Mastercam Reseller Profile – Q&A with ShopWare, Inc.

ShopWare, Inc., has been a Mastercam Reseller since 1994, shortly after its founding in 1992. Its two offices in Elgin, Illinois, and Pendleton, Indiana, service CAD/CAM software users in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Kentucky. The team supports customers such as Harley Davidson, Paragon Medical, and Mercury Marine.

ShopWare excels at serving a diverse manufacturing market. The company won Number One Dealer in 2011 and has been among the top five national Mastercam Resellers since the mid-1990s. General Manager Bill Angsten agreed to share his insight on what makes ShopWare unique.

Q. What Mastercam services do you offer customers?

A. We’re a one-stop shop for everything Mastercam. We offer sales support, implementation guidance, post-processing, everything. We do a combination of training classes at both our offices. Both our Illinois and Indiana offices have a full nine-seat training lab. We also do a lot of on-site training where we bring the lab to the customer.

We teach basically every product that Mastercam offers, from 2D Mill through complex Multiaxis training. For support, we take phone calls all the time, but we’ll also go to the customer. We can go on-site for every step of the process: installation, training, helping to solve customer problems. About half of our staff is dedicated to technical support and application-based training.

Q. What’s the latest or most exciting customer application you have?

A. One of our customers, Mid Valley Industries, has come a long way because of Mastercam. They had been using GibbsCAM, and it was crashing multiple times a day. Now they don’t have to worry about that. They were just working on a custom post and simulation package for a Bridge Mill. Mastercam provided the post to be able to program the 90-degree head exactly as was needed. It was programmable in 1-degree increments, and they cold customize it to be used on 4th axis, too.

Another job they do is a part with four pockets on the outside. With their old software, the pockets would each take approximately four hours. They’d tried multiple ways of reducing cycle times with no luck. Now, with Area Mill, they run a high feed mill in the pocket and brought the cycle time down to 48 minutes per pocket. One of the nice features in Area Mill is that you can adjust the depth of the cut as it walks down a radius. Instead of having to rough out and then surface each pocket, now they’re only using one tool.

Q. What’s your favorite feature in Mastercam?

A. Really the main difference with Mastercam that we see with our customers on a day-to-day basis is just the ease with which you can take a print or an idea through to production. No other software does it easier or faster, and the customer has so much control with Mastercam.

Q. What are you looking forward to?

A. We’re looking forward to a more comprehensive turning product along with the continued development of Dynamic and 3D Milling. Those are putting other more expensive software packages out of business, in both 3D and 5-axis applications. It’s great that they develop it all and test it there in-house in Connecticut, because we know when it does get released that everything is ready for prime time.

Q. What are some challenges/opportunities you find that are unique to your region?

A. We’re starting to see a lot of these start-up companies coming in. Those guys who decide to leave their job to start their own shop need software. It reminds me of how the market was in the late 90s, with a whole lot of new opportunity for everyone.

Also, traditional manufacturing is taking a hit, and we believe the companies that embrace the latest technology and take on work with more complexity will thrive. We’re seeing it directly in the number of multiaxis seats we’ve sold in the last three years.

Q. What are some unique issues that you can solve as a local support hub for Mastercam?

A. We were just talking to one of our customers about how one of competitors might be in the area, but you wouldn’t know it because they just don’t do local support. Once their customers get their software and sit down to set things up, they have to call Europe or California for help. If they want training, they’ve got to fly their people way out there to the home base or pay to fly a trainer in. []

Our customers can call anytime from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm CDT and get a live person, but we also regularly send applications engineers to our customers’ facilities to work on their specific parts and get personalized instruction. This gives us intimate knowledge as to what is happening in our market.

Q. Do you sell any other products besides Mastercam?

A. We have Cimco for machine communication, document management and data collection, 3D Printers, and ProShop ERP.

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