Firearm Firsts

History is replete with a number of “firsts” in firearm design. For instance, the rifling principal was discovered in 1498, and first appeared in firearms in 1540. While the concept of the revolving design was nothing new at the time, Samuel Colt was the first to mass produce a firearm that utilized this technology. He was also the first to employ machining tools in production.

The shotgun of today is very different from its predecessor, the “fowling piece” of the later 1700s, which was intended for hunting birds. Like the modern shotgun, it fired “shot” (many small pellets) as opposed to a single bullet.

The “repeating rifle” (a gun that utilizes a magazine to enable it to fire multiple times before reloading) came into use in the American Civil War.

 Acme also can boast a number of “firsts” in relation to firearm parts finishing.

Acme first got into the firearm parts finishing industry in 2008, finishing stainless and carbon steel revolver receivers. Acme was responsible for polishing the outside diameter, blending the outside diameter, and creating a satin buff finish on the stainless parts.

Since that time, Acme has branched out into other areas of firearm parts finishing, having installed more than 24 turnkey robot cells that finish revolver receivers, pistol frames, pistol slides, pistol barrels, pistol clips, rifle brass stock, and trigger guards.

Of course, Acme also finishes rifle barrels. According to Stephen Wolney, Acme’s Automation Team Lead “All customers are different and have separate needs and wants.”

“For a satin finish on the entire barrel we use a non-woven media wheels wheel to give them the look required. If mismatch is an issue on the barrel and needs to be removed, we use coated abrasive belts to cut material and create an even surface. Also, if the customer wants the cam on the barrel to be burr free, we will use 600 grit flex hones. The chamber and the feed ramp are polished to a smooth finish.”

Acme customers enjoy the many advantages associated with robotic material removal and surface finishing, that include enhanced productivity, minimizing manual labor, reliability, high consistency of parts quality, minimal maintenance-related down time, predictable media usage, and rapid changeover from one part to another. In the case of general operation, individual operator skill set is not required to produce a repeatable high-quality repeatable finish. These efficiencies lead to improved ROI and overall cost reductions.

Acme finishes gun parts made from various metals that include aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel. By consulting with various media manufacturers, Acme chooses the best product to create the finish required and provide the highest ROI. According to Wolney “Most of the time the media we use helps customers get their ROI just from the improved utilization of the media alone.”

“Robotic automation technology… (is) the most… cost efficient process for global manufacturing operations.”

Additional improvement in ROI results from consistent part quality, which reduces scrapped parts and rework conditions. Initial capital equipment investment, lower consumable media costs, lower maintenance costs, reduced dependency on manual labor and quicker start-up are additional factors to consider when looking at robotic systems.

We know that over time, firearm technology will continue to evolve. As that happens, Acme will be there to continuously provide new developments in the firearm industry, and continuously improve our customers bottom line.


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