According to Joe Morales, Director of Manufacturing for Implant Direct’s Calabasas, California manufacturing facility, “Dr. Niznic gave us free reign to develop the most efficient manufacturing plant possible. I know the term “state-of-the-art” is overused, but it really applies to the way we put together this facility. We’re so proud of it we even have live Webcams on our Web site where you can see what we’re doing at any time.”
Implant Direct uses 40 Swiss machines, coupled with 40 LNS Express automatic bar feeders that load 12’ lengths of titanium bar stock. The plant runs three shifts to produce over 400 dental implants and thousands of precision screws on a typical day. On weekends, a skeleton set-up crew works until noon Saturday and the factory continues operating unattended until 7:00 o’clock Monday morning, producing 700 -1000 implants and 3,000 – 4,000 screws.
“Thanks to our high-efficiency Swiss machines and the ability of the Express barfeeds to run continuously with no problems, we’ve reduced labor costs dramatically.” Morales explains. “We have about 20 employees working the first shift. They set up the jobs and get production going. The second shift drops to around 9 workers who are extended from the first shift, and the third shift has zero workers. We run unattended overnight and on the weekends, using remote monitoring of machine functions and other factors, including vibration sensing, to make sure the process runs smoothly. We can do this because we’ve designed the entire operation for maximum efficiency. We use the most reliable equipment we could find, including the LNS bar feeders, our Swiss machines and Kennametal Quick-Change cutting tools. When our employees start the day we have all of the production programming and kits of tools ready. This saves a lot of setup time.”
“We figure the Express automatic bar feeders alone save us about 30% in labor costs versus the manual loaders we had in our previous factory. We had fewer machines there and around 75 people running them. Today we have more machines and run the entire machining operation over three shifts with fewer than 40 people. Another advantage of the automatic bar feeders is less handling of bar stock. We machine titanium bar stock as small as 1/8”. With the manual bar feeders, this stock sat on hooks where it sometimes became bowed and caused machining problems. It also sat on the factory floor where it could get damaged. Now it is loaded directly into the LNS automatic barfeeder.”
“Being able to run unattended not only is highly efficient,” Morales continues, “it also improves employee morale. Before, in order to keep up with demand, we needed workers in the plant at night and on weekends. After a while, the employees get tired of these schedules and you can start having turnover. This way we meet our production goals more cost-effectively and our employees have a life of their own.”
“When we designed the new factory we evaluated a number of barfeed suppliers. We settled on LNS not only for the quality and reliability of their barfeeders, but especially because of their attention to service. We want our key suppliers to work with us as partners. From the very start we’ve had that relationship with LNS. They visit us regularly to make sure things are going OK, and if we have a question or technical issue they always get right back to me. They also include us in their R&D activities, which means we get a first look and some of their new developments, which helps us stay on top of technology.”