Automating a highly repetitive production cycle 24/7 is relatively straightforward. On the other hand, when production encompasses many different products and unpredictable demand, automation poses quite a challenge. This was exactly the situation in which the Dutch machining company MCM found itself.
The next chapter in a 100-year history
Dating back to 1909, MCM has a deeply rooted history in the machining industry. Today, the family owned business is led by the founders great-grandson Pim van de Mortel.
MCM went through a substantial growth phase during the previous 5 years. Not because they revolutionized their product – in fact, the company stays true to its roots revolving around the creation of metal automotive parts. No, MCM’s growth was sparked by a smart investment in automation. This allowed them to serve their customers more flexibly, accurately and at a higher output rate, resulting in rapid growth.
After previously employing two Cellro Round systems, MCM had reached the total 24/7 capacity of both systems. In order to facilitate further company growth, it decided to invest in a third fully automated production platform. This time, MCM opted for a powerful combination of a Cellro Skid and a Matsuura MX850 5-axis machine, jointly known as the Dominator.
Optimized for just-in- time delivery
MCM’s clients typically require production in low volumes. Both MCM and their clients aim to keep the amount of finished products in stock as low as possible in order to minimize cost. Simultaneously, MCM wants to utilize the full 24 hours of each day. This stresses the need for a sophisticated automation solution that can handle different products, without the need for manual input in between. The Dominator fulfills all these requirements.
The automated machining solution will be used to supply and remove products. The Cellro Skid robot automatically places each workpiece onto a pallet, after which it will be clamped within the MX850 for machining. The system is able to combine series of different products into one single program, resulting in a highly efficient 24/7 production solution.
During development of the Dominator solution, Cellro and Matsuura joined hands in a tight collaboration. Both companies granted each other full software access, resulting in an efficiently integrated software connection. The machine and automation system operate together fluently, which allowed MCM to reap the benefits right from the first day.
Although Cellro’s Skid and Matsuura’s MX850 are optimized into a standardized solution, the Skid remains completely modular. This offers remarkable future flexibility, greatly prolonging the Skid’s future usage and value.
For instance, modules can be added or changed to increase functions or storage capacity. The Skid system even allows for a second machine to be connected at the opposite end. While retrofit adjustments such as these were traditionally cumbersome at best, Skid’s modular hardware and software now make it possible to continuously adapt to new needs and circumstances.
Currently, the Skid is up and running in MCM’s production facility in the Dutch town of Liessel. It allows the company to answer their client’s assignments more efficiently, thus increasing their profitability.
But MCM can’t stop gazing into the future. Their current objective is to further integrate the Skid automation solution into the company’s ERP system in order to increase efficiency further down the production chain. Cellro and MCM are currently joining forces to create this custom ERP integration.