Non-Metallic Machine Shop Grows With Mastercam
Precision Fluorocarbon Inc. (PFI) of Tomball, Texas, is a non-metallic machining business serving a variety of industries including energy, medical devices and industrial equipment manufacturing. The company’s non-metallic CNC machining proficiencies, which have evolved along with the growing capabilities of Mastercam, allow it to make significant inroads into these and many other markets by solving challenging problems.
One of the first product lines the company began manufacturing shortly after it was founded by Howard Frank in 1989, was compression molded PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene) stock shapes, custom machined components and thermally formed diaphragms for air-operated pumps. Today, the company still molds stock engineering thermoplastic shapes that are sold to other manufacturers. However, the bulk of its molding output is consumed internally and used for machining engineered plastic components.
Howard’s son, Steve Frank, Vice-President, of PFI said “We do a tremendous amount of high performance, high precision machining of a variety of materials including PTFE, PEEK, nylon, polypropylene, UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight plastic), and even some composite materials that aren’t considered plastics per se.”
By 1998, the company’s rudimentary CAM programming software would not allow Frank and a recently hired programmer to generate programs fast enough to keep pace with the demand for machined plastic components, particularly for the growing oil field customer base. Together, they surveyed the CAD/CAM market, closely evaluated three products and chose Mastercam. Today the company uses no manual machines. Two seats of Mastercam X7 Mill, two of X7 lathe along with solids supports a sophisticated manufacturing operation involving nearly 50 employees working two shifts and 26 CNC machines — lathes and 3-, 4- and 5-axis CNC mills.
Frank said, “Over the years, this decision to standardize on Mastercam has proven to be of tremendous benefit to our company. Mastercam has grown and its capabilities have improved dramatically since we acquired the software. We have used these capabilities to improve our productivity and also to capture new streams of business.
MLC-CAD sold us Mastercam in the late nineties and they have supported us through the years. They are a great group of professionals and we have relied on Danny Ornelas, Mike DeButts and the rest of their team to keep our software up to date and running smoothly. I personally recommend them to anyone considering the purchase of Mastercam or SOLIDWORKS.
In the near future, ground breaking will commence on an expansion that will increase the facility from the current 38,000 sq. ft. to over 50,000 sq. ft. However, the company continues to explore currently under-utilized capabilities of Mastercam along with new technologies that will allow it to more efficiently machine non-metallic components.