World leading sailing hardware manufacturer cuts cycle times with a Citizen M32 Type III.
Ronstan International Pty Ltd is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sailboat hardware and architectural rigging. As a company at the top of their game, they are certainly aware of the hard work and innovation required to remain there.
Based in Sandringham (VIC) and with offices throughout Australia and the world, Ronstan also recognises that to keep producing the high quality competitive products that their customers have come to expect, the company’s investment in advanced manufacturing technology has to match that need for the best possible end product.
In the case of one particular product, a small stainless steel rigging screw used to hold up the masts on yachts called a ‘swage screw’, cutting its in-process manufacturing time was vital to reducing costs and increasing the value in its production.
Originally machined in three setups on three different machines, including a Citizen E32 sliding headstock lathe, a dedicated lathe with high pressure coolant for deep hole drilling, and a hand fed plunge thread rolling machine to thread the screw, Ronstan’s Manufacturing Manager Chris Wilkes, realised there was a need to combine all three processes into one turnkey solution.
The team at John Hart were confident that the Citizen M32 Type III sliding headstock machine was right for the job. With a 32mm machining diameter, a maximum machining length of 320mm and a 20 tool capacity, the versatile M32 has both the machining and drilling capacity to meet Ronstan’s targets. However, in order to roll the thread in one cycle, the machine had to be fitted with two Fette thread rolling heads to cover the range of product diameters, a first for any Citizen machine to come out of Japan. Also, in order to cut the number of cycles, the machine was equipped with 14MPa (2000psi) high pressure coolant, which was another first for this type of machine.
Upon installation, it was clear that Chris and Ronstan had made the right decision, as these figures show:
No. of cycles – 3 to 1 = down 66%
Total cycle time – 2 min 21 to 86 seconds = down 40%
In-stage process time – 5-10 days to 86 seconds = immeasurable gain resulting in significant cost reduction
According to Chris, “by being able to reduce part cost, we can be more competitive in the market place.” The significant improvements in productivity have affected the rest of production as well, “we have reduced queuing, lead times and the need to hold higher stock levels” he says. Adding to this, they can now produce other parts on the Citizen and in doing so have been able to typically reduce their cycle times by 20%.
Ronstan’s confidence in John Hart’s ability to provide a “complete solution” including on-going training and support, has in Chris’ words, “given us the potential to be the most competitive at manufacturing these components in our industry and provides flexibility to produce many other parts in our portfolio without compromise.” For a business like Ronstan, these are exactly the kind of advantages needed to maintain their competitive edge.