Empower Shop Floor Problem Solving

At BDE Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., (Beaverton, Oregon) programmer/machinists are empowered to complete projects themselves, saving downtime and manufacturing costs while reducing delivery times. BDE’s programmers share 10 seats of Mastercam®. For each project, they study the part for the best-cut condition for optimal tool wear reduction and material removal rates and then program as necessary.

Project Coordinator Derick Sherburne said, “When we switched over to Mastercam, we realized you can push your cutters a lot faster because you have less radial engagement. The cutter wears a lot more evenly because you are using the whole flute length, so we extend our tool life as well. We get better surface finishes. We are reducing cycle times.”

Tool Libraries are another big time saver: “The ability to use the Tool Manager to build libraries saves me a lot of time. I will load my machine definition, pull up my tool library, and all of the tools I have in that machine are there in Mastercam,” he said.

Mastercam’s lathe programming makes it possible to produce small milled parts that used to require three operations, in a single setup from round stock on a lathe with live tooling.

Networked licenses of Mastercam promote teamwork at BDE. Recently, the manufacturing team worked on a large multi-part mold for the skins around the window of interior panels of an aircraft whereby the client could switch out mold parts to make all sorts of different parts. Six programmer/machinists worked on the mold, which featured curved interior surfaces. “They wanted it in three weeks so we had to move quickly,” said Sherburne.

Eager to learn what new features will be available to further improve their productivity, BDE became a beta tester of Mastercam 2017. Sherburne said, “I like the way all of the planes and levels are handy via the toolpath menu. “It has the feel of a more powerful CAD program. I can see that it will appeal to the younger programmers,” he concluded.