World Skills Competition 2011

Earlier this month the WorldSkills 2011 competition was held in London with students from all over the world. CNC Software is proud that Mastercam is the official platform for CAD/CAM competitions. A number of CNC employees went to London to provide support. Here’s a little recap of the week’s events.

Monday/Tuesday:
During the first two days, the competitors’ main interest is to get familiar with Mastercam and the Mori Seiki machines. While some students have trained extensively with both Mastercam and Mori Seiki, this was the first time that other students have used either. The job for CNC staff was to arrive early and finish setting up Mastercam on all the workstations.

Our staff spent the day working with competitors from all over the world, answering questions about Mastercam, as well as questions about machine operation, machining, and G code programming. We really enjoyed working with these bright young students who represent the best of their nation.

Wednesday:
Wednesday was the first day of actual competition. There were three events that the Mastercam team was supporting:

  • Milling
  • Turning
  • Manufacturing Challenge

The Turning challenge involved three days of individual competition followed by a single day of team competition. Today’s individual challenge required that competitors cut a complicated mill/turn part with milling on both sides. The competitors needed to engineer a setup so that the milled features on the second side remained in line with those on the first side.

Members of the CNC Software staff had to stand at attention just outside the yellow area in case there was a problem with Mastercam. Because this competition is so important to these students, they needed to treat every issue and question with urgency. The competitors have spent up to eight years preparing for this competition as their full-time job.

Thursday:
Today, the students were required to make two parts and this required four setups. Without any prior knowledge of the challenge, the students had to engineer a plan for each part, draw and program the parts in Mastercam, and finally set up and machine the parts. They were only allowed 8 hours to complete this work. These competitors are clearly the best in the world on mill/turn machines.

Friday:
The pressure on these competitors was huge. Today’s part had the most difficult tolerances yet, and the frustration could be seen on many students’ faces. In the afternoon, there were some machine crashes peppered throughout the turning competition, which may have been due to a combination of the increased difficulty and the overwhelming fatigue. At the end of the day, less than half of the students have finished their parts.

Saturday:
Today was “Team Day.” All of the competitors have been divided into two teams and were given the blueprints and material to manufacture a working replica of a cannon. The students were clearly enjoying the opportunity to interact with each other on their teams. In addition, there were no limits on how much the staff may interact and support the students, which was refreshing, because our staff was eager to help.

What a great experience it was to see what all of these great students can do with Mastercam. We look forward to doing it all over again at the next competition!

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