David Gill examines the culture of innovation, quality and tradition that has led Nachi Machining Technology Company to the pinnacle of the broaching and gear-finishing industry.
This company, as the first page of its Web site announces, has evolved. Founded in 1929, Nachi Machining Technology Company (formerly National Broach & Machine Company) has marshaled its resources to meet what it calls “the changing needs of the manufacturing world.” Along with its own experience and capabilities, it can draw upon the considerable market strength of its parent, Japan-based Nachi-Fujikoshi Corporation, as it moves to help customers meet the ever-present challenges of keeping pace with their competition.
In another way, however, Nachi Machining Technology hasn’t changed — and never intends to. This is in the area of giving customers the quality they demand in machining technology. Based in Macomb, Mich., where its 310,000 square-foot manufacturing facility is also located, the company provides a full range of manufacturing capabilities, plus years of experience, to meet customers’ every need in gear and broach manufacturing.
The Innovation Machine
The facts speak for themselves in demonstrating the experience Nachi Machining Technology has accumulated. In its 71 years of business, it has created more than 50 patented processes, machines and tools. Its work has continually advanced the fields of broaching and gear manufacturing. Through its engineering and technical support efforts, it has acquired an unmatched reputation for quality, reliability and service.
Nachi Machining Technology’s most familiar product line is the Red Ring grouping of machines and cutting tools. The Red Ring line now includes machines for both broaching and for gear shaving. In broaching, the Red Ring line includes the VBL vertical broach machine, the BVT Workpiece Transfer-type vertical broach machine, the VBM vertical pot broach machine, the BSA blind spline broach machine, a line of surface broach machines and the Nacom series of CNC sharpening machines. Also part of the Red Ring broaching banner is a group of broaching tools and accessories in a wide range of sizes and cutting geometries. Nachi Machining Technology also offers a variety of broaching-related services, including broach sharpening and maintenance, heat treating, prototype and production broaching, and engineering
(Red) Rings Around the Market
In gear shaving, the Red Ring name is synonymous with innovation. Red Ring engineers were the originators of the concept of rotary gear shaving, still considered the most economical method of finishing for precision gears. Company engineers continue to show how they meet customer demands for the latest in shaving technology, and the best example of this is the Red Ring Shavemaster line. Designed to meet the need for ever-tighter tolerances, Shavemaster gear-shaving machines apply the most recent advances in CNC software to gear-shaving hardware, increasing the machine’s ability to create more complex parts more efficiently.
The Shavemaster’s structure departs from the typical swan-neck design of conventional shaving machines. It uses a design that keeps the tailstock axis at a constant height, making the automatic loading and unloading of work pieces easier. This revolutionary design also allows for the loader/unloader to be equipped with an additional motorized axis and to be interfaced with the part program, allowing gears with different diameters to be positioned at the proper height.
Among the products available in the Shavemaster program are the Shavemaster 220 and the Shavemaster 400, both of which are intended for large-diameter gears. For small-diameter gear production, Nachi Machining Technology markets the Shavemaster 100 and the Shavemaster 200, both of which include the same CNC control and kinematics as their cousins, the 220 and the 400.
Red Ring isn’t the only name associated with Nachi Machining Technology. The company also produces the GEAROLL™ line of finishing dies, which are made of high-speed steel and are precision-ground and precision-hardened to exacting tolerances. They’re also highly durable; they can roll-finish up to 1.5 million pieces in the smaller diametral pitch ranges without reconditioning.
Nachi Machining Technology’s facility is split into a 260,000 square-foot manufacturing area and a 50,000 square-foot area combining offices and the engineering department. The manufacturing area, which is organized around the cellular-manufacturing concept, includes a staggering 550 machines. These encompass the most accurate manufacturing equipment in the world for broaching and gear shaving.
The company’s equipment includes NC serrating machines, which provide precise serration placement; and in-house heat treating, ensuring complete process control. In the latter, Nachi Machining Technology employs computer control to maintain exact furnace temperatures. The facility also includes a complete metallurgical laboratory to provide precise microstructure analysis for tool steels.
The precision of the company’s work is enhanced at the facility with multiple, 12-inch-thick floor pads in each department. These ensure that the vibration transmission between machines is isolated. The company’s computerized energy management system monitors and controls ambient temperature throughout the facility to a variation of plus- or minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition, Nachi Machining Technology underscores its quality commitment through a variety of production policies. Manufacturing personnel perform in-process auditing after each manufacturing operation, and inspect and certify materials throughout each manufacturing operation. Nachi Machining Technology uses high-quality powdered metals as its standard materials; plus, it maintains a stock consisting of a wide range of specialty materials for demanding applications. The company’s product designs incorporate uniform material structures, providing consistent manufacture and prolonged tool life. Quality-assurance personnel perform inspections using the most up-to-date CNC checking equipment, and customers are given inspection certificates and charts with each cutter. The company’s quality-assurance department is always on hand to direct the entire quality process.
Quality from the Top
This commitment to quality flows from the parent corporation on down. Nachi-Fujikoshi is one of the world’s most innovative manufacturers of anti-friction bearings, precision cutting tools, hydraulic equipment and high-speed steel. Its customers include original-equipment manufacturers in the automotive, electric motor, machine tool and construction/heavy equipment industries. Nachi Machining Technology is a part of the parent’s Nachi America Inc. unit.
With a commitment to quality flowing from the top, Nachi Machining Technology is well positioned for its future challenges. The company is approaching future market opportunities as a supplier that can deliver turnkey solutions to match the production and technology needs of any customer. Its mission statement sums up this cutting-edge manufacturer’s approach: Nachi Machining Technology’s mission “is to utilize our global resources to meet customers’ requirements for machining technology in the major market segments of transportation and machinery.”