One of the critical measurements of machine shop productivity has always been equipment uptime, and improvements in recent years mean that result may mean a difference of just a few minutes or even seconds. In large-volume machining operations making long runs of metal or composite parts, the time involved in tool changes alone can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

The introduction of the Sandvik Coromant Capto® quick-change tooling system in the 1990s resulted in up to a 25 percent increase in productivity. More modern tooling now takes those gains and reduces change time even further, taking tooling changes from minutes down to seconds.

“One of the major factors behind our decision to incorporate the quick-change system is our goal of improving setup time,” explained Jimmy Lytle, president of Daystar Machining Technologies Inc., a Fletcher, N.C., job shop with state-of-the-art CNC turning and milling centers. The shop focuses on precision machining and fabrication with quick turnaround for short-run, prototype, and specialty-part production.

“Now, our setup time has been reduced from minutes to seconds,” Lytle continued.