When we refer to CAD/CAM Overkill ... what is it exactly that we mean?
Think about this example ... a part is about to hit the shop floor's VMC. The machining consists of a simple profile cut ... a round pocket with a bolt hole circle at the bottom. The kind of programming done in 95% of shops every day. What happens next?
In the CAD/CAM World ...
The first thing that is required is a drawing ... or perhaps the the customer has supplied a sold model. First ... a solid model .... REALLY? Do we need a solid model for a part like this? Or a CAD drawing ... again, do we really need to spend the time creating a pretty CAD drawing. If you are living in the CAD/CAM world ... yes. Nothing happens without a drawing. In either instance ... an experienced CAD/CAM "guy" is required.
In the CAD/CAM world ... next comes the selection of tooling ... the creation of the program ... the posting of the program for the desired machine and control ... deliver the G code to the machine for set-up.
After test cutting ... some changes are required which means maybe some re-drawing ... re-posting ... all done by the CAD/CAM "guy" only. Don't even go to "We'll have to run this on the "other" machine."
All of the above is being performed by the high priced, experienced CAD/CAM "guy". In your typical small manufacturing environment, this simple programming job is tied to maybe one or two people who have the experience to operate that company's specific CAD/CAM system. If they decide to seek better fortunes elsewhere ... the job search begins for someone with experience in that company's specific CAD/CAM system ... or hire someone who requires training to adapt their knowledge to that company's specific CAD/CAM system.
In the REAL WORLD ...
Using a programming system like Kipware® conversational from Kentech Inc. ... the first thing that happens is the boss gives the print to a machinist ... maybe someone who is not a great CNC programmer ... but a good chipmaker. He pulls up the conversational menus, completes the plain and simple on-screen questions, and creates an efficient G code program quickly and easily.
Every shop should have or does have an experienced chipmaker on the shop floor ... oftentimes not so capable of creating a G code program from scratch ... maybe capable of editing G code. A tool like Kipware® conversational is just what they need to go from an editor to a programmer.
Since the software uses generic G code ... it is most likely compatible with any machine on the shop floor. If some specific requirements are needed ... an add-on tool like Kentech's KipwareXC® application ... can convert the standard G code output to another format. KipwareXC® only requires the G code program ... better than any post-processor system. So the job comes back next month but needs to run on the "other" machine. Anyone can take the proven G code ... run it through KipwareXC® and have it auto-converted to the "other" machines format. Better yet ... KipwareXC® can accommodate any G code ... any machine format ... no CAD or CAM file needed. That means that program you wrote 2 years ago and for which no CAD/CAM file can be found can be converted as well.
Now we are not saying that shops do not need a CAD/CAM system. What we are saying is that the CAD/CAM system is not the most efficient tool for EVERY job.For the programming that is done in 95% of real world shops every day ... CAD/CAM can slow down the programming process ... and oftentimes eliminates good chip makers from that programming process ... creating bottlenecks and holding your shop floor hostage. A tool like Kipware® conversational gives the shop floor the power and flexibility to have multiple chipmakers creating the everyday programs ... and leaves the CAD/CAM guy for the more complex, 3D, mold work ... if that ever comes down the road.
CAD/CAM OVERKILL .... just think about it the next time you have to create a G code program.
Could your CAD/CAM system actually be costing you money?