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Lights Out Machining


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Lights out machining, sometimes referred to as lights out manufacturing, simply means that a machine can be up and running on its own, without the need for human presence. This is how the process came to be named the machines can be running with the “lights out,” so to speak.

CNC Machining

CNC, or computer numerical control, is the technology that allows manufacturing devices and
plastics machines to run “lights out.” While in some cases, employees are needed to help facilitate the process by setting up “tombstones” to hold parts that haven’t yet been manufactured as well as to remove parts that have been completed. However, some facilities, like Seaway Plastics, are able to run true lights out machining in their facilities with very little human input.

Potential Issues with Lights Out Machining

Not all companies have perfected lights out manufacturing or fully automating their manufacturing technology. For example, a machine becomes jammed and is no longer working correctly. An employee would be needed to remove the jam and calibrate the machine to continue working at capacity. Similar issues exist with lights out machining, where
manufacturing devices just aren’t working properly and aren’t able to be left on their own during

“lights out.”
However, many of the potential challenges of lights out machining can be mitigated with experience in the process and careful setup for each project.

Benefits of Lights Out Machining

There are numerous benefits of lights out machining for both companies and their consumers. While companies can save money on labor and overhead costs, the benefits for consumers are far greater:

  • Plastic parts for a variety of industries are more affordable with the reduced need for human labor
  • Machines can be run around-the-clock, including at night and on weekends, allowing for tight deadlines to be met
  • Projects can be completed in less time than with traditional machining
  • Multiple parts and projects can be worked on at the same time using different setups and different machines that have been partially or fully automated

Choosing Seaway Plastics for Your Parts Needs

Lights out machining can be difficult to perfect errors in automated manufacturing have
prevented many companies from going fully “lights out.” However, with diligent commitment,
we have reached the summit of lights out machining and can confidently offer our customers this state-of-the-art technology.

This means that when you choose Seaway Plastics for your parts needs no matter whether
you’re in the medical, aerospace, military, or the packaging industry you can trust that we’ll be
able to meet even the most demanding deadlines. We provide high quality plastics parts for a wide variety of needs and you can count on us to deliver.

Contact Seaway Plastics today to discuss your plastic parts needs and learn how we can help you get your projects done affordably and on time, every time. Call now at (727) 845-3235.

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