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savings (roughly $38,000 annually on this specific job) and reduce the daily wear on all 24 pieces of equipment.


Despite competing on the open market with no government subsidies, the company has enjoyed double-digit growth for each of the last four years. Ac- cording to Dan, some of the credit goes to the addition of Haimer products, plus having quality, skilled and adaptable machine operators, who Dan said he would put up against any other shop out there. For more information from Haimer USA, go to www.haimer-usa.com, or phone 630-833-1500.


Continued from P41


Retooling Improves ROI on Heavy-Duty, Large-Part Machines


W


hen you specialize in large-part machining like Breaux Machine Works LLP (Tomball, TX), everything about the operation is big—especially the stakes when adding new equipment. Breaux Machine has machined parts weighing up to 50,000 lb (22,680 kg) for the


petroleum, industrial and service markets since 1976. The 80-man contract machine shop normally runs 24/5, bringing advanced machining technology and professional expertise and personal service to every job. “We pride ourselves getting large-scale components right the first time,” said company president Tommy Breaux. Not sur- prisingly, most of the work is one-off. Last year, management decided to elevate their game, committing more than $3 million to increase workpiece weight capacity to 95,000 lb (43,091 kg) on both VTL and mill and dimensional capacity up to 32' (9.75 m) on the X axis and 14' (4.27 m) on the Y axis. Their new equipment choices included a Kuraki KBT15 CNC mill and an O-M vertical turret lathe, which has 160” (4064-mm) swing, with 11' (3.35 m) under the rail. Using current processes and rates, the projected ROI for the package was about four years. “We’d do fine doing what we’ve been doing, but on larger parts,” said Gary Breaux, vice president. By modernizing the tooling on both machines, Breaux effectively got two VTLs for the price of one, improved milling removal rates by 20% and substantially reduced MRO costs. Choosing advanced Ingersoll T- Force 40 turning tools literally doubled VTL throughput. The Ingersoll Gold Quad F face mill improved rough-milling rates by 20%. “At these rates, we’ll break even on the investments two years sooner,” said Breaux.


The new machines went operational in April 2015 but the tooling plans for them started much earlier. Breaux plant manufacturing manager Robert Stokes alerted Ingersoll’s field rep Mike Salewsky about their plans well in advance and asked for suggestions as a start. “Mike’s our ‘go-to’ tooling expert, but on an investment of this magnitude, due diligence demanded that we learn what else is out there,” said Stokes. When the machines arrived, Breaux started the trials with Salewsky’s original suggestions, mainly to double the already-hefty depth of cut leaving everything else


August 2016 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 47


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