Tag Archives: QMS provide rapid delivery on short- to medium-run parts of any material

Machining Precision Parts Requires Impeccable Attention to Detail

Ultimately, success in machining requires a team of highly proficient machine operators, tool makers, designers, engineers, project managers, technicians, and operations managers all working together to continuously achieve high quality products consistently. While CNC machines may do the tough work of cutting hard metals to tight tolerances, these tools are only as good as the team of dedicated professionals that drive performance and results. Attention to detail is everyone’s job.

Harbec’s roots in CNC machining run deep. Founded in 1977 as a general-purpose machine shop, Harbec initially specialized in the quick-turnaround of difficult to make parts. Today we operate over 40 vertical mills, horizontal lathes, and EDM centers on three shifts, producing small to medium volumes of high precision parts for customers worldwide. Our team readily works with customers to improve the manufacturability of prototypes and production parts, always striving for the best balance of function, cost and delivery.

Harbec’s CNC Machining Solutions are built upon four decades of experience. Three primary values of Harbec’s CNC Machining include: Accuracy/Quality, Speed, and Knowledge/Expertise. Harbec’s CNC Machining group has the knowledge and expertise to produce difficult, highly complex, and tight tolerance parts. With a strong project management discipline and proactive communications with customers, Harbec works hard to make sure customer requirements are always understood. Harbec actively uses its manufacturing knowledge for customers’ benefits.  Whether it is one part or mid-volume production parts, Harbec’s experienced team always strives for delivering the highest quality part, quickly.

A commitment to continuously improve operational excellence through innovation while providing manufacturing solutions for customers is a necessity in today’s ever changing world. Recently our CNC Machining has expanded,  particularly to serve the needs of medical device customers. Harbec is investing in facility modifications, new equipment (CNC machines), and continuous training of its employees at all job functions to ensure a high level of quality and attention to detail is carried through to the customer.

Harbec has 21 dedicated inspectors and engineers that work collaboratively within every business group, manufacturing process, and individual within the company so that customers continuously receive the level of service they have come to expect. For example, some of our medical customers require 100% inspection of their parts on all dimensions with tolerances of +/- .001. Our knowledgeable staff have written and executed Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ), and Performance Qualification (PQs) for these customers. Harbec also implements specific process inspections, tools and technologies,  through an integrated team dedicated to quality. Tools including microscopic deburring and  a vision system/CMM are used in combination as part of a robust inspection program.

In addition, Harbec continues to actively pursue certification toward the ISO 13485 Medical Device standard, a customer-facing and internal goal to demonstrate our commitment to deliver the finest parts to our valued customers.

So You Need Custom Injection Molded Parts Yesterday…

In our last blog we focused on speed-to-market solutions in prototypes and production machining. We also referenced a Quick Manufacturing Solutions (QMS) process for “managing the queue”, as a means of saving time and resources from design through production and part delivery.

This “one-stop” approach to development of precision molds and tools and production injection molding is highly valued. Our QMS process does not stop at model making and rapid prototyping. We help “manage the queue” with value-added materials selection and sourcing, design for manufacturing, secondary operations, and logistics support services. With a focus on customer solutions Harbec is always looking to improve our equipment, capabilities, and ability to provide tightly tolerance precision parts with 100% on-time delivery.

If you require mold making and production our proprietary QMS methods will provide rapid tooling which also reduces the time for mold making and the cycle time in production. This will save valuable time resulting in a reduction in total life-cycle manufacturing costs for the part. The QMS process enables our customers to be more agile and achieve their speed-to-market objectives.

A flexible approach to mold making leads master toolmakers to be experts in the use of cutting edge process equipment as they continually develop their craftsmanship and know-how to construct conventional steel molds or aluminum bridge tools. This deep cross-functional expertise required of toolmakers plus flexibility in design, equipment capabilities, materials, and skills allows for the best value molds and tools in the quickest amount of time.

