The management team developed a plan to use the company's new facility and advanced 4- and 5-axis manufacturing capabilities to entice aerospace and defense manufacturers to send more work their way. Lisa Backfish, who had a degree in marketing, was asked to begin networking with high tech manufacturers in Indiana and surrounding states, as well as with direct business sources in the Federal government.
Manufacturing Engineer, Tim Marion, said: "Our company specializes in doing the complicated manufacturing jobs that other shops tend to shy away from," said manufacturing engineer, Tim Marion. "We don't want to tie up our equipment and CAD/CAM stations with work that doesn't really add a lot of value to the project."
The primary tool Marion Manufacturing uses to add value to its projects is Mastercam CAD/CAM software. The company has five seats. "We use it for programming our 3-, 4- and 5-axis mills, lathes, and wire EDM as well as for design. It touches just about everything we do. Mastercam has given us the ability to do some really tough work," Marion said.
The company does a lot of "design and build" work for dies and fixtures. Marion's engineers create the designs in Mastercam and then develop the CNC toolpaths in the same programming environment, so absolutely nothing is lost in translation. They use computer simulation of the toolpaths for quoting purposes and to ensure they will run safely on the equipment.
To ensure flawless finishes, which is very important with aerospace work, Tim has become proficient in Mastercam's specialized surface blending toolpaths. Another favorite machining strategy of Marion's is Mastercam's high speed pocketing toolpaths such as dynamic milling. This can be a tremendous time saver when high volumes of material have to be removed.
Throughout 2009, the company fought back and by the end of the year sales were flat (at the previous year's level) but the customer base had been expanded and new work was flowing in. By early in 2010, the workforce had expanded to 50, the outlook was for 20% growth, and the company was now advertising for Mastercam programmers with at least five years experience.