Over the last 30+ years of operation, Automatic Products has earned ISO 9001 and AS9100C certifications that demonstrate their excellence in precision machining. Dedication to quality means more demand and opportunity for growth. They now occupy two large facilities with dozens of machines tailored towards the high tolerance specs required by the aerospace industry. We spoke to one of their machinists, Tim Tilson, who is a CNC Lathe MA Lead with over 30 years of experience in programming, and MachiningCloud is becoming an unexpendable part of his workflow. He liked how easy it was to find tools and save them for later, but the 3D modelling and integration with Esprit is crucial.
If I am building a job for instance, and I have a pretty specialized tool, I save it on the cloud. Then six months from now when I need to go find an insert screw or whatever, I can just pull it up, and get it ordered.
Tim Tilson, CNC Lathe MA Lead, Automatic Products, Inc.
The MachiningCloud Solution
Sometimes, high tech solutions are just another cog in a machine that increase problems and create new inefficiencies, especially for experienced machinists. When you know your stuff, slowdowns are much less bearable. Tim doesn’t use other apps, but MachiningCloud isn’t just an extra step for him. Using it cuts his cutting tool process time down by about 10% to 30% depending on the task. “Well of course cutting tools are easier and quicker to find rather than going through a bunch of catalogs,” he explained as though it was obvious.
Beyond search, having the cutting tool process neatly organized and saved within the app means additional time savings. “If anything happens, I can always go back to that job because we go by the job part number and I can pull that up and order whatever I need.”
“If I am building a job for instance, and I have a pretty specialized tool, I save it on the cloud. Then six months from now when I need to go find an insert screw or whatever, I can just pull it up, and get it ordered”.
The Challenge and the Outcome
MasterCam and Esprit are part of Tim’s everyday workflow, but creating accurate simulations remained challenging and time consuming. “When I need something, instead of pulling out a catalog, my first instinct is to jump on MachiningCloud and see if I can find it there,” he said shortly after discussing how important accurate simulations were in his workflow. “If you don’t have an accurate simulation, you really don’t know how your parts are going to come out..” He said, “with MachiningCloud, I can download and export the model and use it to program and check for collisions and touches.”
Most of the time, Tim uses MachiningCloud to find the tools he needs, saves them for later and exports the 3D models, but he’s working through all the MachiningCloud features as his peers adopt it. “My goal within the next three or four months is to do a complete job with all the tools inside of the MachiningCloud and save that job. That way, I can share this information with people in our company, use the workgroup, and share my tool list with the team.”
The next step for him is getting everyone onboard, collaborating. “I would love nothing more than to be able to use this to share, to communicate, to use as a tool because we’re a pretty unique shop. We have a couple locations now, so it would be nice to the able to build assemblies and then shoot it over to the other company.” Showing people how to use the app so they can see the benefits is important. He’s been demoing the app when someone has a hard time finding the right tool. “I’ll bring them over to the computer to see what’s available and boom, there it is,” he says, “We can build these tools in here quickly and easily.”
Pearls of Wisdom
“When I heard MachiningCloud contained several brands of cutting tools, I was relieved to learn that I could rely on a single solution instead of using a different one for each brand.”
“We’re not set in stone on where we get our cutting tools. MachiningCloud helps because we can find the best tool for the job.”