What is in this article?:
- Better Toolpaths Make Manufacturers More Globally Competitive
- Toolpath Deficiency, Productivity Potential
- Application Universality Drives Acceptance
CAM software is helping manufacturers improve machining performance 50-300%, with no change to existing equipment or infrastructure — and thousands of manufacturers have transformed their machine shops into highly cost-efficient operations
Application Universality Drives Acceptance
Since its 2008 initial release, VoluMill has gained global acceptance in dozens of various manufacturing sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, medical equipment, heavy industrial, oil-and-gas, and consumer products. Many top manufacturers have embraced this new technology, thereby eliminating the costs and risks of traditional growth initiatives like adding floor space, equipment, personnel, and overhead. Manufacturers are improving machining performance from 50 to 300% without the need to make changes to existing equipment and infrastructure.
“One factor that has pushed the acceptance of this toolpath technology is its adaptability,” Saisselin explained. “It can be used on any material, any machine, and in any industry. It is also CAM-system neutral. The toolpath solution can easily blend into any machining environment, without having to change CAM systems. This is a definite advantage for machine shops that would like to significantly improve their toolpath performance without complexity.”
Well known machine tool and cutting tool manufacturers not only approve of VoluMill, they use it for their own production. It is integrated into seven of the world’s leading CAM systems, and consistently performs better than the native toolpaths.
“We use Siemens NX with the VoluMill plug-in,” offered Chuck Shannon, with General Tool Company in Cincinnati. “Tool life is dramatically increased due to the reduced load and heat on the cutter. We obtain higher metal removal rates than traditional cutter paths.”
Not all manufacturers are quick to accept this advanced toolpath technology, however. The biggest reservation is the initial disbelief that it could so significantly improve machining performance over their existing CAM systems.
“We were very skeptical of the time reduction and extended tool life,” said Jake Kopveiler, with Performance Tool and Die in Detroit Lakes, Minn. “But, after using it for a short time we were running at feeds ten times faster than before.”
The recognition that streamlining toolpath performance can significantly improve machine efficiency and production capacity has prompted a number of CAM software offerings following in the footsteps of VoluMill. None, however, have been able to keep pace with its market acceptance or its toolpath performance.
This is largely because Celeritive is focused solely on science-based toolpaths engineered for bulk material removal. All of its efforts, supported by the company’s system designers and engineers, are singularly focused on developing and improving upon the best possible toolpath software.
“The introduction and industry acceptance of VoluMill is nothing short of revolutionary,” Saisselin said. “It has completely changed the way metal is cut. It throws out everything that has been done in the past, and has introduced a better system of toolpath generation.”
Although toolpath generation is but a component within complicated CAM systems, it is a very critical one that plays a vital role in machining. The benefits of an intelligently engineered toolpath technology in use within a manufacturing facility can have extensive implications. Increased machine capacity means a greater volume of finished parts can be produced in less time, which provides for greater flexibility to meet just-in-time delivery schedules. Increased machine capacity also delivers higher profit margins for manufacturing centers. It enables more competitive bids to be placed, even for projects not considered financially viable previously.
While many companies have reduced their in-house manufacturing capability, and outsourced their manufacturing and machining operations to out-of-country locations like Mexico and China to cut manufacturing costs and remain price competitive, a growing number have opted to not only retain, but expand their skilled manufacturing and machining facilities within the United States. For American machine shops, this new toolpath technology has a critical impact on these facilities’ ability to compete more successfully in price-sensitive North American and world markets.
This represents nothing less than a game-changing opportunity for manufacturers. Those companies that embrace this technological transformation in toolpath performance cannot help but emerge as leading players in their highly competitive marketplaces.
Jim McMahon writes on automation advances in manufacturing.