Author Archives: Danny

  1. Lights Out Manufacturing

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    Hogge Precision Parts Co., Inc. provides contract manufacturing services using computer numerical control (CNC) and screw machining equipment. Our extensive portfolio of machining centers combined with our 42,000-square-foot manufacturing facility allows us to deliver custom components for a wide range of industries. For most applications, we are capable of providing what is known as “lights out” manufacturing services. 
    Lights out manufacturing describes fully automated production that keeps running even after employees have gone home. Utilizing lights out manufacturing methodology, Hogge Precision Parts is able to deliver machined components on time and at highly competitive prices. Let’s take a closer look at lights out manufacturing, along with its benefits and challenges.

    What is Lights Out Manufacturing?

    Lights Out Manufacturing

    Friday afternoon, everyone has gone home but our machines are still running.

    Lights out manufacturing is a production method that requires minimal or no human interaction beyond initial programming and tooling setup. To create a lights out operation, significant portions of the manufacturing process must be automated so extensively that the equipment continues production even after all workers have left the building and turned and turned off the lights—hence the name. The automated machinery handles the physical production aspect, while human workers plan production schedules, manage the facility, maintain equipment, and program the automated machine tools and other assets. 

    Benefits of Lights Out Production

    There are many benefits to lights out production methods, with one of the most significant ones being cost reduction. Since the machines work continuously, a lights out facility’s manufacturing capacity increases greatly while total production costs diminish. Efficiency is also maximized in lights out manufacturing operations since fully automated machines can work without stopping. 

    Additionally, the accuracy and precision of automated machine tools creates end products that are highly consistent, with little need for rework or secondary processing in many situations.

    Challenges of Lights Out Production

    Lights Out Manufacturing

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    While lights out production comes with many significant benefits, there are also a number of challenges. Fully autonomous manufacturing environments need to address these key issues in order to deliver accurate and reliable services. 

    • Reliable off-site accessibility. Even with the most advanced automated manufacturing technology, unforeseen issues can always arise. When they do, human intervention is needed. Operators must be able to access production equipment remotely from an internet-connected device. Incorporating an effective manufacturing execution system (MES) and robust connectivity hardware infrastructure will ensure visibility into real-time production data even when no one is present in the production facility. 
    • Safety and reliability. Since no workers are present during lights out manufacturing, there is no one around to address potential failures or malfunctions during off-hours. By employing an MES solution, staff gets notified about the need for maintenance should the equipment fall below its expected Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).  The MES can also help to manage preventative maintenance schedules to proactively avoid issues. 
    • Technical challenges. Lights out manufacturing requires a high degree of technical proficiency. For example, connecting older machines to a new MES to run them in a lights out capacity may require overcoming a variety of glitches and obstacles. Getting set up for lights out may require bringing in a systems integrator that can make sure all relevant systems communicate with each other. 
    • Economy of scale. Developing a lights out production facility requires a significant financial investment and overcoming numerous operational hurdles to reach a point where everything functions optimally. As a result, a lights out setup might not be a worthwhile undertaking for small-scale production facilities. 

    Lights Out Manufacturing With Hogge Precision

    Lights out manufacturing is a highly beneficial process that can be used to produce a large selection of components. Experienced lights out facilities can deliver key benefits to customers, such as reduced production times, extreme production efficiency, and lower labor costs. 

    Hogge Precision Parts Co., Inc. has been delivering reliable contract manufacturing services since 1989. Our lights out manufacturing capabilities allow us to deliver precision components at competitive prices for a wide range of industries. To learn more or get started on your manufacturing solution, contact us or request a quote today.

  2. The Advantages of Reshoring

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    For the last few years, many manufacturing companies have been focused on reshoring their operations. This process of bringing manufacturing back to the United States and away from overseas facilities helps companies save time, money, and complications, and it’s a powerful way to strengthen the U.S. economy. It brings more jobs back to local communities, builds a skilled workforce, and helps to balance the country’s trade and budget deficit. 

    The pandemic highlighted the weaknesses associated with offshore manufacturing, including delays and other supply chain disruptions, and many manufacturing companies accelerated their plans to reshore. They’re already experiencing the benefits:

    Greater Control Over Production and Higher Quality Products

    Offshore facilities are operating under the rules and regulations present in that country—which may not be as strict as the regulations in the United States. That could (and often does) mean lower production quality, poorer working conditions, and less environmental responsibility. 

