Ep. 53 – Chris Manning on the Beauty of Bar Loaders

By Noah Graff

On today’s podcast we’re talking about bar loaders for multi-spindle screw machines. Our guest is Chris Manning. Chris has been installing and repairing integrated bar loaders around the world for 20 years, primarily Cucchi bar loaders. Integrated loaders, usually those made by Cucchi or IEMCA, replace the traditional stock reels on multi-spindles.

Scroll down to listen to the podcast.

Bar loaders may sound like a boring topic, but they are actually quite expensive and complex equipment. One integrated loader can enable a single machinist to run three machines at a time.

Main Points of the Interview

(3:10-8:05) Chris talks about his career path. He started as a chipper at a machine shop in Ohio in the ‘80s. Eventually he graduated to running and setting up cam multi-spindles. In the late ’90s he went to work at Gosiger, a machine tool distributor in Dayton, Ohio, where he sold Euroturn multi-spindles and Cucchi bar loaders. Later, he worked with Luca Lanzetta who took over distributing Cucchi. Since then he has worked for various other machine tool firms and started his own company Bar Loader Services.

(10:10-10:45) Chris explains that integrated loaders are best suited for long parts such as shafts and typically cost around $125,000.

(11:42-13:50) Chris discusses the mechanical process of integrated bar loaders. He says that if they are properly implemented in a shop, a Cucchi or IEMCA bar loader can enable one person to run three multi-spindles at a time.

(15:20) Chris explains the differences between Cucchi loaders and IEMCA loaders. He says the fingers on Cucchi loaders enable it to absorb vibration well and that they are far superior at running hex stock. He says he prefers IEMCA loaders for running very small diameters, 1/8” or smaller.

(20:10-21:30) Chris talks about the main technical problems he encounters in the field when bar loaders are poorly maintained.

(21:30-22:25) Chris speaks highly about the new MBL bar loaders produced by INDEX. He says they seem like a cross breed between IEMCA and Cucchi, taking the best characteristics of each.

(22:34) Chris says he is seeing more and more shops in the United States replacing multi-spindles with single spindle CNCs and CNC turning centers.

(26:45-29:05) Chris discusses the process of replacing a stock reel on a multi-spindle with an integrated loader. He says it is harder to replace a bar loader with a stock reel than to replace a stock reel with a bar loader.

Question: Do businesses need fewer people today?

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2 thoughts on “Ep. 53 – Chris Manning on the Beauty of Bar Loaders

  1. r in nyc

    Regarding bar loaders, we do most all turning on one of our horizontal machining centers. We have a couple of 10 gang – 5C collet holders, we slug blanks on the automated cut off saw and feed that to the CNC. Gives us great flexibility and incredible secondary machining in one setup. For external diameter we use either hollow mills (with four inserts we can wind up the feed !) or circular interpolation.
    10 or 20 parts at a time between tool changes vs 1 part at a time with a lathe. And we know all of the costs and issues with live tooling on CNC lathes.

    That said;
    One of the greatest challenges in most businesses is managing cost.

    Property taxes, utilities, material, insurance, disposable tooling and so on are relatively fixed costs, but ever increasing…

    The only variable you really have to work with is labor.

    Then NYC jacks up minimum wage, and the useless slug that isn’t worth $10/hour is now getting $15.

    So he’s on the chopping block and laid off.

    Ironically, it is interesting when that happens suddenly productivity picks up and you don’t even notice that the slug is gone.

    When we find bottlenecks in production, we either improve the process, automate, or just farm it out. (let the experts take care of their specialties with their modern automated toys!).

    my 2 cents…

  2. Lloyd Graff

    Hello R. Very interesting stuff.

    Stats from the government show significant improvements in American productivity lately. One reason is probably the raising of minimum wage laws, prompting machines, robots, answering gizmos (I really hate them) replacing people. Layoff a person, but waste my time on the phone.
    Ever try getting an appointment for an MRI at the hospital?


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