A fine finish

By Colin Linneweber

Above: The Lissmac unit is able to deburr and edge round parts to dull sharp edges.

Multipurpose machine package enhances AV equipment maker’s quality, speed and safety

October 2016 - “Call me crazy,” says Rich Pierro, co-CEO of Premier Mounts, “but I have instructed our operators to hug our Lissmac deburring machine every morning.”

Premier Mounts, Fullerton, California, has designed and manufactured projector mounts, flat-panel display mounts, and carts and stands for audiovisual applications since 1977. Pierro and his partner, Premier Mounts founder, owner and co-CEO Len Dozier, sought out a more efficient edge conditioning process that would also help to maximize their company’s profitability, efficiency and output without sacrificing quality or jeopardizing employees’ well-being or morale.

“Decibel levels, loud dust collectors, belt sanding machines and grinders really do take their toll on our valuable workforce—those performing the work and those in surrounding areas,” says Pierro, who joined Premier Mounts as a manufacturing consultant in 2005 and has worked in the precision sheet metal fabricating industry for 27 years. “Today, labor costs are higher, schedules are tighter and competition and commoditization are squeezing margins. Safety and quality are the price of entry, and efficiency and throughput are the difference between being profitable or not.”  

Premier Mounts’ leaders conducted research and ultimately deduced that Lissmac’s range of metal finishing solutions would make that difference. 

With over 300 employees in four business divisions spread across four locations in Germany, China and the U.S., Lissmac builds deburring, deslagging, grinding and edging machines, tools and systems for construction companies, metal processors, plant engineers and material handlers.

FFJ 1016 deburr image1

Lissmac machines reduce standard processing times by 50 percent by processing both sides of a workpiece in a single pass.

Hurdling obstacles

Dan Cudney, Lissmac’s sales manager for the western U.S. and western Canada, recounts the obstacles Premier Mounts faced and explains how the Lissmac SBM-L G1S2 helped hurdle the complications.

The SBM-L G1S2 addressed some of Premier Mounts’ issues “by reducing overall labor costs and increasing production output,” says Cudney. “These machines were developed to eliminate added material handling processes by being able to deburr, edge round and remove oxide from both sides in one single pass. 

“Edge treatment and finishing processes are typically done after all steel and metal parts have gone through a punch, plasma, laser or fiber laser cutting system,” Cudney continues. “The finishing aspect that goes along with manufacturing parts had to be done by manual operation, or [by using] inefficient single-sided machines,” which requires a “significant” amount of material handling.

The Lissmac unit is able to deburr and edge round parts to dull sharp edges, thereby preventing cuts and scrapes among workers handling the cut parts. This machine also impedes paint chipping that causes metal parts to rust.

“The need for finishing parts comes down to efficiency, quality and control,” says Cudney. “Deburring and edge rounding on parts is needed for safety, but most importantly for paint adhesion of metal parts. Many studies have indicated that a sharp edge on parts is the primary instigator of paint chipping that leads to the rusting of metal.”

Lissmac machines reduce a standard processing time by 50 percent by processing both sides in one single pass, says Cudney. “Material handling time is drastically reduced by not flipping parts.” He adds that Lissmac’s rigorous quality standard means that every part from one to 100,000, produced “by our uniformed finishing processes ... eliminates the inconsistencies that occur from manual operation.”

Manufacturers are often confronted with requirements that are different every day for the reworking of the produced parts, Cudney continues.

“Various machining processes, such as deburring, edge rounding and high-quality surface finishing, as well as changing materials and working environments, require versatility from the machine manufacturers.”

Lissmac systems are flexible and can be tailor made. Following an in-depth analysis comparing Premier Mount’s previous finishing process with the new one, Pierro says his primary regret is that his company didn’t purchase the SBM-L G1S2 far sooner.

FFJ 1016 deburr image2

Th SBM-L G1S2 machine impedes paint chipping that causes metal parts to rust in service.

Cost cutting

The company experienced higher maintenance costs and extended downtimes with the deburring equipment it ran before. Other machines consistently produced a poor return on investment in contrast to the SBM-L G1S2, he says.

“With the addition of our Lissmac, we’ve seen an increase in throughput, safety and quality,” says Pierro, who adds that Premier Mounts recently threw a party to celebrate 100 consecutive days at work without any employees reporting an injury.  

“However, what I find most interesting is the increase in team morale. The fact that the edge was broken was apparent and now we meet specifications. But the compounding favorable results extend far beyond just the operation of deburring,” Pierro says. “We now see increased throughput in forming, welding and fitting. We are also able to apply the headcount once used in grinding and deburring to more value-added operations, like hardware installation and spot welding. It’s a reduction in headcount in deburring.”  

Darrell Nuner, a process engineer at Premier Mounts, was able to chart, in great detail, how much more effectively Lissmac’s machine removes burrs on parts than the model previously employed in the shop. Nuner’s chart highlights that for parts of 25 to 200 pieces per job, the SBM-L G1S2 cut Premier Mounts’ deburring time by more than half.

“The working area on the belt, which is 59 inches wide, allows more parts to run through the machine at a time. The Lissmac machine achieves faster times per part, while the parts are being completely deburred on both sides at once,” says Nuner.

When Pierro reviewed Nuner’s calculations, he reiterated his wish that this process had been upgraded earlier. “The old ways of doing things by hand meant inconsistent training and inconsistent results. Those results meant a decrease in throughput, quality and ultimately margin. It’s tough to look back.”

Able to  maximize profitability, efficiency and output without sacrificing safety or team morale, Pierro does not sound “crazy” when raving about the new machine. In actuality, perhaps Premier Mounts operators should “hug (their) Lissmac deburring machine every morning,” suggests Cudney. FFJ



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