April 30, 2024

How to reduce total cost of ownership in manufacturing

Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is more than a cost-saving strategy; it’s a comprehensive approach to achieving operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness across various industries. Understanding TCO—a calculation that includes not just the purchase price of an asset but also the cumulative costs of operation throughout its lifecycle—is crucial for businesses aiming to make informed decisions that optimize long-term value. This broader perspective ensures that resources are utilized efficiently, encompassing maintenance, training, disposal expenses and more.

Among the many factors influencing TCO are initial acquisition costs, operational expenses, and the costs associated with downtime and inefficiency. Identifying these components is critical for implementing strategies that effectively mitigate TCO.

Add a tool breakage detector

One impactful strategy is the integration of advanced tool breakage detection systems. Specifically, HEIDENHAIN’s TD 110 tool breakage detection system exemplifies how modern technology can significantly minimize operational disruptions. By immediately identifying and addressing tool breakage, the TD 110 not only enhances productivity but also reduces the cost associated with scrapped parts and production reworks. Its sophisticated inductive, non-contact sensor technology ensures reliable detection at rapid traverse speeds, ( >6 sec decrease per tool inspection compared to laser units), offering a robust solution for dynamic machining environments. Incorporating the TD 110 into machining operations is a testament to how targeted investments in technology can lead to substantial reductions in TCO.

Predictive to preventative maintenance

Another pivotal strategy is the shift from preventative to predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance transforms maintenance from a scheduled service based on time or usage to a condition-based approach that monitors equipment in real-time. This methodology leverages data from various sensors and systems to predict equipment failures before they occur. For instance, sensors can monitor vibration, temperature and other operational metrics to identify signs of wear or potential breakdowns in critical components like encoders and motors.

Businesses can preemptively address issues by integrating products like HEIDENHAIN’s ADS Uptime, which continuously monitors encoder health and communicates with supervisory controls via alarms—thereby minimizing downtime and maintenance costs. The system allows maintenance operators to access detailed diagnostics, including the frequency, internal temperature and operating periods at the time of fault detection, facilitating more accurate maintenance planning.

This granular monitoring ensures that parts are only replaced when necessary, significantly reducing waste and inefficiency. It also allows for less frequent, on-demand maintenance rather than routine checks, which can be both invasive and costly. Ultimately, this approach leads to more predictable maintenance scheduling, better resource allocation and lower overall costs, making predictive maintenance a cornerstone in reducing TCO.

Integrate a digital twin

The adoption of Digital Twin technology further exemplifies a strategy for reducing total cost of ownership. Digital Twin technology models the exact behaviors and functions of machinery, allowing for precise planning and operation without the associated risks and costs. This leads to enhanced reliability, reduced setup times and greater productivity, ensuring operations are streamlined and more predictable. This can significantly contribute to lowering TCO.

The importance of using the right encoders

Choosing the right encoders, such as HEIDENHAIN’s LC and RCN sealed encoders, can also play a critical role in reducing TCO. With the advanced optimized scanning features of the HEIDENHAIN LC 6 series and RCN 1 series angle encoders, customers can help alleviate operational costs by reducing machine downtime due to encoder failures, minimizing maintenance costs and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Leverage machine tool automation

Leveraging automation in machine tool operations is another effective tactic for lowering TCO. Automation technologies, from CNC programming to automated tool changing, free up valuable resources and improve safety, quality and productivity. This transformation allows operations to run more efficiently, even outside of normal working hours, contributing significantly to reduced total cost of ownership.

The shift toward machine tool automation, including sophisticated CNC controls and automated loading systems, proves the industry’s adaptation to increasingly complex production demands and tighter timelines. For instance, automating repetitive tasks allows machinists to focus on more complex and rewarding work, enhancing job satisfaction and reducing human error.

Moreover, the integration of technologies such as machine vision for performance monitoring and digital twins for process optimization further streamline operations. This ensures that each part is machined accurately the first time, reducing waste and rework. These advancements not only bolster productivity but also extend the operational life of machinery through improved maintenance practices, fundamentally altering the cost structure associated with manufacturing operations.

By embracing the comprehensive strategies outlined above and leveraging advanced technologies, businesses can achieve substantial improvements in productivity, quality and sustainability. Despite these clear benefits, the journey to minimize TCO presents challenges, including initial investments and the need to bridge skill gaps. However, with strategic planning and adopting appropriate technologies, these hurdles can be overcome, paving the way for significant long-term savings and operational improvements.

As we look to the future, the role of technologies in reducing TCO is increasingly promising. Innovations in predictive maintenance, digital twins, and automation are set to drive even greater efficiency and savings, transforming industries and operational paradigms.

HEIDENHAIN is committed to supporting this journey, offering solutions that reduce TCO and enhance operational success. For detailed insights into how our technologies can benefit your operations, we invite you to connect with us directly.

Written by: Milton Willis—Business Development Specialist, Machine Tool

Milton Willis has an impressive track record of over 32 years in the machine tool industry and 26 years with HEIDENHAIN CORPORATION. He has established himself as a technical service expert with a deep understanding of mechanical and electrical machine tools for CNCs. Whether it’s providing technical support or training, Milton is committed to delivering the highest level of service to his clients.