John Deere Relies on Advanced Machining Technology



December 1998-Deere & Company, one of the world's leading manufacturers of farm, construction, forestry, lawn and industrial equipment, is supporting its daggressive approach to the off-highway diesel engine market with advanced manufacturing technology. Its newest facility in Torreon, State of Coahuila, Mexico is using six Makino horizontal machining centers in its cast iron cylinder head manufacturing process. John Deere's investment in this machining application, an estimated $11 million including service, training and support, is designed to help Deere Power Systems Group more efficiently produce off-highway diesel engines.

Strategically Supplying Global Markets
The new facility will produce three models of the John Deere PowerTech diesel engines including, the 2.9, 4.5 and 6.8 liter engines. In addition to its many applications within the John Deere product line, worldwide demand for the PowerTech engines continues to increase for a wide variety of external applications. According to John Deere, this new facility will allow its Saran, France-based facility to pursue growth opportunities in the European off-highway engine market, as well as serving the growing Mexican market, and other growth markets in North and South America.

Cells Promote Shop Floor Flexibility
On the shop floor, John Deere is using six A99 horizontal machining centers, Makino's newest addition to its A-Series line, in a cell configuration. This will allow John Deere to flexibly manufacture the cylinder heads for each of the PowerTech engines. In the past, John Deere would have had multiple manufacturing lines for each engine. The A99 cells can manufacture all three models in one cell. Makino says, "this will allow John Deere to respond to market demand without causing internal chaos."

Also impacting cost per part and overall cycle time while supporting the A99 cells are Makino's Modular Machining Cells (MMC) with Model C cell control software. The MMC automates the machining centers by shuttling pallets and managing workflow, allowing the operator to work ahead of the machining center and eliminate set-up time. Makino's Model C cell control software automatically tracks multiple operations for up to 600 part numbers in a single cell. The cell control software also handles job priority scheduling, NC program management, pallet routing, tool life management, multiple NC programs per pallet and tool presetter interface. This automation reduces part cycle time and allows John Deere to easily manufacture cylinder heads for different engines without changeover or set up.

Currently Makino is training the Deere Power Systems team to take the application further. "We'll be onsite at the Torreon facility after installation to help them learn the process so they do not have to rely on us after installation. Uptime is critical, especially during the launch of the plant. No one can afford to be off-line merely waiting for repairs. Makino's Technology Transfer will allow John Deere to evolve the application, improving results."

Deere Power Systems Group offers diesel engines from 20 to 500 horsepower and other powertrain components for a broad range of John Deere equipment and original equipment markets. Deere Power Systems' team of engine distributors, powertrain specialists, and applications engineers provides a coordinated source for engines, axles, transmissions and pump drives. Deere & Company is a global supplier conducting business in more than 160 countries and employing more than 34,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit

Makino is a global provider of advanced machining technology and application support for the metalcutting and die/mold industries. Makino manufacturing and service centers in the United States, Germany, Japan and Singapore are supported by a worldwide distributor network.

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