Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 130

Northeast

Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instrument

The Manufacturing Process
Production control will issue all requests for parts to be
manufactured, including material, quantity and all other
specs for that particular job. The next step is to determine
the best machine for the job, which essentially means getting the outer geometry of the part cut in as few machining operations as possible. Often, it is possible in just one.
The programmers then will write the necessary programs and lay out all other specifics regarding the
process for the machine operator. All secondary operations are done after the initial geometry, and then the
finished parts are sent to quality control for inspection.
Current quality levels are maintained by submitting
pieces to quality control to verify key inspection criteria
twice a day. This ensures that the machines are actually
making the parts to the dimensions that are specified by
the prints. Parts will still go through quality control
upon completion to make sure that the finished parts
match everything stated on the drawing. Improving
quality even further entails phasing out older machinery that cannot keep up with the tighter tolerances of
the newer machinery.

Lean Manufacturing
SDP/SI is working toward lean manufacturing standards to help improve overall throughput. The eventual
goal is 96 percent to 98 percent efficiency all around.
This means that the amount of product generated, how
quickly it gets shipped to the customer, how little scrap
is generated and all other such measures are within 96
to 98 percent of the maximum possible throughput
given the number of machines and employees. That
means that scheduling and operations for all manufacturing will be streamlined to the point where there is no
wasted time or motion.
The company's stock inventory is maintained with a
computerized carousel system that allows quick access
to carefully labeled bins for each part. Stocking quantity
is based on demand and is determined by reviewing a 12month rolling average of prior usage. Reminders are
generated for when to review parts for restocking, and
new inventory is generated accordingly. The new ERP
system that is currently being integrated can be programmed to request automatically the appropriate
number of pieces at the appropriate time.
All new manufacturing employees are given hands-on
training in the use of all the different machines and
tools. Regardless of prior experience, they all start from
scratch, working under veteran employees and copying
what they do so that everyone is working in the same
way to achieve consistent results.

Manufacturing Challenge
An example of overcoming a manufacturing challenge
is SDP/SI's signature patented product, the FairlocĀ®
integral fastener, which used to take three separate
machine operations and 14 minutes to complete. With
a constant demand for this popular product, SDP/SI
had always sought a way to streamline the process to
increase throughput. It was thought that such a complex part could never be done in one operation. But
now, through the use of modern machining technology,
SDP/SI is able to make the part complete in a single
operation in five minutes, an enormous improvement
over the original process.
More than 100 highly skilled manufacturing workforce members help to create a significant portion of the
SDP/SI product line. These members are distributed
across four different manufacturing plants, all located
within a mile of each other. Each machine shop floor has
its own team of foremen supervising to ensure steady
workflow. A separate production control team helps to
schedule the manufacturing tasks in a way that maximizes machine uptime and profitability.
Stock Drive Products is ISO 9001-certified, and
130

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 4
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