CAM Programming Ensures Maximum Returns on Tooling Investments

Proper production engineering can eliminate up to 80% of manufacturing waste, and using cutting tools to their full potential is critical to those efforts. However, not every shop knows exactly how to program the full value out of their tooling investment, or they may lack the resources and knowledge to optimize toolpaths and cutting parameters in house. In these instances, the smart solution optimizes production and solves problems with application and production-programming expertise.

In many instances, shops fail to distinguish between these two essential components of manufacturing solutions. First, application strategies look for ways to optimize machining and create an ideal tool path for each part. Second, production programming considers the machine, its post-processing verification procedure, and the correct binary codes to address the equipment and cut the part to its proper specifications. Where the application solution stops at finessing the tool path, the CAM expert steps in to ensure that the equipment executes the cut correctly. These two separate skill sets contribute equally to achieving optimized results.

Shops want to cut parts, but not all of them know how to apply best practices to plan each job for success. Before CAM simulations made prototype runs largely obsolete, the production process began with test cuts of various cutting-tool paths. Clearly, this try-and-refine procedure wastes time and material. Today, virtually all CAM software packages incorporate simulation capabilities that can test out paths without the need to run equipment or waste production material. However, to achieve the highest precision, an application expert uses a separate dedicated simulator to perfect the tool path.

But where should shops go to find a trusted source of the expertise involved in these procedures? The average engineering company can formulate a CAM file that represents a tool path, but that file does not factor in machine behavior or the invisible challenges of workholding and other unknowns. Additionally, without optimization for the specific cutting tool, machine, workpiece material and part, running that file could risk spindle collision, which could damage the machine and the tool. Without simulations and verification, a digitized tool path offers limited value, and if the shop lacks the expertise to evaluate the options it receives, it may choose an inferior solution and waste time attempting to make it work.

Instead of a semi-generic approach, shops can rely on Seco for expertise in all aspects of this demanding optimization process, including increased productivity, reduced cycle times and even onsite support of verification and simulation procedures. With intimate knowledge of tool behavior in the full context of manufacturing, the Seco Manufacturing Transformation team can apply best practices to each project. This customer-centered approach embodies a commitment to supply real value and enhance productivity.

Experts in both application and production programming understand the importance of a fully optimized process. Because defining a machining strategy differs from optimizing the processing data, simply choosing the proper features from CAM software can optimize a tool path by up to 50%. Then programming experts can point the way to production and tool-cost savings, cycle-time reductions and improved product quality, all thanks to the ability to understand these variables from the customer’s perspective and with an in-depth understanding of all factors that contribute to production efficiency.

A best-practices approach goes beyond cutting tools to improve each of the steps and outcomes in a production process, which provides one of the most important customer benefits of tapping into expertise on application strategies and engineering programming. With access to a holistic view of the process as a whole and each step involved, Seco helps customers succeed in producing great parts in the most efficient way possible. The Seco Manufacturing Transformation team can apply expertise in both application and production programming to help customers find the optimal paths to success with their unique tooling needs and job requirements.