Focusing on improving time to market needs and having awareness that most product life cycles are becoming shorter and shorter is critical.  To address both of these trends Harbec has developed what we call “hybrid” tooling solutions.  The hybrid solution balances strong structural steel with easily machined, very thermally conductive and extremely strong aluminum alloys designed specifically for production injection molds.  This combination gives an advantage on lead-time while also offering a tremendous advantage for reducing costs for the mold and parts due to improved cycle times.  Harbec has been working with a variety of aluminum alloys for more than 15 years and we are experts at providing affordable solutions, within a very short lead-time, combined with outstanding quality.

Approximately 60% of our production molds are made from aluminum. Aluminum has been a choice for many customers as it offers benefits for reducing the time to contrast the mold to the cycle time within the injection molding machine (aluminum has superior thermal conductivity which give us 25-40% faster molding cycles). In fact, aluminum molds can be achieved, on average, for half the machining costs of steel molds. Further, aluminum molds can be completed in two to four weeks instead of 10-14 weeks which is customary with steel. Additionally, the tolerances and molding quality of the same plastics are equal with aluminum as with steel. 

Advantages of Aluminum

Material Cost Lead Time Rated Cycles
QC10Aluminum Lowest 2–5 weeks 25,000 – +100,000¹
P20Tool Steel Midpoint 6–8 weeks +500,000
H13Tool Steel Highest 8–13 weeks +1,000,000

¹Rated Cycles – determined by:  part geometry; texturing; shut-offs; draft; material abrasiveness.

The art of planning and proactive project management are essential to success. Integrated teams provide customers with the best talent and know-how for their challenges.  To achieve short lead times Harbec uses only six mold-block sizes which can accommodate most any mold design and configuration our diversity of customers have required over the years. Those blocks are pre-machined and stored them for quick access. Having an inventory of materials like this can save critical minutes, hours, and days during a project. It is this kind of thinking and pre-planning that earns new business, and trusted partnerships in the manufacture of precision tools and molds and custom injection molded parts.

We frequently receive quotes for conventional and bridge tooling with very short lead times. Harbec understands the speed of business is dynamic and requires partners that can provide fast turn-around not just on quotes, but also on finished product. Contact us today to discover the power difference Harbec can make to your custom molds and injection molded parts.

Meeting the Challenges of 2014 and Beyond

As 2014 is officially upon us, we at HARBEC would like to thank our customers for their loyalty and trust, as we look ahead to another great year, and many more.

We’d also like to remind our clients, both old and new, that we believe your time is truly valuable, and as such, are committed to continuing to deliver solutions that save you time and money. We were one of the first rapid injection molding firms in the industry, having published our Quick Manufacturing Solutions (QMS) methods back in 1995. Our thoroughly researched and proven QMS provide rapid delivery on short- to medium-run parts of any material, without ever sacrificing quality.

These QMS methods offer rapid delivery with significant cost savings, high-quality first-run parts, reduced cycle times, less-stressed parts, and many more advantages—including access to our dedicated staff who are always happy to work closely with customers.

While focusing on quality and customer satisfaction is our number one priority, we also believe that this can and should be done in a socially-conscious, sustainable manner- at no additional cost to the customer. Our mission is to deliver high value  solutions while fostering respect for our environment, the global community, and everyone with whom we work. In fact, you can see how in our new mission video.

Our mission video isn’t the only new thing we’ve been working on introducing. Over the past year, our endeavors have included increased marketing efforts that are both concise and solutions-based, showcasing our ideals and our thought leadership. As of January, 2014, we will be sharing monthly newsletters, and will continue to bring these, along with regular videos to you, our dedicated customers/readers.

We’ve enjoyed meeting and exceeding any challenges that have come our way; no part is too small, no product is unmoldable, and no question is too tough. We invite you to continue to challenge us, and we welcome any and all questions, requests, and feedback going forward.

Happy New Year—we know it will be a great one.