Take Your Manufacturing Business to the Next Level – Press Your Advantages

Take Your Manufacturing Business to the Next Level is a five-part blog series:

  1. Introduction and Opening Moves
  2. Commit to Post and Go
  3. Ingrain Technology
  4. Use Training as a Tool
  5. Press Your Advantages and Conclusion

Part Five: Press Your Advantage and Conclusion

Take better advantage of what you already have.

Learn more about improvements in the latest release of your CAM software that can have a significant impact on your manufacturing business results. Here’s how one Mastercam Reseller is encouraging customers to get involved with the incremental approach to continuous manufacturing improvement outlined in this white paper.

QTE Manufacturing Solutions, a Mastercam Reseller headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, introduced a monthly before work learning session called Code ‘N’ Coffee. applications engineers from QTE serve coffee and doughnuts and talk about important technical issues before attendees head off for their jobs. Attendees learn a lot about Mastercam capabilities that they may not have discovered on their own, and they get to ask the experts technical questions that may make the project they are working on go easier—sometimes a lot easier.

Topics on the Code ’N’ Coffee agenda are selected to add significant value to the Mastercam user’s experience. The following Code ’N’ Coffee sessions are examples of things Mastercam users sometimes overlook with tremendous built-in advantages.

Productivity deep dive: Underused productivity tools can have a big impact on the bottom line. Understanding the value of what’s already in your software—from Dynamic Motion techniques to stock-awareness—is key to running at peak efficiency.

Lathe with live tooling: The popularity of lathes with live tooling is evidenced by the fact that post processors for these machines are in great demand. Mastercam Lathe greatly enhances the value of these machines because the program incorporates all Mastercam 3-axis mill capabilities, including Dynamic Motion technology.

Stock model compare: Learn how to use the stock model for the last operation as the model for the next. When you come back in, you know what you have left to machine, so you don’t have to spend so much time cutting air, or you are able to get a better representation of what you are going to start cutting.

More accurate simulation: Companies doing complex 5-axis movements frequently use Vericut G-code simulation to ensure the safety of their parts, equipment, and expensive tooling. However, the use of Vericut can significantly increase programming time and machine cycles. For many basic 5-axis and 3+2 machining operations, simulation with Mastercam’s Verify feature is sufficient once the setting has been optimized for the application.

Tool Manager: Mastercam’s Tool Manager provides an efficient and comprehensive way to manage tools and tool holding components, and to create tool assemblies to use in Mastercam. Besides the tooling component support, Tool Manager also integrates work material and cut parameter data, allowing the user to create a proprietary database of experience based on information that can become a powerful competitive advantage for those who use it effectively.

Automated in-process gaging: Integrating in-process gaging into CNC programs using Mastercam Productivity+™ can eliminate the downtime that occurs while equipment idles waiting for manual in-process gaging. One user determined that in-process gaging with Productivity+ reduced cycle times for its aerospace production runs by as much as 50%.

Multitasking: Advanced mill-turn and multitasking machines are becoming increasingly popular. They are capable of faster production with fewer setups on a variety of parts. Fundamental topics like stream syncing and optimization make these machines pay for themselves faster.

Are you using the tools listed above to your best advantage? Your local Mastercam Reseller can help you better use the tools you already have for everything listed and more.

Put it all together.

In this blog series we have presented steps manufacturers can take to bring their CNC manufacturing business to a new level of success by further improving efficiency and lead times. For anyone interested it implementing this plan, we conclude with an overview of the series, in a more concise form.

Opening Moves: Start from where you are and assess your strengths and weaknesses. Install CAM software that will be powerful and flexible enough to take full advantage of the equipment that you have invested so heavily in. Enlist the support of your Mastercam Reseller and other trusted advisors to guide you on how to marshal your equipment and manpower resources for all they are worth.

Commit to Post and Go: Inculcate your workforce with the concept of Post and Go manufacturing, so that when anyone in the plant sees idle equipment, they also see a potential opportunity to obtain a competitive advantage by improving spindle uptime. The front line of this battle is fine-tuning posts so that little is left to do at the machine except set it up and run the part program.

Ingrain Technology: Embrace new technology and the engineers, programmers, and machinists who are so good at it. The world is moving at a faster pace than it did even five years ago. The new workforce is used to this, and good people will be able to adapt quickly to change and take advantage of what new technology has to offer. It is at their fingertips; empower them to use it intelligently.

Use Training as a Tool: In the world of CAM, training does not sap profits; it enhances the value of all the technology your manufacturing business has accumulated. There are many ways to keep your workforce well trained. Some are initially expensive but provide a rapid payback. Others cost almost nothing and help deliver incremental improvements year after year. Investigate what your training options are and implement some of them.

Press Your Advantages: The thousands of Mastercam maintenance license holders worldwide are funding massive R&D efforts that result in many powerful and incredibly useful product enhancements and new capabilities with every annual release. Companies that make the effort to discover and implement these capabilities are most likely to make discernible advances in manufacturing efficiency and cost reductions.

Repeat the above.

By the time you have gone through the list, it is likely that conditions impacting your manufacturing business will have changed. Don’t view this is a problem. It is simply the way manufacturing is, and will be, for the foreseeable future. Repeat the steps above to stay sharp and embrace innovation. Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and come up with a plan that will keep you moving forward with the talent, efficiency, and technology you need to keep pushing your manufacturing business to the next level.

You are welcome to download a free white paper that overviews the content of this blog series as a manufacturing action plan here: Ignite Your Manufacturing.

This blog series was written in partnership with QTE Manufacturing Solutions, a Mastercam Reseller providing CAD/CAM solutions in St. Louis, Kansas City, Wichita, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Hannibal, Quincy, St. Charles, Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Little Rock, Bentonville, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and most other locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.