Franchino Mold & Engineering Shapes Business Growth with Makino F5 Vertical Milling Machines

THE CHALLENGE
Franchino Mold & Engineering in Lansing, Mich., is a leading maker of die-cast and plastic injection molds—some as big as 420,000 pounds—for automotive, construction equipment, appliance and consumer products manufacturers. To deliver orders on time and compete on pricing, Franchino needed to increase unattended and lights-out machining operations.

THE SOLUTION
Franchino’s leaders chose to grow their business by investing in their people, improving processes and obtaining the best technology. They committed to a $5 million shop expansion, doubled their number of employees and purchased six Makino F5 vertical milling machines. Franchino uses the F5 machines to build steel and aluminum cavity components that create details in the molds.

THE RESULTS
The F5 vertical milling machines enable Franchino to consistently hold tolerances of plus or minus 0.00030 inch with surface finishes of Ra40. That precision eliminates 30 to 40 percent of secondary polishing and spotting operations previously needed. The F5 machines also improved downtime for repairs by 100 percent. As a result, jobs can now run unattended for six-plus hours or more with only one operator on duty, as well as fully unattended over the weekend.

Now, Franchino can accommodate engineering modifications without decreasing quality. Additionally, Franchino operators are able to program and process cavity components quickly and efficiently with the Makino Professional 5 control and its easy-to-use touch-screen interface.

One of the key process improvements SST and Makino engineers recommended was standardization of the machines’ tool changers with the F5’s automatic tool changer (ATC). The standardization of ATC and precision performance of the F5 helped Franchino cut in half the amount of time required for polishing and other benchwork.