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SHOP SOLUTIONS Continued from P43


Mastercam has been playing such a vital role in reducing lead times that the Grassmucks did not hesitate when ap- proached with the idea of providing Mastercam training for all of the employees on the shop floor. Thus far eight employees have attended training sessions at Rankin Technical College in Westville, MO, to learn the ins-and-outs of Mastercam. “Our guys on the floor are not at the same level but we wanted everyone to have at least the basic level completed to maximize our resources,” said Shatz. The goal, though, is to get everyone to the point where they can make changes on the floor in no more than five minutes. “We are a job shop not a production shop. We don’t have the luxury of running off a job and fine-tuning it before we turn it loose. We have one shot to make it right,” said Shatz, “and these guys are learning to fine-tune stuff as we go.” For more information from Mastercam-CNC Software Inc., go to www.mastercam.com, or phone 860-875-5006.


Continued from P36


Waterjet Builds Fitness Maker’s Speed and Agility


A


s a leading manufacturer of commercial and consumer cardio and strength equipment, Life Fitness depends on tradeshows for business growth and continued suc- cess. These events are where gym and fitness club owners, equipment dealers and other potential customers gather to evaluate and actually purchase products. So needless to say, new product development and production schedules at Life Fitness revolve around and are meticulously timed according to several key industry tradeshows for unveiling all its new units/pieces, systems, and equipment. Life Fitness has nine manufacturing plants across the globe, one of which is in Ramsey, MN, where raw steel enters the 333,000 ft2


(30,936-m2 ) facility and completely


finished products exit. The Ramsey location is the compa- ny’s biggest plant, operating three shifts per day and seven days per week. Five hundred employees work at Ramsey developing and manufacturing the Life Fitness and Hammer Strength product lines. A majority of the weldments for the company’s cardio-equipment assembly plants are gener- ated here as well.


Ramsey ships about 50,000 finished “strength” products/ units per year. Customization is key to that line’s popularity,


96 AdvancedManufacturing.org | May 2016


and the choices of features and options offered are virtually unlimited. Customers can get units in any color they desire, select from an array of upholstery types and stitching, and opt for either standard or ergonomic handle styles. Like many of the athletes who use its equipment, Life Fitness strives to build speed and agility, but in terms of its prototyping operations. The company must quickly respond to new demands and trends in fitness training with the con- tinuous development of new and improved products, and do so ahead of the competition. `The Ramsey facility’s prototype shop installed a 60120 Jet- Machining Center from OMAX Corp. (Kent, WA). And, unlike the shop’s previous plasma cutting systems which were limited to metal only, the OMAX 60120 cost-effectively processes all the different materials that Life Fitness works with while also providing quick and easy programming, simple setups, and short job-changeover time, as well as blazing fast part cutting. With this increased machining speed, the shop is now able to handle almost all of its prototype part production in-house, avoiding the hassle of outside suppliers and their fluctuating schedules. Plus, abrasive waterjet cutting eliminates the need for any secondary milling operations to clean up slag, a step that was required after plasma cutting a part. The OMAX 60120 is a bridge-style abrasive waterjet machine with a work envelope that easily accommodates standard 5 × 10' (1500 × 3000-mm) material stock. The machine features OMAX’s Intelli-TRAX high-precision linear drive technology designed exclusively for the abrasive wa- terjet environment, a bulk abrasive delivery system, and an extremely durable OMAX MaxJet5i Nozzle. Equipped with an A-Jet cutting head accessory, the OMAX 60120 delivers repeatable, high-precision, detailed five-axis cutting. Such capability allows Life Fitness to cut weld bevels and do other prep work, operations that were previously impossible with its plasma equipment. The A-Jet features a compact design and cuts beveled edges up to 60° at angles determined by the machine operator or by the part program. According to Westin Nelson, senior program manager for the commercial strength division at Life Fitness, the OMAX 60120 produces complete show-quality prototype parts the first time. Doing so, it eliminates any need for secondary weld-prep operations or those required to make parts aes- thetically pleasing. The machine not only cuts part shapes/ profiles, but also other features such as holes and slots needed for assembly. Parts are so precise in terms of feature dimension and location that assembly operations go quicker


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