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Technical Services Case Study

Problem: Respirator Equipment Fails to Meet OSHA Regulations

Despite investments made in air quality systems, personal protective clothing, and equipment, a new start-up specialty rubber processing company still failed to comply with standard OSHA regulations regarding respirators. The audit showed that while respirators were issued, there was no documented evidence that "fit tests," breathing efficacy tests, or training was conducted.

Impact on Business

OSHA required corrective action to avoid a production line shutdown and fines. In addition, employee safety was questionable.

 Technical Services
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Technical Services

PenCo's Solution

PenCo is certified to conduct "fit tests" to ensure that respirators perform as intended, and to survey potential environmental hazards to ensure that the correct equipment and mask filters are employed.

"Fit-tests" were conducted on production employees on 2 shifts, and instructions on the use, cleaning and proper care of the respirators were provided. Appropriate dust and gas filter canisters were selected, and follow-up breathing efficacy tests were arranged by a third party. All proper documentation was given to the client.

Technical Service Results

Because of the services we provided, our client is now OSHA-compliant. For more information about our successful technical services, please contact PenCo.

Problem:  Indexable Thread Mill Job

A large investment casting house, that also machines its parts, approached us with a 17-4 PH stainless job that required a special thread on one end: they were contracted to provide 3,000 parts per month. At the time, they were using an indexable thread mill to get the thread milled, which took over 2 minutes just to mill the thread.

PenCo's Solution

After examining the parts, PenCo's technical sales representative recommended that a solid carbide, spiral fluted thread mill should be employed in place of the indexable thread mill.  At first, the customer balked at the price of the thread mill, reasoning that, upon failure with his present tool, it would cost less to replace the insert than the carbide thread mill. In addition, a damaged holder could always be repaired.

When shown that using the solid carbide mill would reduce the thread milling time by more than 50% and thread mills could be re-sharpened, the customer agreed to a test.

Technical Service Results: Major Cost Savings

After testing and developing the optimum speed and feed settings, the total time it took to mill the thread was 52 seconds.  In addition, because the length of the thread was longer than an insert, it was determined that once the front-end of the thread mill began to show wear, the tool could be lowered to make use of the back-end of the tool. This discovery increased useful tool life, and the thread mill could be re-sharpened, further reducing tool cost.

Cutting the time from 2 minutes and 10 seconds to approximately 50 seconds per part resulted in an estimated annualized labor savings at $15,000 for the job; reduced tooling costs were estimated at $2,500.

Problem:  Abrasive Material Wears Down Tooling

A small-size job shop that machines plastics, stainless steel, and other metallic parts turned to PenCo with a problem. They had a contract to machine parts made of G-11 plastic, an abrasive material that wears down tooling very quickly. The parts contained several threaded holes, and the customer required a tool that would provide both a clean hole and exhibit good tool life-all at a reasonable cost. One of the holes had a special thread that limited the number of possible manufacturers.

Originally, the customer had used diamond coated taps, but the cost and delivery time were excessive.

PenCo's Solution

We recommended chrome-plated taps for this application. Although this suggestion was met with some resistance, the customer agreed to test the chrome-plated taps.

Technical Service Results: Increased Tool Life

The customer obtained several hundred holes per tap at a cost similar to that of the same sized tap with a standard TiALN or TICN coating. The significant reduction in tool cost, combined with the reduced amount of downtime caused by long tool lead times, greatly minimized the cost per piece.

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