    By reshoring manufacturing, you bring your production process closer to home—and closer to your consumers. You can keep an eye on production, rather than trusting another team in another facility half a world away, to uphold your standards. If you have a problem with a product manufactured in an offshore facility, you may not realize it for months. By that time, you probably have another shipment on the way and another order nearing completion in the factory. That’s wasted time, wasted materials, and wasted money. With a local supplier, issues can be addressed more effectively due to proximity.  

    Decrease Unemployment

    Unemployment skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses shut down and many former employees had no other options. Reshoring manufacturing opens up a variety of skilled jobs right here at home, creating a positive butterfly effect that enhances the economy by strengthening households and entire communities. Supply chains are continuing to face disruptions, which is encouraging more companies to shorten their supply chains and keep their operations close to home—opening up more jobs for U.S. workers. 

    Shorter Lead Times

    The Advantages of Reshoring

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    Products created overseas have to be transported from the facility, over the ocean, through a U.S. port for inspection and approval, and to the customer via trucks and planes. It’s a process that takes time even when it all goes smoothly: with even one disruption or mistake, the entire chain is slowed. 

    If you manufacture that same product in the United States, you’ve eliminated an enormous part of the process. There’s no coordinating the transport of the products from the factory to the boat, no overseas shipping, no U.S. customs. You simply transport your finished product from your facility to the retail store or directly to the customer. You save time and money while reducing your carbon footprint and enabling yourself to fulfill orders more quickly. 

    Reshoring has been trending for years, but the pandemic highlighted the need to bring manufacturing back to the United States. While offshoring can sometimes be a way for companies to save money on labor and materials costs, those savings, in general, no longer make up for the inconvenience and expense of the communications challenges, shipping, and the risk of delay and disruption.

    Furthermore, consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental costs of overseas shipping, the poor working conditions in many overseas factories and the opportunities companies have to provide jobs within their communities. Demand for American-made products will continue to grow. 

    Working with Hogge Precision

    Located in South Carolina, Hogge Precision manufactures high-quality custom parts for a number of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, defense,  plumbing, medical, and more. Our extensive capabilities are housed in a 42,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, and we operate under an ISO 9001:2015 QMS registered system to ensure we meet or exceed your expectations. Contact us to learn more about our capabilities, skilled craftsmen, , and friendly, attentive customer service, or request a quote for your project. 

  3. Aluminum Precision-Machined Components

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    Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a computer-aided manufacturing process used to create a wide range of parts and components for volumes ranging from prototyping through full-scale production. CNC machining is often the preferred method for manufacturing precision parts from aluminum. Aluminum is one of the most commonly used materials for its many favorable physical properties.

    Properties of Aluminum Machined Components

    Aluminum is generally a soft, durable, nonmagnetic metal with unique thermal and mechanical capabilities. Some of the beneficial properties of this material that make it a great choice for machined components include:

    • Ductility and malleability. As a highly malleable metal, aluminum is easily machined and relatively easy to shape and drill. 
    • Versatility. There are a myriad of grades of aluminum and aluminum alloys, each designed with specific characteristics to meet differing needs.
    • Resistances. Aluminum features a variety of excellent resistances to corrosion and most chemicals. When exposed to air, a thin, protective layer of oxidation forms on the surface of the metal, protecting it from further oxidation. Aluminum is also highly resistant to harsh chemicals, including most acids.
    • Strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratio makes it an ideal material for transportation applications. Aluminum alloys have the strength and durability needed for critical components, while the metal’s light weight reduces fuel consumption and emissions.
    • Conductivity. Aluminum has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity properties. Aluminum is commonly used for major power transmission lines and is an excellent material for heat sink applications, such as computers, that require heat to be drained away rapidly. Aluminum is also a good reflector of heat and visible light, making it useful in lighting applications.
    • Non-toxic. Aluminum is a non-toxic, odorless metal, which makes it popular for use in pharmaceutical and food production. 

    Common Aluminum Components and Applications

    At Hogge Precision, we specialize in precision CNC machining aluminum parts and components for use in an expansive range of industries. Some of the sectors we commonly work with include:

    • Automotive
    • Aerospace & Defense
    • Construction
    • Energy
    • Fluid, air, and motion control
    • Industrial
    • Manifolds
    • Pharmaceutical
    • Power distribution
    • Transportation 

    Our aluminum CNC machining capabilities enable us to produce a diverse range of precision machined components and assemblies, including castings, manifolds, die castings, forgings, specialty valves, and transmission and switching components. 

