Sure and steady

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The problem
High workholding costs because of failing chucks replaced every six months.

The solution
New vises to reduce setup times and slash fixture costs.

Innovative vises, magnetic clamping, cut costs, setup times

by Mary Scianna

When you work in the fiercely competitive job shop market, anything you can do to improve productivity and cut machining costs will help you secure orders—and your business.

That’s why Tony De Simone, founder of DSA Precision Machining Inc., Bolton, ON, and son Chris, plant manager, decided to invest in innovative workholding systems—Lang vises and jaws and SPD electro-permanent magnetic chucks—that have helped them secure new orders for business, reduce part setup times and increase machining productivity.

Tony De Simone formed DSA Precision Machining in 1976. After years of working in job shops, including Massey Ferguson, York Gear (now Spar Aerospace) and Husky Injection Molding Systems, he decided to set up his own machine shop. 

Since then, De Simone and son Chris, who joined the company in the 1990s after graduating from mechanical engineering/CNC programming from Humber College, have never looked back.

Today, DSA Precision Machining operates 17 machines—among them, two Okuma mill turn multi-spindle multi-tasking centres (the LT 300 MY eight axis and the Macturn nine axis) four smaller Okuma Cadet two axis CNC lathes, acquired from EMEC Machine Tools, Haas CNC vertical machining centres (the VF5/50, 50 taper 30 hp geared spindle drive and the VF2 20 hp machining centre equipped with a Renishaw probe), a wire EDM and a variety of manual mills and lathes.

One element that sets DSA Precision Machining apart is that it’s not afraid to try something knew if it means improving a machining process. So when it began to experience problems with its chucks, it investigated its options.

“We used the chucks on our five axis mills and they kept failing after about six months, so we would buy new ones. The chucks didn’t have the power grip that we needed and didn’t hold the piece in the right position,” explains Tony De Simone. 

He read about the Lang vises in a magazine, found out that local company Machine Tool Solutions sold them, and asked co-owner Lino Libertella about them. He purchased one, was impressed with its effectiveness, and ended up purchasing four more.

What impressed both father and son was the ability to reduce set up times and increase machining times on parts.

Then a few years later, DSA Precision received an order for a job to machine heavy long plates that required close tolerances. To improve productivity, Tony and Chris purchased a Haas vertical machining centre—a CNC VF5/50, 50 taper machine—and then looked into magnetic workholding. Tony was skeptical but willing to consider it if it could help reduce machining cycle times and costs.

“I tried so many ways to machine these parts and I had read about magnetic workholding but was nervous about them because I didn’t think they could hold these heavy bars, so we started machining them slowly at first,” says Tony.

But the SPD electro-permanent magnetic chucks worked remarkably well and Tony says that he couldn’t have kept the job if DSA had not invested in the Italian-made magnetic workholding system.

A Machinist in Canada
Tony De Simone was an Italian-trained machinist living in the south of France in 1959 when he decided to immigrate to Canada. 

Six months from the day he arrived, during a walk in his neighbourhood in Winnipeg, he noticed some steel chips on the ground. “So I followed these chips and they lead me across the street from where I was living at the time on Pembina Ave. The chips stopped in front of a house and I thought ‘what is going on here?’”

He knocked on the door. Only six months in Canada, he knew very little English, but was fluent in French and of course his native Italian. The man who opened the door was German and spoke Italian. The German called his supervisor, who just happened to be French Canadian.

“He said he needed a machinist. He asked where I lived and I pointed across the street to the house I was living in and my mother was at the window looking at me and wondering what the heck I was doing. He asked if I could start right away and so I did. The company is still there now, but it’s bigger, it’s called Canadian Tool and Die. SMT

To read more about there equipment click here.


To view the workhold MetalTech Report click here.

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