Machine Automation Makes Fabricator a Model Company | Sunsquare Skylights
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Machine Automation Makes Fabricator a Model Company

Overview

In their drive towards lean manufacturing and working within the Six Sigma quality-monitoring model, Sunsquare Ltd has purchased two elumatec SBZ 122 fully automated profile-machining centres.

Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in 1986 and is used in many industrial sectors. The model seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of errors and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

The term "six sigma" comes from statistics and is used in statistical quality control, which evaluates process capability.

The core principles are that: continuous efforts to achieve consistent and predictable process results (i.e. reduce process variation) are of vital importance to business success; manufacturing and business processes have characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, controlled and improved; and achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization, particularly from top-level management.

Features which make Six Sigma different from other quality monitoring and improvement models include: a clear focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns; an increased emphasis on management leadership and support; and decision-making based verifiable data and statistical methods, rather than assumptions and guesswork.

Managing director Justin Seldis said: “In order to achieve manufacturing capacity and operate within the Sigma Six model we needed the right tools for the job. This meant we not only need to be current but future facing. Barcoding, CAD software and CRM integration were not just buzzwords at Sunsquare – it’s how we wanted to work on a daily basis.

“We approached elumatec with our vision and asked for their help to achieve it. Bryan Dando, elumatec’s southern-based technical sales manager suggested we start by visiting their headquarters in Stutgart, Germany. He thought it would help both our companies build a long-term, mutually beneficial, working relationship by understanding each other’s facilities.

Our original intention was to purchase one very large capacity fully automated profile machining centre but following our discussions with Michael Dehm during the visit to elumatec Germany it became apparent that our needs would be much better met by having two, smaller-capacity machines sited inline hence the purchase of two SBZ 122 profile machining centres.

“Our visit to elumatec Germany was not just beneficial in helping us select the correct machines, it also opened our eyes to some of the ways a fully integrated working environment could benefit both customers and staff. elumatec’s on-site vending systems for tools enables their machine operators to quickly access the hand tools they need and their underground ‘dumb waiter’ transports parts around the 335,500 square foot site without interruption.

While Sunsquare Ltd doesn’t currently operate from premises of this size we have been able to apply our learning to the business. We saw that by streamlining chains of communication we could save time and reduce the potential for errors. As such, we linked the new machines’ eluCAD software to our CRM software. Now our customers can telephone for a quote that can be converted into an order and the details sent straight to our new elumatec machine via eluCAD production software. A customer’s order can be in manufacture before they have finished on the phone!

“The integration functions of the SBZ 122s, along with their efficiency, flexibility and quality of finish all contribute to our Sigma Six way of working. This would not be possible without elumatec’s understanding of our business needs as well as their support to help us achieve our manufacturing targets.”

James Boughton established Sunsquare Ltd, which is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 2004. The company specializes in the design and manufacture of high quality skylights. Through intelligent design and a diligent approach to maintaining quality, Sunsquare soon gained a favoured reputation within the industry. The firm has continued to grow and now employs forty-two people.

Sunsquare can be contacted on +44 (0)1284 723377.

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