    With our precision capabilities, the team at Hogge Precision can custom manufacture aluminum CNC parts to meet any unique or complex project requirement. Learn more about our most recent projects and the solutions we created:

    Aluminum Machined Parts from Hogge Precision

    At Hogge Precision, we specialize in manufacturing standard and custom components from aluminum and many other materials. Alloys include 2011, 2024, 6061, 6262, 7075, as well as lead-free alloys 2033 and 6026. We have a wide range of capabilities, including CNC milling, CNC turning, Swiss machining, and screw machining.

     As a full-service supplier, we offer multiple secondary services as well, such as KANBAN inventory management, custom barcode labeling, electroplating, anodizing, dry film lube, paint, heat treating services, and more. Our manufacturing facility is ISO 9001:2015-certified for quality management, ensuring that we produce only the highest quality parts.

    To see how our precision aluminum part capabilities can support your project, please contact us or request a quote today.

  4. Conventional CNC Turning vs. Swiss CNC Turning

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    Swiss turning and traditional Computer Numerical Control (CNC) turning are two different ways used to machine parts made of metal or other raw materials. Specifically, machining is the process of removing material from a workpiece and shape it into its intended design. Both Swiss turning and CNC turning function by spinning materials at high speed and using cutting tools to shape the material into the desired part. This practice has been around for many years but has become more versatile with new technologies. These practices are crucial to many different industries for their ability to engineer metal and plastic parts efficiently and precisely.

    In this post, we will give you information regarding:

    • Conventional CNC turning what it is, how it can be applied, and why it is useful
    • Swiss CNC turning what it is, how it can be applied, and why it is useful
    • Comparative advantages: what these processes have in common and how they are useful to your industry
    • Which type to use how the advantages of these practices apply to you

    What Is Conventional CNC turning?

    Conventional CNC Turning is a process in which the bar stock rotates in a fixed position and the cutting tool’s position is driven by servo-controlled motors, typically in the X and Z axes. The process allows for highly accurate movements. Commercial metalworking machines feature standard closed-loop controls that provide accuracy, speed, and durability. 

    Advantages and Features of Conventional CNC Turning:

    This type of conventional turning is better suited for shorter, large-diameter parts with tight tolerances or difficult materials. It is ideal for many applications including:

    • Forgings
    • Castings
    • Bar Stock
    • Sawed Slugs
    • Anything with a diameter larger than ¾ inch

    What Is Swiss CNC turning?

    Swiss CNC turning is a process that feeds rotating bar stock through a guide bushing. No matter how long the workpiece, the turning tool always cuts the stock near the bushing or the point of support. The machine then feeds this past the spindle and past the tool as it goes, making Swiss-type effective for long and slender turned parts.

    Advantages and Features of Swiss CNC Turning

    Swiss CNC turning has an advantage in that during the turning process, the material is supported close to the tools cutting it. Using a guide bushing, the workpiece is pushed through and into tools while preventing deflection of the workpiece. 

    Some ideal applications for Swiss screw machining are:

    • Long parts and small-diameter parts under 0.750 in.
    • Connector components
    • Watch parts
    • Shafts
    • Metal devices and implants

    Learn more about the benefits of CNC swiss screw machining to see if its the best process for your specific project.

    Which Turning Process Should I Use?

    If you need something with minimal bending or your project has high volumes of small, cylindrical pieces with extremely tight tolerances, then Swiss CNC turning would be the best process for you. On the other hand, Conventional CNC turning offers high repeatability, precision, versatility, and speed manufacturing. 

    Hogge Precision can help you determine which process is best for your project. Contact us for a quote today.

  5. Benefits of Robotic Machine Tending

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    Industries around the world are turning to robotic machinery as they seek to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution. Robotics make production processes more efficient, safer, and more cost-effective while reducing waste. Even facilities with existing automation technology can realize new benefits as robots become more intelligent and capable of handling multiple tasks. 

    Let’s take a closer look at the advantages robotic machinery can provide to your production facility.

    Consistent High Quality Production

    A guarantee of consistent quality is one of the most significant benefits offered by robotic machinery. Human operators may become tired or lose focus over the course of a shift, but robots will follow the same production orders repeatedly without variations in quality or accuracy. 

    Smarter, more integrated robots can also monitor the workpieces through the product cycle to check for errors and adjust their processes to compensate. 

    As robotic machinery continues to evolve, it takes on more tasks with less need for human intervention between each stage. For example, a completely automated process will move workpieces from one machine to another, properly place it for the next step, and inspect the finished piece for quality concerns.

    CNC machinery and multi-purpose robots can produce goods using a variety of different tools and processes. Instead of having one robot that follows one unchanging set of directions per task, modern robotic machinery can fluidly change from one step to the next. Ultimately, robotics improve product quality by reducing defect rates and offering consistently reliable performance.

