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Skidding machines, Sounds Simple Enough

Skidding machines, one of the most difficult jobs when it comes to IMTS. We call it packing ten pounds in a 5 pound bag. We have talked about in previous blog postings about the jigsaw puzzle that our truck is, but fitting everything on the skids is an art form. On the bigger projects like the bedrock we have the machine, JIC Cabinet and coolant filter. We fit all of that on a 64” x 96” skid. Nothing can hang off especially on the 96” dimension as it would hang off the side of the truck.
We keep all of our machines on the skids at the show. If you look at the show photos you will see that they are all on platforms, these are the skids, we pop off a tiled side and the forklift can just get under it and drive away. Easy. We do not need any spotting of machines which saves around $2500.00 in rigging costs on the inbound and outbound. It also saves a ton of time. The machines come off the truck, and get put right into the chalk line markings. Truck to booth and spotted, less than 5 minutes per machine
On Saturday we skidded all of our machines, plus packed a few other Miscellaneous Skids for Saturdays ship date. With the Help of 6 guys this is the equivalent of asking your buddies to help you move for the 12th time in a year. Not a fun job, but it has to get done. During the course of the morning we found a few things:

  • A misplaced cross beam means we get out the Herman Munster Homemade Sledge Hammer ( 4×4 Steel block Welded to a 4’ long pipe)  to put another cross beam into the skid.
  • It is possible to get stuck under a skid trying to put a bolt in. I will forever think I was set-up for the photo that is shown here. They had to pull me out by the feet.
  • Sometimes the best laid plans and autocad layouts just do not work out as originally planned.
  • Bedrock + Coolant and Filter+ Electrical Cabinet = more that a 5,000 lift can handle. Solution: Machine bed counterweights. Number needed … 8 to keep the back wheels of the forklift on the ground.

By 1:00 we were all pooped and happy its finished.  Un-skidding them happens September 25th come join the fun if you ...

With two weeks to go before shipping a lot is going to happen. The basic plan in place for this week is to get all the machines finalized and running, then on Saturday everything is to be re-skidded onto their pallets. In our booth we leave the machines on their pallets and make them look nice. It is less expensive to do it that way and to be blunt no one really ever notices or says anything.
I am fortunate that I am Involved in the Association for Manufacturing Technology. This trade association is not only instrumental in the production of IMTS, but they have an arm that looks out for Manufacturing’s best interests in Washington. Some of the Tax cuts that aided machine tool builders in the past 10 years were lobbied for  by this association.
As part of AMT on Thursday I went to Chicago for a final meeting to review the show with 8 other exhibitors. We all have been around the trade show world for many years now and we range from large companies like Haas to companies like ourselves. Our goal is to give a voice to the exhibitors and help the direction of the show from a behind the scenes.  During our visit to GES we saw a lot of the ideas we discussed for two years come to life. It should be a really good show with can’t miss Keynote speakers, and a really cool Emerging Technology Pavilion. Lockheed Martin will have a Fighter Jet on the floor also in the West Building
From concept to reality, we have been talking about the Bedrock series for a while now. This new machine platform besides being really cool looking offers a ton of advantages for production grinding. You can see that the machine is done and is getting tooled out for the show this week also. In about a week you can visit our web site for videos of all our machines in our booth.

 If you cannot come to IMTS 2010 this website will give you the same experience as if you were in Chicago . Once the machines are on site we will re-take the videos for all to see the parts grinding , and the booth up and running. Until then ...

