This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
General features. The special scope of this portion of the work. The usual errors. A practical view of the subject. General requisites. Proper equipment for a medium class of work. A definite and comprehensive plan for manufacturing operations. The results of a lack of a proper plan. The business that "ought to pay" but does not. Too much conservatism. Seeing the end from the beginning. The only proper plan. Possible enlargements must be provided for. The "piecemeal" plan. Ill-considered and expensive alterations. The last state worse than the first. Better to make new things than patch up old ones. A complete and symmetrical whole.
In the preceding chapters of this work, constituting Part First and under the general heading of Machine Shop Construction, we have carefully followed, step by step, the process of planning and erecting a modern machine shop plant, giving special attention to all its parts, discussing the various plans and methods of construction, and describing the most approved forms of foundations, walls, roofs, floors, etc., and properly providing for the prime necessities of light, heat, ventilation, and power.
We have given special attention to the requirements of manufacturing operations and so planned the entire plant as to bring its component parts into a proper relation to each other, even when confined to a very limited land space upon which to build.
Ample provision has been made for all probable extensions and enlargements in the future that may be due to the possible increase of the business for which the plant is erected.
There has been provided a simple and efficient means for the transportation of stock and material and the convenient handling of the same during the successive processes of manufacture.
Some of the various mistakes and difficulties into which the builder is liable to fall by inconsiderate planning and execution of his work have been pointed out and commented upon.
The endeavor has been made to lay all these matters before the prospective builder and the careful and studious reader as some of the results of years of practical experience, constant and conscientious study, and ample observation of the varied and complex phases of this interesting subject.
Having thus carried forward the construction of the machine shop buildings of the model plant to completion, and having them adequately provided with power, light, heat, and ventilation, and thus ready for the next step in the process of making them ready for active and effective work, we will proceed with the duty of describing and illustrating their equipment with the proper machinery, tools, and appliances for accomplishing the contemplated work to be done. Machines should be so arranged in groups or departments as to best subserve the purpose intended, and to manufacture the product with the least cost for handling the materials in the various stages of their progress toward the completed product, and with the most efficient arrangement for supervising the work, and still to insure the desired standard of accuracy, finish, and thoroughness of the completed output.
In considering the question of the proper equipment of a machine shop a great deal depends upon the character of the product which is to be turned out. It may be that of heavy machinery requiring little or no machining except of surfaces in contact, as is the case with such work as sugar mill machinery, rolling mill work and similar product which will necessitate heavy castings and consequently a large proportion of machines for heavy planing, boring, drilling, tapping, and so on, as well as large erecting space and much use of the traveling crane and other forms of lifting devices.
Again, it may be of a generally lighter kind of work, as for instance, steam engines of various sizes and similar work where much more finish as well as very accurate fitting is required. Or, it may be of machine tools, the larger of which will be similar to the engine work in many respects, while the smaller machines will require a large variety of machines both for general and special work and such as are capable of producing a large quantity of very accurate work even on rather large parts.
The design and aim of this portion of our work is not to arrange and specify such an equipment as may be required for any certain kind or class of manufacture, or for any special line of sizes of machines, for that is manifestly impractical, but rather to suggest the proper selection and arrangement of the machines for a medium kind of work, on a practical plan which may be useful to those having charge of this class of mechanical engineering and be helpful in pointing out such machines as will be most economical in the production of certain classes of work in the more modern and up-to-date methods, and so grouping and arranging them as to make their management easy, practical, and profitable.
In this connection it will not only be proper to offer some suggestions as to the class or type of machines best adapted for certain kinds of work, but also as to the methods of testing-such machines to ascertain their fitness for the work to be done on them.
These requirements become all the more imperative since the demand is more and more pronounced for machines of higher speed, greater strength, and consequently capable of a largely increased output, as well as for machines whose parts may be rapidly changed to adapt them to a large variety of work. To this is added the demand for greater accuracy, better fitting, a superior quality of stock in their make-up, a more carefully considered design, and a generally finer finish.
In all the operations of manufacturing, from the very conception of the idea that we will manufacture, to the final marketing of the product, if we are to expect success, either in the building, the equipping, or the management of the manufacturing operations of such a varied and complex nature, we must first of all have a well-conceived, well-matured, definite and comprehensive plan. If this is not so we shall find the various component parts of our fabric disproportioned to each other. One will be of too great capacity and another of too little; one portion will be an unnecessary expense which will absorb the profits of another; one will be pushed while another is neglected; and so on until the whole establishment is in such a disjointed, disproportioned, and inefficient condition that success either mechanically or financially is impossible.