    Decreased Production Costs

    Robotic machine tending noticeably reduces production costs in two ways: 

    • Per-unit efficiency. Robots reliably produce goods with fewer errors. More comprehensive robotic setups can remove any risk of human error entirely. This lowers the per-unit cost of a production run. Even better, machinery can process raw goods and workpieces more precisely, resulting in less waste and tighter material estimates.
    • Facility efficiency. Robots reduce the production costs of an overall facility. They can work 24/7 without flagging or pausing without incurring the same labor costs and overhead as human employees, such as health insurance, liability insurance, wages, and other costs. Facilities can increase production without increasing staff size, which in turn lowers administrative and HR costs.

    Lights-out or dark factory manufacturing underlines this key benefit of robotic machine tending. Robots can operate without direct human oversight, so facilities can extend production hours through the night. Even better, the facilities don’t need to maintain the same conditions as human-operated facilities: the lights can be out, climate control can be adjusted to meet ideal production standards without catering to human comfort, and the facility has greater energy efficiency. 

    Many facilities, rather than operating on a continual lights-out basis, use the lights-out mentality between shifts so humans can reset the machine programs and move finished products off the factory floor. As robotic machinery continues to develop, these “lights-on” intervals will become increasingly unnecessary.

    Multiple Specialized Machining Operations

    As machinery becomes more complex and can learn larger sets of increasingly specialized skills, they can take on more tasks commonly reserved for skilled human employees. A complex robotic system can handle a variety of tasks, including:

    • Welding
    • Tooling
    • Material handling
    • Testing
    • Packaging
    • Dispensing
    • Tracking

    Using advanced robotic machinery that can handle multiple tasks doesn’t just give production companies the ability to add more services to their lists of offerings. Single robotic stations that can handle multiple tasks help to optimize in-demand floor space in a production facility. 

    Companies that invest in multi-functional robotics will realize financial benefits both immediately and in the long run over the life of the robotic systems.

    Limit Hazardous Environment Exposure For Human Workers

    Liability poses one of the largest risks for any manufacturing operation—specifically, the risk of injury to human employees in dangerous environments. Field production sites can be hazardous, unpredictable, and may expose human workers to dangerous chemicals or other environmental factors. Even controlled environments such as warehouses and distribution centers pose a large risk for companies due to the risk of repetitive stress injuries and workplace accidents. 

    Robotic machinery works unimpeded in potentially dangerous environments. Reducing or eliminating manual labor at industrial worksites is a great way to reduce overall expenses, legal liability, and associated healthcare costs.

    Robotic Machine Tending at Hogge Precision

    Robotic machine tending isn’t just a niche development for highly specialized production centers. It’s an integral part of the fourth industrial revolution and an accessible improvement for every production facility. Investing in robotics can increase production quality, reduce expenses, increase manufacturing capabilities, and reduce the risk of employee injury. 

    Hogge Precision specializes in producing high-quality CNC and screw-machined products, as well as value-added services. We have more than 30 years of experience completing custom projects and manufacturing complex parts for industry.  With the addition of robotic machine tending, we continue to build on our reputation for quality and service. Request a quote today to source parts for your next project or to learn more about our services and capabilities. 

  6. Multi-Axis CNC Machining

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    Multi-axis computer numerical control (CNC) machining employs advanced machining equipment and tooling that accommodates motion in four or more directions to facilitate the manufacture of precision parts with complex geometries. Compared to other machining techniques, the process offers greater manufacturing flexibility and tighter tolerances due to its ability to process multiple part sections with a single machine setup.

    At Hogge Precision Parts, we offer a wide range of multi-axis machining services. Equipped with state-of-the-art CNC multi-axis turning centers and vertical and horizontal machining centers, our expert team has the tools needed to meet all of our customers’ machining needs.

    When Should I Use Multi-Axis CNC Machining?

    Multi-axis machining is a highly versatile manufacturing process suitable for use in a variety of industrial and commercial projects. It is particularly useful for the following machining needs:

    1. Machined Parts with Medium to Complex Geometry

    Some industries—such as aerospace, automotive, medical, mold and die, and oil and gas—employ parts and products with highly complex shapes, geometries, and surfaces. The manufacture of these components—e.g., impellers, turbines, and steering parts—necessitates the use of multi-axis machining as the process accommodates machining operations on 4-5 axes and can produce the highly specific part angles necessary.

