Do You Have A Multi-Axis CNC Launch Plan?


Modern CNC machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but placing that technology on the floor is just the beginning. Utilizing the technology requires a process development team interacting with a series of software technologies including the CAD/CAM system, the post processor, the G-code simulator, G-code program, and machine tool controller. There must be a plan in place that will allow for the launch of a sophisticated new tool into high levels of effective use as quickly as possible.

One way to approach this is to contract a customized process development and training program that accomplishes all of these objectives. Derek Goodwin, founder of eapprentice.com, described one such program his organization recently orchestrated for a high tech manufacturer.

The project centered on developing a turnkey process to produce a family of components complete in one machining cycle. It involved collaborating with internal staff at the customer, the applications engineer from the machine tool distributor, production specialists on the eapprentice team, and a postprocessing expert from CNC Software Inc.
Deliverables of this project included:

  1. Machine-specific training in multiaxis Mastercam programming.
  2. Custom post processor to connect CAM with the machine controller.
  3. Machine operation training, including critical controller and postprocessor issues.
  4. A proven Mastercam program for one of the company’s most representative part families.
  5. A manufacturing process, including workholding solutions for this and similar parts.
  6. Instructional materials including videos taken during the classroom sessions dealing with their own manufacturing issues.

The company benefited by immediately obtaining high uptime levels for a powerful manufacturing tool right out of the box. They identified people on their staff and courseware resources for training others in their shop to handle important programming, setup, and operational tasks related to this specific equipment.
Compared to the loss incurred when expensive new CNC machines stand idle until staff engineers can learn how to use them, this approach costs very little and is likely to pay for itself in the first month’s operation by allowing the equipment to be used at much higher than average initial application levels.

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