CAD/CAM programmers are a pretty thrifty breed. When there is a job that needs to get done, they’ll get it done one way or another. Everyday challenges on the plant floor are conquered one battle at a time, but sometimes there are larger forces at play. Someday, a CAD/CAM programmer in training will ask their mentor, “How do you pick the right tools for this job?” As the mentor answers this seemingly simple question, you can picture the trainee’s eyes glazing over and a slight look of terror overcome their face.
“The index cards are over here…the tool info is in this binder…these are the numbers you call…I’ve found these websites helpful.”
Islands of Data
The problem is that even though everyday challenges were met, the process of tool selection was never much of a process at all. CAD/CAM programmers needed experience, grit, persistence, intuition and thrift. Then eventually, they’d develop a method that worked for them and probably no one else. Consolidating all of the information and creating a replicable process is low on the priority list.
Data standardization, technology maturation, and easy deployment and integration is changing the plant floor, slowly but surely. As manufacturers embrace the right technologies and refine their processes, priorities are shifting. Of course day-to-day challenges still matter, but winning each battle isn’t the same thing as winning a war. To stay competitive, manufacturers need to embrace digital data and integrate it into all of their processes.
Data Driven Tool Selection
CAD/CAM programmers have specific problems and then look for solutions that solve those problems. If you have a problem with tool offsets, maybe you’ll look into presetters. If you have a problem with crashes, you’ll look into simulation. If you don’t run into those problems, you might not realize there is a better way of doing things.
MachiningCloud gives you the ability to keep all of your tooling selection data in one place, so when a trainee asks how you pick the right tools for the job, a senior CAD/CAM programmer can say, “You can find tools with always up-to-date product data and manufacturer specific application advice. Open MachiningCloud. Filter the tools that meet your specs, and visualize the assembly to validate your choice. Then, save your assembly for sharing with the team and we’ll all verify your selection. Upon approval, download 2D or 3D CAD files into CAM (or CTMS).”
Tool selection was once part art, part science, but new technology like MachiningCloud is making tool selection simple, fast and replicable. Give it a try today.