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manufacturing technology A case study of how a mold shop was able to expand


An operation uses the Makino F5’s touchscreen controls.


Makino Helps Franchino I


n central Michigan, leaders of Franchino Mold and Engineering bet big on a strategy to grow its busi- ness by investing in people, improving processes and obtaining the best technology available. Beginning in 2012, Franchino began a $5 million shop expansion, which doubled the number of employees to 91 and expanded its machining—including the purchase of six Makino F5 vertical machining centers (VMCs). Four years later, Franchino is expanding its position as a leading maker of die-cast and plastic-injection molds—some as big as 420,000 lb (190,509 kg). The company, founded in 1955, specializes in molds for automotive, construction equipment, appliance and consumer products manufacturers. Franchino also provides contract machining, and has long relied on Makino machines


for their performance, reliability and durability. With three locations and more than 100 machines to create dies and molds for customers, the company is always looking to stay current with machinery.


When it was time to expand its small vertical mill area, Makino was at the top of its list. Little did the company know that at the end of their purchase cycle of six F5 machines they would see improvements across the board: cycle time decreased by 30%, tool life improved by 25% and mainte- nance costs lowered by 20%.


Consistently Cutting to Net Shape Franchino had a lineup of older mills from various sup- pliers that were aging and beginning to experience chronic maintenance issues. As it looked to upgrade, there was


56 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2017


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