Dynamic Thinking: 3 Steps to Invest Strategically in Your Shop

Planning ahead can make the difference between a shop just getting by and a shop out-machining all competitors. There is no idle time in a shop like this; employees are still working hard even if the machines aren’t. They are investing in their shop by streamlining their workflow and maximizing efficiency. There is always plenty to do. Here are three suggestions.

1. Organize Part Files

Time is money, and you don’t want to waste either searching for files or components. You will be able to identify important objects at first glance by standardizing how your shop is organized digitally. The first step is to use a standardized naming convention for all of your files so that anyone will know how to search through them. Also consider using standardized colors for your part, fixture, and stock. You can come up with your own standard, the important thing is to always stick to it.

The key message is consistency. For example, the Mastercam Manufacturing Lab® follows standard protocols to maintain order and productivity. Here are some recommendations to get started:

  • Name your files starting with a date: July82020_AccurateMold
  • Place all your wireframe geometry on Level 1
  • Place the Part Solid on Level 20
  • Place any additional toolpath geometry on Levels 60-70
  • Place all Fixture geometry on Levels 80-90
  • Place Stock geometry on Level 99

2. Create a Tool Library

Tool Libraries are storehouses of tools and tool holder components as well as databases of feeds and speeds based on specific materials and machines. Create a library of your most used tools so that you won’t have to redefine them every time you machine.

3. Brush Up on What You Do Daily

We at Mastercam are constantly working on enhancing user experience. We spend a lot of time finding ways to reduce “mouse miles” by conducting usability tests and working with that feedback. For example, chaining has gone through many enhancements over the years, but we noticed that many of our users are not using the new enhancements because change is hard. The chaining updates in Mastercam 2020, like automatically chaining tangent entities by holding the “Shift” key while selecting, can drastically reduce programming time and effort. Ask your local reseller if there are better ways your software can help you day to day.

Dynamic Thinking

Steps to improve time management and efficiency in your shop can be a part of your long-term investment strategies for manufacturing success. If you are a Mastercam user, run a machine shop, or are simply looking for more ideas to keep a shop running at peak safety and productivity, check out additional content in our Dynamic Thinking series. This series includes training opportunities, webinars, and more to help you find ways to adapt to changing conditions and expectations in manufacturing markets.