How did Matsuura USA help this modest job shop thrive during COVID-19, with a minimal uptime of 75% on small batch jobs and multiple materials? 32 pallets can definitely help with that! Watch Hernan Ricaurte, President of Ricaurte Precision Inc. (RPI) speak with Tony Gunn from MTD-CNC in this incredible testimonial.
Ricaurte Precision Inc., established by Luis Ricaurte in 1986, has served the aerospace, defense, and medical device industries for over 30 years. Hernan Ricaurte joined the company in 2016, bringing 20+ years of operational and business development experience from the healthcare and medical device industries. Hernan had also lived and worked in Japan for more than ten years, which strengthened his appreciation for lean manufacturing processes and continuous improvement.
Focusing on New, Technologically Advanced Equipment:
The importance of embracing new technologies and processes is a crucial lesson in this industry, according to Hernan. “There are so many ways to fabricate a part, and there is always something to learn and improve on in your processes. Technology is a vital tool for the growth of your employees and your company. The automation and consistency we have achieved in 5-Axis machining with our MAM72-35 is another big process improvement. Machining at this level, unmanned and unattended throughout the weekend, has been a huge step forward for us,” Ricaurte explained.
Challenges leading Ricaurte Precision Inc. to Matsuura:
Southern California has a high density of world-leading aerospace, defense and medical device companies that require precision machining services. Being close to their customers is of great benefit, but the costs required to run a business in this part of the country are prohibitive. Ricaurte Precision is always searching for ways to minimize expenses and maximize efficiency and quality.
“The MAM72-35 was a no-brainer for us as the technology we needed to help meet our goals. Lights-out machining/automation and consistency in the fabrication quality of complex, tight-tolerance parts have given us ease of mind in meeting our customers’ needs,” Ricaurte added.
“We are always looking for ways to maximize machinist time, control fixture and tooling inventory, and effectively schedule jobs to meet customer needs. We knew the MAM72-35 could give us flexibility with 32 pallets to have jobs prepared to run along our customer’s scheduling requirements, and the 320-tool capacity would allow us to store tools safely and, in the place, where and when we need them,” Ricaurte continued.
“We were seeking automated, true 5-Axis machining with flexibility. We were able to achieve this and still amaze ourselves with what we can achieve with the technology and how we can continue to improve on machining time – even on repeat parts,” Ricaurte said.
Business Interruptions & Uncertainties:
“We started the installation process at the end of 2019 and completed our initial training in early 2020. COVID-19 hit soon after. Orders came to a screeching halt, and a lot of uncertainty followed.”
“As was and, in many ways, remains the case with a lot of businesses, especially in the manufacturing environment, we were juggling between working closely with customers to understand their situations better, while protecting our employees and the work environment.”
“We started running our MAM right about when COVID hit in early 2020, and it has been a lifesaver for us. We are able to socially distance and work with more flexibility in scheduling and manpower,” Ricaurte explained.
“Though we experienced a significant drop in business, the MAM helped us ride the storm in a few ways: though initial investments in programming, fixtures and tooling are significant, the consistency in quality and the speed at which we can ramp up fabrication of parts would not be possible without the MAM. Some of our customers had to flip the switch on orders a few times and the MAM helped us meet and exceed customer requirements. Also, lights-out, 24/7 machining helps is minimize contact between employees while the automated tool changer (ATC) allows us to run our more common jobs at night or over the weekend, with new or more complex jobs during the day,” Hernan continued.
For Ricaurte Precision, it was simple: Familiarity – Fanuc controls and consistency in quality; Flexibility – 32 pallets and 320-tool capacity allow for multiple short-run jobs to be scheduled; and Reliability – Highly regarded by respected shops locally and in Japan.
“I have remained in close contact with several leading Japanese manufacturers and machine shops. Their attention to detail and quality are admirable. Through these relationships, I have kept up with new technologies and trends in Japan. In doing so, I learned quite a bit about Matsuura. Everything my colleagues in Japan shared with me about the MAM, as well as several very impressive and efficient shops in the U.S., has become a reality,” Hernan said.
“The machining consistency we achieve from first article to the 100th piece is second to none; truly world-class. We machine all types of materials from aluminum and stainless steel to various nickel-based alloys, such as Titanium and Inconel. We do not hesitate to run these materials in our MAM, in addition to various plastics (Delrin, Peek) for our medical device customers,” Hernan added.
Local Service & Support:
“Selway has been great in their training and continued support. There is so much that is possible with the technology, but we continue to learn and Selway is always there to help. This has been huge for us,” Hernan explained.
Advice for the Next Generation:
“Embrace change and advancements in technology without losing the elements that got you to where you are: hard work, attention to detail, well-documented experimentation. We have had our MAM for just over a year, and we feel we are just getting started,” Hernan concluded.
Learn more about Ricaurte Precision, Inc. at: http://ricaurteprecision.com/
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.