I went to a job interview today at a company the makes solonoids.They have a cell with an Index cnc screw machine that makes the initial piece. it is then sent to a welder that brazes a bronze ring around the shaft.The parts move around on a little conveyor and are manipulated with robot arms. After every machinig operation the part is placed in a little box where it is blown clean. It is then machineed again in a vertical lathe(the tools stand still and the chuck moves around)There is another process that peens the sides equaldistantly. I was told this was for plunger support.The part is hand checked at the last station and then sent to the platers. The whole set up could fit in my living room. They can do 3 sizes at the same time. Assembly and testing are all automated as well as coil winding. The final assembly(coil and body) is by hand, but the really interesting part is that they only have to send out for plating ,everthing else is in shop.
It seems their biggest problem is down time because of the power requirements of the German machinery and the US power supply. It seems their transformers aren't doing their job to their satisfaction. I also think that our midwest humidity is playing hell with their controllers.Way high on the coolness level.
On the down side, when I got home and looked at my little SB lathe and mill/drill, they looked kind of sad.