Category "CAM"

Does your organization rely on creating and using CAM (Computer Aided Machining) programs? Do you have difficulty keeping track of all your CAM data? Do you struggle with quality issues in your machining operation? If the answer is yes, you could benefit from a Machining Benchmark.

The Machining Benchmark assessment captures the opinions of senior and knowledgeable personnel in your organization on the current state and future Machining requirements for your business. In addition, a priority for improvement and an assessment of current effectiveness is recorded. It centers on 17 key Machining “Pillars” ranging from PLM Training, through to Automation and Development. The pillars are listed below:

  1. CAM Programming Capabilities
  2. CAM Maturity
  3. CAD/CAM/CNC/CMM Integration
  4. Tooling and Fixture Design
  5. CAM Best Practices
  6. CAM Validation and Simulation
  7. CAM Efficiency
  8. Version and Revision control of CAM data
  9. Supplier Collaboration
  10. Shop floor Documentation
  11. Model based Definition
  12. Quality Management
  13. Dimensional Control
  14. CAM User Support
  15. CAM Application Maintenance
  16. On boarding for CAM systems
  17. Ongoing training for CAM systems

After the 17 pillars have been covered, senior and knowledgeable personnel are also invited to “spend” an assumed benefit in value areas within your business. The areas identified are improving time to market, increasing the portfolio of the company and improving product quality.

Finally, the tool produces a comprehensive report showing the customer’s current state of maturity and a benchmark comparison with the industry.

Participants have found this process to be very useful as it allows them to prioritize their initiatives, gives a high-level view of their roadmap to success and provides them with industry benchmark information.

It always amazes me, the sheer complexity of the task.  We must take a detailed engineering design, start with a simple block of metal, and through the application of pressure and process, whittle that block down to a functional product, accurate to within microns.

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In order to accomplish this feat more efficiently and bring the cost/part down, CNC Machine Tools have added more of everything in recent years. They have become more powerful, allowing for higher cutting speeds that require advanced feed-rate controls to make effective.  They have also become more dynamic, with 5-Axis Mills and multi-spindle, multi-turret Mill-turn machines offering opportunities to minimize part setups, increase accuracy, and reduce overall machining time.

They have, in short, become more complex.  And with that complexity comes additional expense.  With machines that routinely cost multiple hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, the reality of the situation is that a machine collision is just not an option.

There are so many capabilities and options available on a modern NC Machine tool that ensuring that the machine is properly programmed to do what is expected becomes a monumental task.  You need a powerful programming tool to help you create the paths, controlling the cutting tool axis, speeds, engagements and retracts so as to efficiently and accurately machine the product.

Those paths, when initially reviewed by the CAM software, may look feasible from the context of the tool, but upon generating the code and loading it into the controller, often there are motions that are either positional in nature (rotating the part to align the tool), or controller specific (ex. Go home moves) that create collisions with objects such as fixtures or the part, or that require movement beyond the machine’s axis limitations. […]

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