    2. Flexible Engineering Solutions

    The versatility of the multi-axis machining process makes it well-suited for use in industries that require design flexibility, such as aerospace and mold and die manufacturing. In these industries, design engineers need to create parts and products to suit highly complex systems and applications. Multi-axis machining provides them with a manufacturing solution that can accommodate these more complicated designs.

    3. Low-Volume, High-Mix Production

    Many industries are turning away from large volume production orders to repeat orders of smaller quantities. Multi-axis CNC machining lends itself to this business practice as parts can be produced quickly to meet changing customer demand reducing the risk of excessive inventory.

    4. High Precision, Accuracy, and/or Complexity Workpieces

    The multi-axis machining process is ideal for industries that require high-precision, high-complexity parts, such as the aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical, and semiconductor industries. It can produce durable parts that meet high quality, accuracy, and performance standards. The use of computerized controls and tooling ensures that the parts produced fit the required specifications and remain consistent from one piece to the next and between batches.

    5. Projects Requiring Reduced Lead Times and Improved Efficiency

    Some machining projects have tighter time constraints or more thorough efficiency requirements than others. As the multi-axis CNC machining process can perform multiple operations with a single setup, it can significantly reduce downtime and improve overall lead time.

    Benefits of Using Multi-Axis CNC Machining

    Compared to other machining and manufacturing processes, the multi-axis CNC machining process offers a broad range of benefits, such as:

    • Faster manufacturing operations
    • Lower manual labor costs
    • Reduced material waste/usage
    • Greater precision, accuracy, and repeatability
    • Higher production efficiency
    • Broader part design and manufacturing flexibility
    • Capacity for continuous and mass production operations

    Hogge Precision: Industry-Leading Multi-Axis CNC Machining Services

    Hogge Precision Parts Co., Inc. offers industry-leading CNC turning and milling services. Our fully equipped manufacturing facility allows our operators to meet tolerances as tight as ±.0005 inches. To learn more about our CNC turning and milling capabilities, see further details below. For more information about our other services, contact us today.

    A chart that explains why you should use multi-axis CNC machining.

  7. Benefits of CNC Swiss Screw Machining

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    The use of a screw machine or automated lathe to machine small, turned parts for industrial applications has been standard for decades. Made of a hollow spindle and cams, a screw machine removes material from a block of metal to create multiple small parts.

    Screw machines are used today to make parts for IT, automotive, and consumer electronics products. Because they are flexible and can handle most types of metals, screw machines have a wide range of uses.

    (Click to expand)CNC swiss screw machining benefits

    Types of Swiss Screw Machines

    There are two main types of Swiss screw machines in use today.

    Automatic Swiss screw machines use a disc cam to rotate tools toward the workpiece area, which is held in place with several spindle collets positioned side by side. Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines use a CNC unit to control the tools, which allows parts to be made to exacting specifications. CNC Swiss screw machines, which are also known as CNC lathes, can work on multiple axes for fast results.

    Screw machines, both automatic and CNC driven, can take some time to set up properly, but are cost effective when producing multiple parts. They are typically not an ideal solution for one-off prototyping. However, because of the wide variety of metals they work with, they are a flexible choice when creating parts from different types of metals.

    Benefits of the CNC Swiss Machine

    CNC machining offers a level of control that may not be possible with an automatic Swiss screw machine. The CNC unit permits the use of tools on multiple axes, allowing more sets of tooling for both turning and milling. Cycle times are reduced and more detailed parts can be created with the use of CNC abilities.

    Many operations can be performed in a shorter period of time using a CNC Swiss machine. A CNC Swiss screw machine can rotate a part at up to 10,000 RPM with an accuracy level of 0.0002 to 0.0005 inches. In addition to being more precise, a CNC Swiss lathe reduces waste and gives more flexibility when machining a specific part.

    Using Automatic and CNC Swiss Screw Machines

    Both automatic and CNC Swiss screw machines cost effectively produce multiple small, turned parts for a variety of industries. Hogge Precision uses numerous Swiss-style turning lathes to create small diameter parts from most types of metal. We can run metal bar stock up to 12 ft. long and 1.25 in. in diameter and meet tolerances as tight as ±.0005 in.

    Hogge Precision serves a wide range of industries including defense, energy, medical, power distribution, and other industrial applications.  Parts we have successfully manufactured using swiss style screw-machining include brass, aluminum, and stainless steel components for IT and Electrical; brass and stainless steel components for Medical; and aluminum and stainless steel products for the Automotive industries.

    We use a certified ISO quality management system to guarantee that our parts exceed your specifications. If you need parts created that are cost effective and delivered quickly, we will meet your requirements. Contact us today for all your swiss and screw machining needs.