33,000 Pounds in a 21 Day Window

Vacation is upon us and after this week Royal Master shuts down manufacturing for two weeks. You can still call and get parts and if I never told you that we were shut down you probably would never have known. Lori stills answers the phone and we all answer our  e-mails as if it was business as usual. On Friday our shipping manager Glen pointed out that we only had 21 working days before we ship IMTS when we get back from vacation. Maybe he was hinting to leave him a long list of things to do while he worked over shut down, or looking for me to say “ that’s plenty of time “.
With 21 days left there is a whole lot to do, but we are in pretty good shape. Skids are built according to the jigsaw puzzle that we call a truck layout, machines are all on line and most are finished. We are just waiting on some feeding components from vendors.
The truck layout is one of the most fun things associated with the planning of the show. It has been called fitting 10 pounds of  “candy” in a 5 pound bag . Trucking is expensive and a source of stress. Having everything out of our control after pain staking working on the machines for 3 months is a minor part of the stress, but then when you think about it, a stranger taking over 2 million dollars of equipment hurdling down Route 80 at 70 mph can give anyone a chance to pause for more than a second.
Setting up the layout for the truck is like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fits, and has a place. Put it in the wrong place and you have a bad case of the head scratches while you figure it out.  Fitting 7 machines, a tradeshow display, support materials for a weeks in a 8’ x 48’ space is  just plain old fun. We actually build the skids to fit the truck dimensions to minimize any empty voids. The record for empty space was in 2006 with a whopping 6” of empty room at the back of the truck. I will admit that ...

What time is our appointment? Right Here, Right Now!

Everybody is busy.  Nobody has enough time to do what has to get done.  I can’t wait that long.  These are just the realities of business as usual today.
The world we live in has changed.  The business environment has become so fast paced as a result of having to do more with fewer people.  Even going to a trade show is now a time critical event.  People used to walk the aisles of a show to see what is new.  Today, more people are pre-planning their visit and accomplishing more purposeful results.

Imagine if you, as busy as you are, as important as your project is, would walk into a meeting and everyone you needed to see was there waiting for you.  How convenient would it be to have a knowledgeable Applications Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Software Design and Programming Engineer all waiting for you and your project?  More than this, there is an actual grinder on the floor under power making parts similar to what you have in mind.  When this team has listened to you and now completely understands what you want, they bring you to a design computer station and demonstrate a 3-D Model of the grinder including automation to solve your problem!
Royal Master Grinders is welcoming you to pre-plan your visit to our Booth #6646 at IMTS 2010.  You probably have just a few days at the show at most.  If you had to wait at each booth of interest to you to speak with someone other than a hired show host, you wouldn’t accomplish enough to make the trip worthwhile.  At the Royal Master Booth, we will “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”.
Schedule 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even 2 hours with us.  Whatever time it takes to get your point across and get the answers you need.  We are going to listen and understand what it is you want or need.
This is your chance to avoid the “Oh, he just went to lunch” or “He’s involved with other customers right now”.  Schedule your appointment and be part of the “Right Here, Right Now” attitude of tradeshows!
Contact us by telephone (201-337-8500) or e-mail (check our website for addresses and let us know when you will be available.  We will be ...

Are Friday Afternoons Strange at Your Factory?

Today our granite machine bed was delivered for our centerpiece machine at IMTS. About 5 months ago we looked into the possibility of enhancing our machine as we started running into applications that required better tolerances. Two areas to address were thermal stability and vibration dampening. ( Hey every micron counts ). The granite machine bed was born.
Friday afternoons at Royal Master are funny, they either feature pure chaos as people call in last minute for parts or they are quiet, with the only calls from spouses looking for a choice between pizza or Chinese for dinner. There never seems to be anything in-between.
With the bed came a bunch of new ideas of the machine, many which without a doubt enhance the mechanical properties of the machine, but some are purely ascetic in nature. Meetings on the machine came at different times, nothing planned, usually a cup of coffee or Mountain Dew was in hand and it started out with a “What if we…. ” And ended with, lets get Todd to figure this out, it sounds good.

This bed has been highly anticipated here for the last 10 weeks as Rock of Ages in Vermont helped us develop a product that could be manufactured, but also meet our requirements. The result arrived today. When the truck arrived there was crowd, all eagerly anticipating the bedrock machined base, which arrived crated. But when uncrated, many just “Wow”

As many times as you look at a solidworks model, and visualize the end result, nothing prepared me for the relief to see the idea which started out as a “ what if” get uncrated. Looking at the certification paperwork that came with it, revealed another surprise. Just like a Born On date. Rock Of Ages who knew of our excitement to receive this, included a few photos of it in process. I have to say they got copied many times and passed around as everyone had to look at them, a lot.

this is the image

After I finish writing this blog, I am out to the shop to go place a headstock, wheel guard and some other items which are finished on top of ...