On September 1st, after much anticipation, a Toyoda horizontal milling machine arrived in the parking lot of Judson Smith.
This monstrous machine left its original home in Chicago on two separate trucks, arriving three days later. A 35-foot by 35-foot area was prepared for its arrival, the machine taking the majority of the space, with a walking area clearly marked around, which the Judson team calls the ‘circle of excellence’.
Why this machine, and why now?
According to Mike Howard, Judson’s President, the investment was made to solve a major capacity issue. A number of Judson’s machinists have been working 8-12 hour shifts to keep up with customer demands. “We project to double our machining business within two years.” Mike and all the Corporate Officers would like to thank all the folks that have been involved in this project and a deep-felt thanks to the amazing machinists on our staff who have worked so hard to keep up with the demands!
What is a milling machine?
It is a machine designed to cut metal with high precision. Judson uses milling machines to make orthopedic instruments primarily, although they have also been an important part of the supply chain for sister company Parmatech, machining key features into MIM components for our firearms business.
How does it work?
According to Russ Moser, Judson’s Machining Manager, the milling is a 12-palleted system. Each pallet holds what is called a “tombstone” which anchors the fixture that holds the metal (or “blank”) to be cut by the mill. Each tombstone can hold from one part to hundreds of parts, depending on the design.
How does this help?
This machine can be automated to take care of itself and run overnight, making our employees’ lives more flexible. Judson’s milling machine has the ability to hold extra replacement tooling, which means that when a tool wears out, the machine can pull an identical one from the tooling center and continue cutting without interruption. A special laser will monitor the wear of each tool, alerting the operator to the worn tool for replacement. This amazing machine will hold up to 280 tools!
What about Safety?
There are multiple safety features to ensure safe operation: for example, as soon as a door is opened, the machine will shut down. Once closed and restarted, it will pick up where it left off.
What is in the future?
This machine, and more importantly, the team that programs and runs it, will enable Judson Smith to accept s many new orthopedic instrument orders, and begin to branch out into other medical devices. As we grow our business, we can add on to the machine, making it as long as 160 feet, holding up to 204 pallets. Thank you to the whole team, and good luck on the new journey!