Understanding that technology and time-saving investments are the key to keeping up with increased customer demand has helped Century Tool and Gage become the large compression mold manufacturer that it is. This knowledge came in handy recently when CNC department manager Mickey Guckian saw that the company’s lineup of machines couldn’t accommodate large plates in an efficient manner. By investing in a gantry machining center from Quickmill, the company was able to handle such part sizes without the production bottleneck.
Located in Fenton, Michigan, Century manufactures compression molds and secondary tooling for the automotive, heavy truck, aerospace, agricultural and housing industries. The location accommodates more than 100 employees, 18 CNC machining centers, 29 CAD/CAM workstations and a try-out mold press facility.
The upswing in the North American automotive industry during the past several years has caused an increase in demand for Century’s services, such as manufacturing the large parts required for compression molds. Mold bases can measure 100 by 120 by 15 inches and weigh more than 25,000 pounds, and various mold plates can measure 100 by 150 by 4 inches and weigh more than 12,000 pounds. As orders for more parts began coming through the company’s door, the challenge became producing clamping, injection and pin plates efficiently. Century realized it needed a machine that was able to mill, drill and tap the large plates that were frequently taking up time on its C-frame roughing machines. Even with four CNC C-frame machining centers, two five-axis machining centers and two gantry machining centers, processing the plates still caused a bottleneck. The C-frame and five-axis machines were constantly running, milling molds and large plates, and the gantry machining center took as long as 15 hours per plate on the sizes it could accommodate.
Read more: Gantry Machine Streamlines Mold Production