When you’re trying to increase efficiency in your plant operations, you can’t act on vague ideas of improvement. Instead of hoping to “reduce queue time” or “cut labor costs,” you need to be able to cut through the fog and cite a solid number based on real-world experience.
So, what if you can boost your production by 20% and deliver a better product while reducing costs? Ushers Machine and Tool Company had just such an experience, described in a 2014 article in Production Machining magazine.
Ushers, a precision machining, welding and fabrication company located in Round Lake, New York, was producing about 250 stainless steel gas tips per day. Each tip was chrome plated, and coolant and other contaminants left over from the machining process had to be removed from the parts before the chrome was applied. Workers were cleaning the tips by hand with wire brushes, paper towels and a chemical cleaner that required special waste disposal. Not only was this a difficult and time-consuming method, it was ineffective; contaminants left in the threads of the tips were interfering with the plating process, and the chrome didn’t adhere well.
“We knew we had to get a better cleaning process in place,” Nick Jones, the Quality Control Manager at Ushers, told Production Machining. “Using a can of spray just wasn’t getting the job done.”
Jones began searching for an alternative method, and contacted Ultrasonic Power Corporation, where some parts were test-cleaned. Based on the results of the tests, Ushers ordered a 39 gallon Advanced Sonic Touch I console.
As a result, Ushers realized three major benefits:
- Reduced cleaning time—Employees place batches of 30 to 50 tips in the ultrasonic cleaner’s tank for 20 minutes. After this, tips are rinsed with ordinary tap water before being air dried. This process takes about 45 minutes, compared to as much as 3 hours of cleaning time for a batch of parts under the old hand scrubbing method.
- Improved cleaning—The microscopic bubbles generated by the ultrasonic cleaner reach where even the most thorough worker can’t, resulting in a cleaner part and easier and more effective plating. As a result, Usher was able to produce approximately 300 gas tips each day, a 20% increase.
- Disposal costs eliminated—Usher saved $15,000 in the first year because they no longer had to dispose of the chemical cleaner they had been using. Instead, the ultrasonic cleaner used a mild mix of Brulin 815GD Brulin 815GD detergent and water. The unit paid for itself in less than a year through savings on disposal alone.
“It’s really been tremendous for us,” Jones reported to Production Machining. “As soon as we saw what it could do for us in saving man hours as well as giving us better performance, we knew this was the ticket.” The company has acquired a number of ultrasonic cleaners for their operation, including a 135 gallon model for a second Round Lake plant.
If you’d like to see how Ultrasonic Power Corporation’s Vibra-bar® transducers with Simultaneous Multi-Frequency® technology helped the leadership at another plant deliver a better product, download our case study, “Ultrasonics to the Rescue.”