Have Mastercam Will Travel

Have you just ordered a new 5-axis machining center and want to get it efficiently integrated into your workflow as soon as possible? Have you just received an order for a complex family of parts and need to create an efficient program, complete with workholding solution, to launch the program expeditiously? Perhaps you have a good programmer who could really take it to another level if he only had the chance to spend some time working along side a veteran Mastercam user?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you might consider obtaining the services of Ron Branch at 5th Axis Programming (Anaheim, CA). Those are exactly the services he provides. Ron takes pride in working himself out of a job after spending two weeks to several months working with his customers to help improve their manufacturing processes. He said, “My customers wind up operating so much more efficiently that they are actually bringing manufacturing work back to the USA. I get a kick out of that.”

Branch has formulated a number of rules that help him teach customers why they need to more effectively harness the power of CAD/CAM technology for increasing productivity and quality.

3 For 1: The first of these he calls the “3 for 1 rule.” For every dollar you seem to be wasting on a scrap part, you are actually wasting 3: The initial loss, the time and money that will be spent replacing the scrapped part, and then the time and money you spend fixing what went wrong in the first place, so you won’t do it again.

Model Based Part Definition: When Branch works with customers he places a heavy emphasis on using Model Based Part Definition throughout the manufacturing process. He said, “With the model as our constant directional focus, we use it to ask questions and receive answers about what we can do to reduce sources of error and improve productivity.” But there is even more to it than that. The model can be used not only as an information set, but also as an intelligence set. In other words, CAM software can take advantage of intelligence embedded in the model so that it can do things like simultaneously adjust cutter feeds and speeds based on the part geometry (as in Mastercam’s Dynamic Milling Toolpaths).

People, Processes, Technology: This aphorism provides Branch’s customers with a handy framework for analyzing manufacturing problems as well as potential opportunities. “People” has to do with the availability of appropriate staffing along with their current skill levels and motivation. Problems in this area can be solved via hiring and training. “Technology” is self-explanatory; it reminds the problem solvers to assess whether or not the equipment and software currently available are up to the job at hand. Companies can have adequate people and technology in place and still miss the boat because their “processes” are incomplete or inappropriate. These simple conceptual tools make it easy to focus on and identify the root cause of almost any manufacturing process dysfunction.

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