Brazilian Romi got efficiency through flexibility
Brazilian machine tools manufacturer Romi has optimised its production process by introducing flexible manufacturing system (FMS) units. Seco Tools was involved in the change, supplying the necessary milling cutters.
Guilherme de Abreu knows all about optimising production processes. As Machining and Processes Engineering Supervisor at Industrias Romi, his daily work revolves around the three MCX 900 horizontal machining units that make up Romi’s new flexible manufacturing system (FMS). From its base in Brazil, Romi uses the equipment to manufacture components for its entire range of machine tools as well as its and plastic injection and blow moulding machines.
Romi’s involvement with FMS started in 2011 when it acquired the German machine tools manufacturer Burkhardt + Weber (B + W). Abreu, who is responsible for Romi’s FMS units, then spent four months at B + W developing Romi’s FMS project together with the German engineering team.
Romi produced the first components on its newly installed FMS units in April 2014. The production of the components at the Romi production unit at Santa Bárbara d`Oeste, São Paulo State, made the company the first Brazilian machine tools manufacturer to use FMS. Today, Romi produces some 30 different components on the FMS units, medium-sized parts for the whole range of the company’s machine tools, such as engine and CNC lathes, turning and machining centers.
Supply Chain Manager Fernando Marcos Cassoni says there are plans to further expand the concept. “We are constantly transferring the production of further components to the FMS units,” he says. “This is happening at a rate of one component item per week until we reach 150 components.” Romi plans to increase machine running times from today’s eight-hour shifts up to three shifts, allowing for round-the-clock operation by the end of 2015.
Shifting production to the FMS has huge advantages. The machines feature a magazine for 390 different tools and an automatic feed system for parts and fixtures. “The FMS allows us to reduce the production set-up time to zero”, says Abreu. “Before the FMS, each machine set-up took us between three and four hours, forcing us to produce a whole batch of each component item instead of the number actually needed. This built up unnecessary stock.”
This benefit is on top of the FMS’s increased reaction speed to demand variation, which helps to avoid unproductive intervals. The new technology has made it possible to shorten manufacturing periods by up to 30 percent. Cassoni explains, “We started the FMS project because we needed more flexibility in our production process. The machinery and equipment markets are our core business and demand rapid solutions. So, we need to deliver rapid and customized, unique solutions.”
However, flexibility alone isn`t enough to achieve high productivity. “The FMS high-speed procession requires high-end tools, and fortunately Seco has them,” says Cassoni. Guilherme de Abreu adds, “Our decision to bring Seco into our FMS project was due to the high quality and reliability of its cutting tools as well as its excellent support. We knew this from previous projects.”
Claudenir Paro Junior is Seco Tools Brazil’s Component Engineered Tooling Coordinator. “We joined the project in its development phase, as we had to make sure that our products would be able to respond to all requirements,” he says. “As Romi produces a wide range of different components on the same machine, our job was to adapt our tools so they would work perfectly within the different set-ups.”
Seco Tools now supplies all the milling cutters used by Romi’s FMS units, and it provides support for the ongoing expansion of the FMS. Cassoni says speed and quality will be even more important moving ahead. “Brazil makes up about 70 percent of Romi’s sales, and it’s a difficult market, especially now with the economy going through hard times,” he says. “You have to work harder and be even more flexible to become as competitive as need.”
Further investment is planned, focusing on automation of all production processes, including miniload and further logistic solutions. “Brazil’s economy often suffers from a lack of investments in innovative solutions. But we do things differently,” says Cassoni, showing the same entrepreneurial spirit that has brought Romi to the vanguard of modern production processes.
By Thomas Milz Photos by Luiz Maximiano
Indústrias Romi S. A., founded in 1930, is the Brazilian machinery and industrial equipment market leader. Exporting to five continents, Romi`s core markets include Latin and North America as well as Europe, with representations in England, Spain, Germany, France, USA, Mexico and China, supplying various industrial sectors such as oil, gas, mining, tooling, machining, automobile and aircraft as well as metallurgy.
Seco at Romi
Romi’s decision to choose Seco Tools as a supplier for its FMS project was based on the two companies working together successfully on previous projects.
Seco supplies Romi with more than 100 milling cutters for the FMS units, including Square 6TM, Double OctomillTM and carbide cutters. It also
supplies custom tooling.
Read more about Romi at romi.com