The upgrade and expansion provide the company with increased vertical integration while supporting the rapidly increasing volume with JIT manufacturing for AutoGuide’s best in the industry lead times.
Continuing with Heartland’s “Made in the USA” philosophy, the new machine shop equipment is also American made: with new CNC machining centers coming from Haas Automation (Oxnard, CA) and a waterjet from OMAX (Kent, WA).
The machines are programmed using Mastercam from 3D models created by engineering to make accurate machined parts more efficiently than previous methods requiring manual entry of coordinates. The milling machines all feature Renishaw tool and work probes that drastically reduce set up time as well as a common controller across all Haas machines so machinists can easily switch between machines. Advanced features like live tooling and a Y-axis on the lathe eliminate most secondary machining operations on turned parts.
The high precision of the OMAX waterjet can cut parts that previously required a milling machine and weldments can be designed with interlocking features to give high location accuracy and nearly eliminating the need for welding fixtures.
The increased capabilities, capacity, and efficiency will help support Heartlands growth plans right here in Kentucky. “modernizing our machine shop was crucial to increase our vertically integrated content and thus reduce our customer’s lead time,” said Robert Sullivan, President and CEO of Heartland Automation and AutoGuide Mobile Robots. “We have the best lead times in the industry, but we must continually improve via Kaizen methodologies.”