Millennium Manufacturing Finds a Competitive Advantage

Millennium Manufacturing, located in Quakertown, PA, found that it was harder to compete on Swiss applications due to the huge number of Swiss job shops in the area. Additionally, its existing customers had applications for parts that were larger diameter and in materials not as well suited for their Swiss machines. Furthermore, the Swiss machines at Millennium Manufacturing required fairly extensive set-up times. Millennium Manufacturing saw a multi-axis fixed-headstock machine as a two-fold solution: 1. Opportunity to take on larger work and keep Millennium Manufacturing's philosophy of running parts complete without human intervention. 2. Run many existing parts at higher margins.

"We looked at most of the major brands of multi-axis fixed-headstock machines. We wanted one with live tooling, main spindle, and sub-spindle in order to do the parts complete. In addition, we wanted two turrets to improve cycle time," said Dave Fricke, president, Millennium Manufacturing.

Millennium Manufacturing had prospective machine suppliers propose a process and estimate the cycle time. "One machine, the Eurotech, had a much faster cycle time," said Dave Fricke. "The local distributor was only eight miles from our shop. We decided to go with the Eurotech for these two reasons: much faster cycle times, and local service."

"We have grown substantially since acquiring the Eurotech machines and are producing parts we never could do before. For example, the medical gas control valve Millennium Manufacturing produces has 27 operations, including small angled holes. We produce this from 1-1/4" stock complete and burr-free, all unattended."

The undersea fiber optic part Millennium Manufacturing makes is produced out of 5/8" 316 stainless steel. "This is a very tricky part that many shops would do on a Swiss machine," said Dave Fricke.

Fricke

"The undersea fiber optic part required too many tools for the Swiss to do complete. The Swiss had only four ID tools available for both the front and back. In order to spot drill, this part required five tools each on front and back. One of the internal diameters must be held to a total tolerance of 0.0003"; this would be extremely difficult to do on a Swiss considering the tolerance that must exist between the bar stock and guide bushing. Also, the set-up on the Swiss was too slow to be profitable. With the Eurotech, set-up was 48% faster and the tooling flexibility allowed the part to be completed without any secondary work."

The high voltage contact part manufactured at Millennium Manufacturing is made of a copper alloy. On the Swiss machine chip control was a major problem due to the compact size of the machining area. There were quality issues from the chips building up on the part. With the larger machining area of the Eurotech, Millennium Manufacturing was able to completely clear the chips and eliminate damaged parts.

Millennium Manufacturing has nine machines, four of which are Eurotech. The Eurotech machines feature twin turrets, sub-spindle, main spindle, Y-axis on the upper turret, C-axis on both main and sub-spindle, total of 8-axis. All Millennium Manufacturing equipment has the capability to run unattended producing complex parts. The machines are multi-axis with live tooling with the parts produced complete. No deburring, no manual, and no secondary operations. "Using the machine tool to its best advantage is the key," said Dave Fricke. "We develop programming that produces finished parts without human intervention. Once a human touches a part it introduces variation."

Fricke

Millennium Manufacturing, with one Swiss CNC machine, was founded in 1997 by Pete Vogel, who had worked in sales and management at a job shop, and Dave Fricke, who worked as a plant manager at a job shop. In 1999 they hired their first employee and now have six full time employees. Employees are given a full compensation package, medical, 401K, flex time, paid vacations, etc. They have three shifts working 24 hours a day, five days a week. The machines run unattended on the weekends. Their company philosophy is to be 100% CNC. The goal is to produce and ship parts without human intervention. "The company provides aggressive programming. Even if a secondary step would be faster, we will use a slower process if there is no human intervention required. We give owner-to-customer direct service to speed decisions and eliminate waste," said Dave Fricke.

"Eurotech, I think, was the first company to introduce the advance mill turn centers with multi axis machining with live tooling. It eliminates secondary operations. It is an extremely accurate and highly reliable process. As I mentioned before, our distributor is only eight miles away. Down time that most job shops experience, we don't. Their response isn't days, its minutes. This is a huge benefit. Face it, every machine will have to be serviced at some point and it is important that you have minimum of down times when you are looking at thousands of dollars a day. We have never had to wait on parts to be shipped from overseas. Eurotech keeps everything local." For more information contact:

Dave Fricke, President
Millennium Manufacturing
30 Pacific Drive
Quakertown, PA 18951
215-536-3006
Fax: 215-536-3009
E-Mail: dave.fricke@millenniummanufacturing.com

Jeff Walz, President
Eurotech
1150 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Brooksville, FL 34601
352-799-5223
Fax: 352-799-4662
E-mail: info@eurotechelite.com
www.eurotechelite.com