Precision Parts Manufacturer Grows with CAD/CAM Software and 5-axis Machining
Coordinate Industries Ltd. started as a small job shop with low production volumes, sometimes running short orders of only two to five pieces. Now, the company has expanded into a global supplier of precision machined parts for the aerospace, military, medical, and industrial industries.
Mill, Lathe, Design, Multiaxis
Aerospace, Medical, Metalworking
In 2000, Coordinate Industries Ltd. (Oakville, Ontario) received orders for new parts with multiple planes. Although a fixture could be incorporated into the company’s existing 3-axis machines, it was not cost-effective. So, Coordinate Industries upgraded its capabilities by purchasing a single 5-axis machine.
More than twenty years later, the facility has now matured to include 50 CNC machining centers, 26 of which are 5-axis milling machines. Housed in two campuses totaling 100,000 square feet, Coordinate Industries optimizes its equipment investment with MastercamCAD/CAM software.
“We had the 5-axis and we were struggling,” Senior CNC Programmer Chris Merrick admitted. “We were making some parts with it, but we weren’t getting what we could out of the machine…Using Mastercam allowed us to make one part in one operation and cut it off, versus four, five, or six operations.”
Now equipped with nine seats of Mastercam, Coordinate Industries standardized its programming process. Customized parameters are managed by the tool library. Frequently used tools and holders can be assigned into assemblies, allowing data to be copied for similar components.
Where before quality control was through first-off inspection, now verification is done in the programming phase, prior to production. Programmers use the Verify function throughout the process to generate toolpaths in a virtual environment and check accuracy.
Merrick described a 7050-aluminum part that is manufactured in one operation using high speed Dynamic roughing, which is five times faster than standard pocketing methods. The Pocket and 2D High Speed Dynamic toolpaths used the full flute of the tool to make cuts, maximizing material removal and minimizing tool wear.
While Coordinate Industries typically machines aluminum, it was able to meet a customer demand for white polyoxymethylene plastic. The manufacturer quickly designed, programed, and produced ventilator components with a quick turnaround time. Programmers used the Drilling, Contour Ramp, 2D Contour, and Contour Chamfer toolpaths to complete the process in one operation. Coolant could not be used to lubricate the machine, so an air blower was purchased for blowing off the tips to cool down the parts. For maximum output, lights-out manufacturing was employed.
“We were able to program it very quickly and put it on some of our robots,” said Director of Operations Josip Saric. “We were able to do it faster than any injection mold company was able to.”
Staying up to date with technology, Coordinate Industries purchased the Maintenance Program through its Mastercam Reseller, In House Solutions (Cambridge, ON, Canada). The program provides access to the latest software versions and new features. As the software upgraded functionality each year, the company upgraded its applications to further increase marketability.
Saric said, “There’s a significant difference from now and 20 years ago with how much we’ve improved and what we have achieved. We would not be where we are right now without a solid CAM software.”
“We had the 5-axis and we were struggling. We were making some parts with it, but we weren’t getting what we could out of the machine…Using Mastercam allowed us to make one part in one operation and cut it off, versus four, five, or six operations.”—Chris Merrick, Senior CNC Programmer, Coordinate Industries Ltd. Oakville, Ontario
Upgrade equipment capabilities.
Mastercam Mill, Lathe, Design, and Multiaxis Solutions
- Standardized equipment setups.
- Improved quality control.
- Increased tool life and reduced cycle times through High Speed toolpaths.