Cheyenne Manufacturing Turns to Doosan to Solve Machining Challenges
Cheyenne Manufacturing, Inc. has been churning outparts for companies around Wichita,Kansas since 1997. Wichita is home to Cessna, Spirit, Boeing, and Beechcraft as well as other aircraft manufacturers, so its natural that thecompany specializes in CNC machining for the aerospace industry. Cheyenne offers a core competence in the manufacturing of precision machined parts and small assemblies combined into a 15,000 square foot facility. Most of their jobs are prototype experimental work. “We have built our foundation on meeting customer needs with quality, knowledge, and on time delivery,” says company President David Eckerman.
Turning Toward Turning
Cheyenne was running an older used lathe but decided they needed a new machine that was smaller and faster. They had always leaned towards milling applications, but they felt the need to get into the turning world so that they could support the parts coming off of milling operations.
The company had absolutely no knowledge of Doosan (or Daewoo as it was known then) at the time, but a representative of the local distributor happened to visit and suggested the Lynx 210. David talked to acquaintances in the business and everyone had good things to say about it. “There was pretty solid agreement that the Lynx was an excellent machine for a reasonable price,” he said. “That sounded like the right solution, so we ended up buying one in 2003.”
Challenges: Growth, Diversity and Hard Metals
As the reputation of the company grew, production picked up and they were forced to transfer operation to a larger facility in 2002. Eventually it was too small and in 2005 Cheyenne moved to their current location. Even that building has seen two expansion build-outs since then.
The past five years have been very good for Cheyenne, especially making parts for the aerospace industry, but they realize it is prudent to maintain diversity for times of economic slowdown in certain sectors of the business. Not only do they machine parts, they have a punch press, a surface grinder and honing machines to serve aerospace and other industries as well.
Another challenge that comes with the aerospace industry is milling and turning hard metals that can be difficult to handle: heat treated steel in the 55-58HRC range, ToughMet® (a high strength copper-nickel-tin alloy), magnesium, stainless steel, Inconel and titanium. Being able to machine different hard metals gives Cheyenne even more diversity for a variety of applications.
Build quality was so good on the Lynx 210, Cheyenne went back to the distributor to discuss buying a Doosan MV3016 box way 40 taper vertical machining center for helping with the hard metal machining. To handle the volume, it was soon followed by a HC400 horizontal machining center. Two new DNM 350-5AX full 5-axis machines were just recently added to the shop floor.
This lineup not only gives Cheyenne the flexibility to boost productivity, but also the opportunity to bid on the 5-axis work that is predominant in the aerospace industry.
Strength, Versatility and Quality
The DNM 350-5AX machines cut a lot of aluminum but they are tough enough to handle titanium jobs as well. Using the Dynamic Milling function of the Mastercam CAD/CAM program that Cheyenne uses to program their parts, they take light high-speed cuts along optimized tool paths for better cycle time and tool optimization. The procedure makes a lot of chips while retaining tool life. The company also makes full use of the 12,000 r/min spindle on the DNM 350-5AX by utilizing the machine’s standard BIG-PLUS® spindle interface and shrink fit tool holders to optimize rigidity and tolerance.
“Setting up your first 5-axis machine can be a bit intimidating when you’ve only setup 3-axis mills,” David commented. “But the FANUC control is very user friendly and the tool-setter option on the DNM 350-5AX is a nice time saver.”
“The Doosans are the best machines we have in the shop for handling hard metal,” said David. “We understand and are familiar with the Doosan lineup and are very happy with the service we are receiving from Machine Tool Specialties, our current distributor.” He cited examples of when the distributor has sent a service technician within 30 minutes or less of the initial call.
“Doosan has also been extremely helpful with our programing needs,” said Matthew Eckerman, Vice President and Head of Programming. “They gave us all the critical machine CAD data we needed in order for our simulator software to work. That helps us correct potential collisions between machine tool components before we start the run.”
Cheyenne believes in loyalty and knowing who they’re working with. Their customers depend on them and Cheyenne depends on Doosan. “We have a few old machines left, and when they go, they’ll be replaced with Doosans,” Dave remarked.