Do you know the most successful Rolls-Royce ad of all time? “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” Although it’s not said directly, it’s clear that everything in that car works so quietly and smoothly that you don’t even notice it. At Simalex, we believe that all equipment should work the same way: precisely, like clockwork, although making a lot of noise. Here’s a sneak peek into the equipment we use, how we maintain it, and why it matters to you, the customer.
The high quality of die casting parts means they’ll serve you longer. That’s why we do our best to deliver superior quality, and part of the equation is the machinery we rely on: good quality means a longer service life and less downtime, which together keep product shipments on time and part prices in line. Every day we use Die Cast Machines, CNC Machines, Grinding Stations, Trim Presses, Drill Presses. We also utilize Vibratory Finish Machines when a higher quality of finishing is required. These machines are designed for the surface finishing of a multitude of parts and are used for deburring, smoothing, polishing, cleaning and preparing surfaces for better paint adhesion.
To ensure that the die casting parts we produce meet high-quality standards, we plan a wide range of maintenance activities. We are proud to have a cross-trained team of Toolmakers/Machinists and Millwrights to maintain our equipment and occasionally bring in our equipment manufacturer service techs for major work or initial installations. We also have preventative and emergency maintenance plans in place that allow us to keep track of the usage levels and avoid unexpected scenarios.
The primary focus of our maintenance attention is Die Cast Machines because they have the most parts that need more regular replacement, for example, solenoid valves and hydraulic filters. Another demanding part is hydraulic pumps that often need rebuilding since natural wear and tear are far more common than with other hydraulic products.
An important note: rebuilding a hydraulic pump does not always mean that it is a “repaired” unit. It only signifies that a used or failed product is dismantled, then the reasons for the failure are identified, and the failed components and parts are replaced. The pump is then built and assembled again. Finally, a rebuilt pump must go through the dynamic testing process to make sure it has the same engineering specifications — in terms of flow, pressure, and leakage — as a new one.
Cleaning also falls into several categories: every shift, our professional die casters grease, refill, and clean the machines. Furnaces are also cleaned every shift, while the deep clean happens twice a year. The last step of each run is polishing, cleaning and greasing all die-cast tools.
Vibratory Finishing machines and Belt Sanders typically need bearings changed or tub lining and hubs replaced. One thing we do to minimize possible downtime is keeping enough stock of all the parts and necessary items that need regular replacement. When it comes to CNC machines, maintenance is scheduled and performed by the reseller since it requires deep technical expertise and regular experience.
PEOPLE AND TRAINING
Coming back to the car topic, if you don’t know how to drive, a Rolls-Royce or a Porsche will be of no use. Die Cast Machines also require special training, which usually takes about six months. To master the machines, a newbie Die Caster will spend the first two months working alongside a veteran until they’re ready to operate on their own. However, there’re no fixed time limits, and the decision of whether a trainee is ready is unique to each person and agreed upon between the veteran, production manager and the new die caster.
Other types of equipment are more straightforward. After a safety orientation, people can typically operate on their own with specific guidelines and understand that if anything goes wrong, they must not attempt to fix it but instead seek help. We have a buddy system at Simalex for new employees. It means that they can resort to the same person when they start in case any concerns with a machine they are operating arise.
Now you know more about what happens behind the scenes at Simalex. We’ll be happy to answer all questions you might have about die casting and how it can support your projects, so feel free to reach out to the Simalex team.