IMTS Insider

A Barrel of Fun Thanks to a Barrel of Technology

Category: Manufacturing Technology Feb 25, 2021

Competitive Advantage in Paintball Starts with Technology

Paint ball enthusiasts agree that barrels are an important factor in precision. The quicksilver and inconsistent nature of a paintball’s non-uniform composition means that factors such as surface finish, diameter, straightness, and roundness can have a massive impact on barrel performance, and thus the marker’s accuracy. Dimensions that are off by mere millimeters can throw off a shot by several feet or create an inconsistent shot grouping.

As a result, manufacturers are forced to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of manhours manually honing barrels to get them to the desired dimensions—proving to be inefficient, expensive, and limiting production capacity.

Turn toward the Sunnen
When one paintball-barrel maker needed an efficient solution to produce flawless barrels to exact dimensions, they found Sunnen Manufacturing, a builder of high-tech machinery in St. Louis, Mo., had the answer. The Sunnen SV-1000 Series Vertical CNC Honing Machine produces parts that are accurate to ±0.000010 on a five-position rotary table. It’s not just dead accurate dimensionally, but the hone also brings the barrel out to size in one shot.

Prior to the CNC hone, the barrel maker had four employees on dayshift and two on nightshift running manual hones. Now, there is one operator on the CNC hone and one employee doing hand polishing, and the two produce more parts per day in a single shift than six did before (approximately 250 barrels). The added capacity of the CNC machine enables CP to supply barrels to paintball marker OEMs, retailers, and its own retail operation.

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Sunnen helped this small business deliver top-of-the line products and grow their business to the point where they now operate out of a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility while employing some 30 people.

Better Manufacturing, Brighter Futures 
Today advanced manufacturing is state-of-the-art machinery. It along with innovative thinking can help makers or product manufacturers optimize, grow, and find success.

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