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In-House Vs Outsourcing Laser and Plasma Cutting

Plasma and Laser cutting can be a difficult process which has seen business and operation managers argue across all manufacturing firms as it has become a fight over initial start-up investment versus the ongoing benefits.

In reality both parties are correct as you need to be financial capable of taking on the initial investment of one of these machines as well as have the foresight to view how it will improve your production process.

Pros and Cons of in-house cutting versus outsourcing cutting

In-house Cutting

Pros

  • You will have control over your production process
  • Improved production time
  • In-house specialisation
  • Ongoing cost savings for each production part
  • Potential money earner by cutting for other companies

Cons

  • Initial costs (can be negated by an unsecured financing loan with monthly repayments)
  • On-going running costs (should be costed prior to the purchase of the machine)
  • Lack of initial expertise causing teething problems
  • Potential breakdowns causing loss in production time (will require good service team)
  • Workshop space requirements

Outsourcing Cutting

Pros

  • Expertise in cutting
  • Set prices
  • Easier production process
  • Efficient for small volume production

Cons

  • More expensive per part costs
  • Reliant on outside company
  • Longer production times
  • Longer delivery times

Through the list of pros and cons there is a few that need to be extrapolated as the difference may be under or overvalued, firstly with your initial costs of the machine you have to be made fully aware of everything that is involved to get your machine running. The first thing to do is go to a reputable company that will make sure you are getting everything that you need to start cutting, secondly there will be your site installation costs including electricians, equipment hire, site upgrades etc. Thirdly you need to be made fully aware of your ongoing costs including power consumption, servicing, consumables, labour cost etc. This will give you a greater understanding of the cost that is involved so you are not left in the dark.

Also as of today the expertise required for owning a laser and plasma cutting machine has significantly reduced with technology bridging the gap between expert operators and beginners. This has been achieved by simplified operating systems in both the control of the machine and CAM software that is required in creating your part.

The final decision should be based on the volume of plasma and laser cutting that you do or will require and your workspace, whereby not owning a cutting machine will affect your business both financially and in your production process

Though if you feel that you need more information feel free to contact a Farley representative for more details.

Beginners Guide to Overhead Cranes

With the economic situation as it is many manufacturing businesses are closing down and several workshops are closing each week in the UK.

With this increasing problem a great deal of these old factory units are being put into moth balls or reused as something else. The problem is lots of these units have overhead gantry cranes up in the roof of the workshop and they can not be left as they are for health and safety reasons.

They need to be removed but this is a job for specialists. The steel work can be 20 or 30 tons in weight and as high as 30 metres in the air so a step ladder and a transit van is not really going to do the job.

What you need is a specialist firm with the knowledge and equipment to carry out the job correctly.

Firms that do specialise in overhead cranes, swing jibs, and gantry cranes of all types are few and far between but if you can you need one that will buy the second-hand crane from you as it will mean you can effectively get the crane removed for nothing and you may even get paid for it also.

Overhead cranes are sometimes referred to as bridge cranes, single girder cranes, double girder cranes or gantry cranes and are used through British industry in large and small factory units in a variety of industrial markets.

The typical workshop overhead crane consists of parallel runways with a traveling bridge which spans between the two across the width of the workshop. This allows the electric chain or rope hoist, the part that does the lifting, to move across between the bridges electrically.

When people think of cranes they often picture a building site tower crane or the type that are used on the back of a lorry, but overhead cranes are mainly for the manufacturing industry or for production line uses.

It makes economic sense to have an overhead crane or jib crane installed in a factory unit or workshop as they last for years and the cost of hiring mobile cranes for lots of heavy lifting is prohibitive.

Overhead cranes are now so much more technologically advanced and have in recent years made great strides in improving performance and safety. These modern cranes are so well made that they will last for decades if serviced correctly on a regular basis. Modern overhead cranes are much easier to maintain and operate.

They are a variety of different hoisting and cross travel speeds with differing performance on acceleration and braking parameters depending on what you are intending to use the crane for. The team of experts you hire should have all industry requirements and be able to advise you on the suitability of any workshop lifting gear you may be interested in.

If your factory unit has unusual dimensions or specifications then a site visit can be arranged to give you the benefit of their experience and advice on your requirements and needs.

The modern overhead crane has load-sway damping which you can activate when using the cross travel motion. The advantages of the modern electric chain hoists are that they have variable speed control with options for limit switches. This means that even very delicate things can be moved around and located from and to anywhere on the workshop floor with total care.

Installation by our team takes the minimal amount of time so that your business is not put on hold any longer than is absolutely necessary. Also our installation engineers have a reputation second to none so you can be assured it will be installed right first time.

Please contact www.agcranes.com today for any gantry crane sales inquiries. We also have the UK’s largest stock of used overhead cranes.

Factory Floor Management System Bridging the Executive Pay Gap

When the Investment Director of Money Morning/The Money Map Report recently published an article titled “U.S. CEOs Could Learn From Their Asian Counterparts,” he took a major stab at executive salaries: “The pay gap between the boardroom and the factory floor – already a longtime topic of controversy here in the United States – has widened to the point that it’s become absolutely staggering.”

According to statistics cited in the report, “CEOs of large [U.S.] corporations made an average of $10.5 million in 2007, which is 344 times the wages of the average U.S. worker.” Compare that to the wage gap in Japan and the rest of Asia, where “CEOs more commonly [are] making only 10 times to 15 times more than their base level employees.”

Indeed, in the wake of the firmly entrenched recession, during which auto industry sales figures plummeted to the point that the government had to step in for a bailout yet the industry’s CEO salaries continued to climb, Japanese executives were giving themselves self-induced pay cuts. “Making the effort to relate to what employees and customers are feeling during such a difficult stretch is very important: It fosters pride in the work force, loyalty from customers and in the long run, will also win over investors,” Money Morning’s Investment Director concluded.

But overseeing a massive factory floor is a complicated and time-consuming job that warrants multi-million dollar salaries, many of the guilty would argue. Perhaps then, it’s time for those executives to reassess their factory floor management approaches. If managing the factory floor has become such a chore that it’s interfering with a CEO’s ability to attend to other job duties, a top-notch real-time factory floor data collection system might be just what the bailout-weary doctor ordered.

A factory floor management system and its associated software can aid executives in better scheduling, WIP tracking, data collection, and time & attendance labor management. When coupled with touch screen capabilities and an MES (Manufacturing Execution System), it also provides CEOs with a visual factory that is easy to use and see and, therefore, easy to control.

What executives really need is better visibility of their factory floor activities, and a shop floor management system equips them with the oversight and control capabilities they require. Factory floor management software helps executives make sense of all factory floor data being collected. That way, they can see how effectively they’re using labor time and machine resources. As a result, they can also identify areas for making process improvements.

In a nutshell, a factory floor management system can take executives beyond data collection into improved information control. By functioning as a process improvement tool, it allows them to create quality data capture “templates” in a drag-and-drop environment to record measurements and identify nonconformance conditions.

With so many managerial capabilities at their fingertips, CEOs can no longer cry wolf that their jobs are difficult and time-consuming. As a result, the wide discrepancy between U.S. factory floor and boardroom salaries should be able to fall better in line with those in Asia.