EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Global competition in manufacturing is driving companies to operate smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Glastonbury-based Flanagan Industries, a world-class producer of complex components used in the aerospace and land-based gas turbine industries, turned to Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT) to help gain a competitive edge through machining technology optimization.
“It’s difficult to dedicate internal resources to study how to improve our machining processes without pulling people away from critical day-to-day operations,” commented Bill Pennington, engineering manager, Flanagan Industries. “By working with CCAT’s team at their Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) in East Hartford, we were able to analyze several cutting and roughing operations offline. I supplied CCAT with my current tools and cutting paths and they were able to do the optimization work with virtually no down time for me.”
CCAT used Mastercam’s high speed toolpaths to create a toolpath for one operation on an aluminum part that increased the material removal rate while at the same time increased tool life. Engineers at CCAT’s AMC programmed the cutting paths and then proved out the solution in the Machining Applications Lab on one of their state-of-the-art machine tools, and achieved a nearly 43 percent reduction in run time. After discussing the results with Flanagan, the process was introduced to Flanagan’s machine operators. CCAT then worked with the company’s engineering department to implement the new process.
“The fact that CCAT works directly with our operators makes the job go smoothly,” said Pennington. “With the outstanding results we’ve seen through process and tooling optimization, our challenge now is to identify more projects that will have a major impact on the business and determine what we want to go after next.”
The strategy to focus on enhancing operations and increasing productivity through boosting the output of existing assets is a growing trend. “Process optimization and technology insertion protects companies from risking large capital outlays and makes them immediately more competitive in today’s high tech global market,” said Bob Torrani, director, manufacturing & supply chain initiative, CCAT.
“Our goal is to reduce costs and increase throughput while still maintaining the quality that our customers demand. In the global aerospace market, it is imperative that we continually step outside the box and look for new ways to help give us a competitive advantage while competing against low cost areas of the world,” stated Michael Barber, project manager & sales engineer, Flanagan Industries. “CCAT is an excellent resource for us. We introduce the CCAT team to our operators and they work together to make the project a success. CCAT has the expertise and technology, is easy to work with and the relationship has been very successful. It’s a win-win for all.”
Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., is a unique economic development organization that combines expertise in cutting-edge manufacturing technology with specialized centers of excellence in education, workforce strategy and alternative energy solutions to help organizations increase efficiencies, improve workforce development and boost competitiveness. CCAT promotes partnerships between industry, academia and government to create a new collaborative framework for tackling 21st century economic challenges.
ABOUT FLANAGAN INDUSTRIES
Flanagan Industries, headquartered in Glastonbury, Conn., is a global producer of large diameter, thin walled cases produced from a wide variety of high temperature alloys. Their components are used in both the aerospace and land-based gas turbine industries. Flanagan Industries was recently awarded the prestigious “UTC Supplier Gold” certificate. Founded in 1946 by the late Thom and Jim Flanagan, the company is still a private, family run business.