Process optimization and sustainability require an integrated approach
Learn how CAM systems can optimize machining processes with advanced functions, a top-to-bottom workflow review, and the right cutting tools.To maximize process optimization and sustainability, a machining shop needs to have an integrated, holistic understanding of its processes overall. Separately analyzing and updating CAM technology, tooling systems and machining strategies, for instance, can be beneficial to a certain extent. But considering those and related manufacturing factors together as a functioning, interrelated system will provide the greatest return.
Manufacturing is a global enterprise. Evaluating machining processes from the limited perspective of a shop’s own operational history, or among its local peers, provides a basic performance standard.
However, it is extremely difficult if not impossible for a shop on its own to evaluate the best practices of manufacturers in different countries on different continents using different machines and tooling. Further, gauging the true sustainability of a shop’s operations is not possible without thorough knowledge of similar operations around the world. Acting with economic, environmental and social responsibility requires awareness of distant cultural and geographical conditions and traditions.
To gain a global perspective, it is important for a shop to enlist suppliers experienced in working with worldwide manufacturing companies and their software, tooling systems and machining strategies. A total solutions supplier with extensive historic and current knowledge regarding how things are being done in other shops, other industries, and other countries can perform a top-to-bottom, comprehensive workflow review. Thereby the supplier can provide a valid perspective on the best solutions overall.
A total solutions supplier can assemble a complete optimization package of relevant resources and operations. In a case where a shop is at the start of a new product, the supplier provides an opportunity to analyze the competencies of manufacturers around the world in terms of equipment, tooling, software and strategies.
Attaining sustainability includes implementing comprehensive initiatives for elimination of waste of energy and manufacturing materials and determining where resources and solutions should be applied in specific situations. A knowledgeable supplier will evaluate a shop’s operations and suggest how they can be carried out in a more sustainable way, citing benchmark examples of best practices.
From part designs and materials to machines and tooling, all elements of complete process optimization are closely interrelated. With that said, some manufacturers will focus on optimizing only one or two elements – such as tooling and machine tools – of a process and miss out on the benefits of other interrelated elements. One of those often overlooked process elements is CAM programming that also contributes to optimization and utilization of resources
It is important to use CAM software to its full potential in relation to the other elements of the shop’s processes. The development of an effective and efficient program requires detailed understanding of multiple factors, including
the process itself
specifications and material
the machine tools
cutting tools in use
A software supplier can examine a desired manufacturing application and suggest a CAM system that is matched to the type of work the shop does. However, a more wide-ranging examination backed by extensive familiarity and experience in similar applications at users around the world incorporates multiple factors in the process, including tooling requirements as well as the characteristics of the material being machined. Such a comprehensive analysis can lead to better use of a shop’s machine tools in terms of higher machining speeds, feed rates, and cutting depths.
A total solutions provider will have performed research in all aspects of a process and can serve as a library of manufacturing knowledge and experience. Those resources will enable a shop to learn about a wide range of possible solutions and choose those that fit their current operations while also maintaining flexibility to adapt and grow in the future.
Process optimization and sustainability are clearly linked to profitability. Optimizing processes can save as much as 50 percent of waste in terms of material consumption and energy usage. Total solutions providers like Seco Tools can help a shop analyze and optimize its production processes, including CAM programming, to increase its sustainable profile and thereby reduce costs.
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