX series provide productive, versatile and affordable unmanned 5-axis production.

According to St. John, high volume simple part production like automotive parts are obvious targets for automation.  He explains it is easy to automate a process that will be repeated a million times a year.  However, in aerospace and defense, manufacturing lot sizes are small, and parts are complex, require close tolerances and excellent surface finishes.  Combining operations using 5-axis machining centers and running unmanned using pallet systems is the most efficient way to manage small lots.  This approach is equally effective in the medical component applications or any complex parts requiring close tolerances.

St. John describes three factors when considering integrating automation: Floorspace; Workpiece Size/Weight; Lot sizes: and Machine Flexibility.

In many areas of the country, rental space is a premium, and shops must consider their floorspace in determining automation. Some machines maintain a smaller footprint with built-in automation.

Workpiece Size/Weight will define the machine size.  Be aware that when machining 5 sides of a part one most look closely at fixtures and tool lengths when defining the machine to use.  Matsuura or your Matsuura distributor can run a simulation using your solid model to confirm that the right size machine has been selected.

Machine Flexibility is a consideration for shops in their operations to satisfy different customers and maintain the capability to produce different parts without major retooling. If your shop needs the ability to change a production schedule, to modify a part, or to handle multiple parts, then flexibility is vital.

Matsuura Machinery’s exclusive distributor network works alongside Matsuura to define the ideal manufacturing method and automation solutions. We oversee the complete project – from concept to production, from training to after sales technical and service support.

“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated many businesses, but Matsuura is busy — demand has skyrocketed for 5-axis unmanned automation solutions that allow manufacturers the ability to respond swiftly to customers’ needs and run unmanned in the evening and on weekends,” according to Craig St. John, President of Matsuura USA.

Why is Matsuura busy while many other machine tool builders have seen a 30% to 40% drop in business this year?

“The pandemic is driving a shift in companies’ use of technology. Successful shops are implementing 5-sided machining and palletized solutions to reduce set-up time and gain unmanned machine time. This shift in how to make parts helps Matsuura since we have delivered these solutions for over 20 years, and have gotten good at it,” St. John explained.

These savvy Matsuura manufacturers have learned how to improve product quality, machine utilization, and reduce unplanned downtime, all of which contribute to a Future-proofed operation.

Few machine tool builders have perfected this type of automation and the organizations incorporating the technology have tremendous competitive advantages. Matsuura is an innovator in the development of high-speed machining and the manufacture of automated, unmanned high accuracy CNC machine tools builds machines from the ground up to run unattended.

“The skills gap is here to stay, technology is constantly progressing, and the competitive nature of manufacturing is growing on a national and global scale,” St. John concluded.

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