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Return to: 2002 Feature Stories

CLIENT: AMADA CUTTING TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

September 2002: Manufacturing Engineering

COMPACTOR CRUSHES CHIP PROBLEMS

Established in 1977, AMRO Fabricating (S. El Monte, CA) is a manufacturer of aluminum skin panels used in space launch vehicles. The company fabricates panels for the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, as well as tooling, mechanical equipment, and ground support equipment. AMRO machines and welds metals such as aluminum and magnesium alloys, stainless steels, and super alloys such as Inconel. Its customers include Aerojet, Boeing, Hughes Space & Communications, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman and TRW Space and Technology.

According to vice president Steven M. Riley, chips from the exotic alloys machined at the company were becoming a problem.

"We considered shredders or bailers, but they just weren't suited to our requirements," he says. "Our volume of chips isn't high enough to justify them. And limited yard space, plus safety and plant cleanliness issues, meant numerous large roll-offs were not an option."

AMRO began looking for a chip compactor, eventually selecting the CCP-100 from Amada Cutting Technologies (Buena Park, CA). The compactor can handle almost any type of chip, from bandsaw and grinding to larger chips from milling and turning operations. It can process a variety of materials into compacted bricks 20-40 times smaller than the original chip size. It also separates and stores residual oil or coolant. With press power of 100 ton (890 kN), the machine can handle up to 132.4 gallons (500 L) of chips per hour.

"The chip compactor is processing about 250 lb [112 kg] of aluminum each day for us," Riley reports. "It's easy to use--we just turn it on and leave it alone."

The compactor produces chips that can be sold for a price about 30% higher than wet chips, according to Riley. It also reduces coolant costs by recovering 1448 gallons (5500 L) per month.

Riley says the device has also provided a number of other benefits. These include reduced labor costs and storage space requirements and improved operator safety and plant cleanliness. Labor cost reductions result from elimination of a full-time position to move chips from machines to the scrap bins and clean up the debris.

Now, a gantry helper simply dumps the tilt hopper every few hours into a 4'x 6 bin and immediately returns to help the operator. Large drop-offs in the yard have been replaced by the smaller bin in the shop, which is wheeled outside when full. And, coolant and chips on the floor have been eliminated.

Return to: 2002 Feature Stories