Robotic Automation and Precision Engineering Ramp Up Production To Match Demand
When the firearm industry is faced with volatility and unprecedented demand, Vortakt® has the answer. In response to the recent surge in demand for firearms and firearm components, we’re adding a cutting-edge, fully automated manufacturing cell to expand our barrel production capacity. By capitalizing on vertical integration capabilities tied to our parent company and sister division, Vortakt has been able to design and integrate this cell in a few short months. With this groundbreaking leap in barrel manufacturing technology and automation, we’re delivering on our promise to continually strive for the efficiency and impeccable quality that you expect from a manufacturing partner.
A Look Inside the New Manufacturing Cell
It’s no exaggeration to classify our new automation cell as top-of-the-line technology. With only a handful of fully automated cells similar to this one in existence, this single drilling, rifling, and reaming center will offer a higher level of production capacity than entire competing barrel manufacturers! We have addressed our existing automation capabilities in the past (check out our recent blog series for more information), but this new automation cell promises to take streamlined efficiency a step further by integrating the drilling and reaming operations into a single machine tool.
The following machines are included in this new automation cell, featuring the following capabilities:
- 2 x UNISIG UNI-10-4-2i-450-CR Gundrills, each with 2 spindles to drill and ream barrel blanks, enabling all 4 spindles to run simultaneously on each machine.
- 1 x UNISIG R-2A-1000 Button Rifling machine designed to function in tandem with the aforementioned gun drilling and reaming operations.
- A Fanuc M-20iA Robot transfers the blanks from a drop-in feeder through each operation while also handling rifling tool exchange between each barrel blank, eliminating the need for any manual material handling throughout the blank manufacturing process.
These custom-designed UNISIG machine tools are only required to move blanks a few inches between processes, further speeding up cycle times. With the cell operating at full capacity, it can effectively manufacture thirty rifle or pistol barrels every hour. That means that this single cell is capable of producing more than 3,600 barrels per week! With robotic automation driving the process, there is no opportunity for human error, further improving operational efficiency. Each and every one of those thousands of barrels will be as precisely machined and finished as the very first one off of the production floor.
This new automation cell is designed to accommodate the most popular barrel designs currently on the market, including pistol barrels up to 9mm and rifle barrels measuring out at a finished 16” length or shorter. While these pistol blanks will be drilled, reamed, and rifled in this cell, all remaining finishing operations can be carried out in our adjacent CNC Mill/Turn machine, essentially completing all internal manufacturing operations in a highly consolidated two-step process!
Why We’re Adding This Technology
The market for firearms has seen incredible growth throughout 2020 into 2021, and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand. Vortakt Barrel Works is uniquely situated to react to our customers’ needs in real-time. Our close working relationship with our sister division UNISIG allows us to expand to meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes other component manufacturers. This flexibility gives us virtually limitless scalability and helps you keep up with the unpredictable surges of a volatile market. We’re taking every possible step to reduce backlogs and increase our production capacity so that you can fulfill orders and accommodate your customers.
Our goal is always to help your business thrive. You already expect precision, performance, and efficiency from us as your OEM partner, and we strive to exceed those expectations. Adding this new automation cell is just the next step to further meeting those needs. The repeatability and consistency of robotics-driven automation, driven by expert engineering, is what makes our barrels best in class.
We like to think of this as an investment in your business and the firearm industry as a whole. By advancing our automation technology, we’re making sure that we’re ready to service our clientele for the long run. As we continue increasing efficiency and production capacity, Vortakt is able to keep prices steady, even with inflation and market conditions driving up costs from our competitors. A $22 Vortakt barrel blank five years ago is still a $22 barrel blank today, which is only possible because of our dedication to engineering best practices and improved manufacturing technology.
What You Can Expect
Our new manufacturing cell has come together with an unprecedented speed to operate alongside the advanced semi-automated rifling cell and additional CNC machining centers that have long been delivering the exceptional performance and precision that you have come to expect from Vortakt Barrel Works.