2011 Smartest IT Award Winner
Apollo Machinery developed a tool management and tool storage system that drastically reduces the time it takes to set up CNC machines. They initially developed the system for their own shop use, but is now sharing it with other manufacturers. They called the product Tool Wall and it is drawing attention at industry trade shows in Canada, the US and Europe.
Apollo Machinery is a Canadian company that manufactures hydraulic manifolds for Canadian and US customers. Apollo uses CNC machining centers for manufacturing. Hydraulic manifolds require a large number of tools and as a result, machine setup was taking a significant amount of time to complete (1 - 2 hours). Apollo wanted a system and method to reduce the setup time and assist the machine operators with tool organization. The system we developed tracks the location of each tool in the shop, stores the length of the tool and all information about the tool, and assists the operator with setup, telling them which tools are required for a particular job and where the tools are (in a machine or in the Tool Wall storage rack).This has drastically reduced our setup time from 1 - 2 hours to 5 - 10 minutes
Apollo Machinery has been manufacturing hydraulic components since 1969 and has specialized in hydraulic manifolds since the mid 1980's. Apollo Machinery also developed an in-house application to pull all manufacturing information out of an AutoCad drawing and automatically generate a list of drilling information, including all details required for each hole, position and depth. Tool Wall has the potential to change the game for the manufacturing industry: the drastically reduced set up makes it profitable (for the first time) to take much smaller orders, making manufacturers more agile, and allowing customers to conserve capital costs by holding much smaller inventories.