Connecting the future

ARNO StoreManager at ITT Cannon creates order, more space and more productivity

Users save space and time and increase productivity using the StoreManager tool management system from ARNO Werkzeuge.
(PresseBox) ( Ostfildern, )
Since 1963, the Weinstadt-based company has produced high-quality connectors for complex connectivity solutions in data and power transmission. ITT Cannon develops and manufactures complete solutions with a large depth of production for the aviation, medical engineering, plant construction and automotive industries. Employees manufacture connector housings and pins on modern lathes, milling machines and machining centres. The numerous tools required in production are managed by a recently installed tool management system from ARNO Werkzeuge. This has a direct impact on productivity compared to the search times that were previously required to find tools.

“The StoreManager gives us more space in the machine shop, more space to store tools and more time for production,” summarises David Memmler. The engineer working in Mechanical Production at ITT Cannon GmbH immediately sees the benefits when he reviews output at the end of every shift. The time previously spent searching for tools is now devoted to production. “This was urgently needed in view of the full order books we have had over the past few years,” added Martin Deuschle, Head of Mechanical Machining in Weinstadt.

A footprint of a few square metres instead of several cabinets with tool removal and return round the clock

At ITT Cannon, connector housings mainly made of aluminium, contacts and pins made of brass or copper are produced in three shifts on lathes, milling machines and machining centres. Since 2017, machine operators quickly select inserts, milling cutters, drill systems and completely pre-assembled tools which they need from the StoreManager tool management system from ARNO Werkzeuge – “and return them to the same place,” stresses Memmler. The company installed one StoreManagerPro module, a Start drawer cabinet and three units of the new StoreManager Locker cabinet system containing large compartments. Completely pre-assembled machining tools are accommodated behind the 200mm wide and 150mm high black powder-coated swivel doors. This is possible as the compartments are 250mm deep and it considerably simplifies and speeds up tool configuration. Pre-configuration is something that a separate employee can carry out and it offers machine operators enormous time savings.

Depending on the configuration, the carousel system on the StoreManagerPro contains up to 2,160 storage places on shelves containing 1, 2, 3 or 4 compartments for controlled access, single removal and return. The software manages removal and return efficiently, reliably and smoothly. It also monitors stock levels and prepares documents for restocking. Larger and longer items are stored in the drawers of the StoreManagerStart. At ITT Cannon, this includes the clamping systems to match the tools. “We store about 9,000 items on a footprint of a few square metres. In some cases, several items are placed in a single compartment,” says Memmler.

Employee responsibility rises

Today, tools are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “This corresponds to how we need to work at present in order to complete orders.” In the past, employees had to count the tools used at the end of the day and enter this in spreadsheets. Today, this task is arranged by the software – totally and without gaps. There are practically no stock shortages any more. Each tool is distinctly assigned to the employee who ordered it to complete an order. “This creates obligations and traceability but also strengthens every employee’s sense of responsibility for the part which is removed,” assures Ulrich Wenzel, ARNO sales engineer. Memmler confirms this and speaks about previous practices at the company: “No more do we have ‘secret caches’ stashed at the machines. Neither are there any missing tools because re-orders failed to go out on time.

The machine operator or a specially deployed employee prepares the tools for the eight lathes and six machining centres for each job based on a set-up sheet. They are then supplied job-related to the machine on a trolley. “This practically rules out any possibility of confusion in tool selection,” assures Simon Lang, product manager of Tool Management Systems at ARNO Werkzeuge. “The StoreManager finds the right tool based on the scanned codes on the job data sheet and releases the related compartment by light signal. The hatch door then opens for the operator to remove the tool. On return, the system also finds a suitable empty cabinet compartment."

Small batches with frequent workpiece and tool changes

Production runs at ITT Cannon are usually small. In many cases, they range from 20 to 200 units and sometimes even 500 units. As a result, the machines need frequent retooling – with the right tools, of course. “This is where the StoreManager makes full use of its benefits,” promises Lang. But the system comprising software and cabinet compartments is also very helpful with large production runs. “The StoreManager then finds the right tool for the job. The process is always reliable no matter what the operator’s technical knowledge is. The scanner is incorruptible and the program never selects the wrong tool.”

The fact that the right tools are always stored for the job and machining process, such as inserts, grooving tools or drill systems, comes from many years of collaboration between ITT Cannon and ARNO Werkzeuge. That’s because ARNO Werkzeuge is based in Ostfildern. Deuschle adds: “Some time ago, we drastically streamlined our supplier structure down to three or four. Of course, we benefit from the fact that ARNO Werkzeuge not only sells but also offers vital support in selecting the right tools to cater for a new problem or a special machining process.”

StoreManager is a prime example of integration

This is all part and parcel of the job for Ulrich Wenzel. “When our customers are faced with new challenges, we manage to find the right solution based on our enormous pool of customers and machining processes and because of our many years of experience. As a result, we can recommend the best tools for a particular job – in the best case, we can make an offer straight away.” This is welcome news for Deuschle since “today, we no longer have to send off trial orders. In the past, we used to order 20 tools on spec from a supplier and then after trying out three or four, we found out that they were not suitable for a particular job. We no longer have to do this.” And if ever ARNO Werkzeuge is unable to supply the best tool for the job, then this is no problem for Simon Lang: “Our StoreManager can handle “integration” and can also manage tools made by other manufactures - safely and reliably.” In the end, every effort and solution should serve the interests of the manufacturer’s productivity.
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