Having been active in the fastener production sector for the past 50 years, San Shing’s tooling factory has enabled it to develop and become a global tooling supplier – serving customers with established tooling production techniques.
San Shing’s extensive product range includes tooling for cold forming, hot forging, press production, and task specific parts applications, in industries ranging from standard fasteners to the automotive and aerospace industries.
The company’s factory is fully equipped with a total of 360 sets of processing equipment including CNC milling, CNC turning, grinding machines, EDM wire cutting and EDM discharge. San Shing also keeps up with the latest machining advancements, incorporating 5-axis and 9-axis machining centres from Mazak Japan, and an EDM discharge from GF Machining Solutions, in its production line. 350 staff members working two shifts supply up to 6,000 dies and 20,000 punches every month.
Looking back and moving forward
50 years ago, San Shing’s tooling department started as a small shop with a traditional lathe, turning machines, and a couple of technicians and operators making up the whole production team. Over the years, San Shing’s tooling factory has grown both in production scale and technical level.
Transitioning to take a leap
During this time the company has continuously renewed and added new machinery to increase its capability. However, the company has recently taken the big decision to fully automate its production line. The implementation is expected to upgrade the production techniques and take efficiency to a new level. San Shing has already taken the first steps in bringing automation to the production line, with new robotised manufacturing systems being introduced to several workstations, including the sinker EDM machine and the grinding process.
In the electrodes production, the milling machines have also been paired with an electrode rack and robotic arms, enabling automatic workpiece change and successfully facilitating the machine utilisation rate up to 90%.
In addition, the sinker EDM machine, incorporating a CMM inspection system, allows offline calibration of the electrodes and therefore offset compensation can be detected ahead – all contributing to prevent human errors and increase accuracy.
The sinker EDM machine is also partnered with a magazine that stores up to 100 pieces of electrodes, as well as a workpiece and an automatic tool changer, which means the machine can basically run 24/7. “This set-up fills up almost all the downtime for calibration and positioning work, and largely increases production efficiency with improved accuracy,” explains San Shing.
Another development includes the integration of inner and outer profile grinding processes, using a heavy load robotic system that feed and transfer the workpiece between the processing cell. With this integration, part accuracy is improved by eliminating multiple set-ups, and the idling time can be shortened. The integration conduces to higher quality and shorter lead times.
“We have experienced a first round of success in deploying robotic systems and will continue to comprehensively introduce automation systems in the production line,” concludes San Shing.
“Our next task will be focusing on building a modular system in several processing cell, which will help us become fully automated within the next decade.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.