THE SEARCH FOR BETTER CAM SOFTWARE:
MACHINISTS INC. ON THEIR MIGRATION TO SIEMENS NX
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Business Challenges

With a wide range of machines to support, Machinists Inc. was unable to utilize them to their full capacity, necessitating the search for a CAM package that could keep up with their needs.

Keys to success

After an extensive search for a better tool to program their machines to the best of industry, Machinists Inc. found it with Siemens NX. Relying on Applied CAx for on-site training and mentorship, Machinists Inc. successfully transitioned to NX.

Results

Increased productivity with less troubleshooting thanks to significantly reduced programming times, utilizing NX automation and simulation tools to meet and exceed their goals. Thanks to more accurate code, MI is now able to utilize their machines to the best of ability and achieve more sophisticated product requirements.

 

Overview

Located in South Seattle, Machinists Inc. has been operating since 1941, serving the maritime, aerospace, research, and transportation industry. Maintaining 7 plants with over 250,000 sq. ft, they’re the largest precision machining shop in the Northwest. With a diverse range of machines to support, some of which feature very large working envelopes, MI maintains up to date, specialized equipment operated by an experienced team of multi-discipline engineers and machinists. Operating advanced CNC milling machines requires specialized tools. After adding an FPT Verus 250 high-performance 5-axis machine to the shop, they spent two years struggling to write post processors for it. As their existing software couldn’t support the kinematics, it necessitated a search for a CAM package that could better support their needs.

Machinists Inc DMU 210p has a large envelope size

Siemens NX: a better tool

After an exhaustive search that included trial runs with several different software packages to perform testing, MI looked at Siemens NX. This, in turn, introduced Machinists Inc. to Applied CAx, a Siemens partner that are not only experts with the software but offers a high level of technical support thanks to operations that include a working machine shop where the tools are not only utilized but pushed to their capacity.

Starting with an online demonstration, Applied then came onsite to perform a number of demonstrations around the five-axis abilities and capabilities of NX cam. For MI, the most important thing was directly seeing how NX would process their parts and fit not just with the resources on hand, but tools and resources Machinists Inc. might acquire in the future.

NX is the software that seemed like it supported everything from top to bottom. We could get mill-turn support, support on our 5-axis and very complex, very intricate code. We could also get fairly rudimentary code that worked on older 3-axis boring mills. At the end of the day, that's kind of what drove our decision towards NX.”
— Charles Stangeland, CNC Programming Manager at Machinists Inc.

 vince from applied cax visiting machinists inc for on-site mentorship

Transitioning to Siemens NX: NX Training & Mentorship

After Machinists Inc. was sold on NX and its capabilities, the challenge of training staff and transitioning to the software began. Starting with several sessions of onsite training, Applied engineers followed up with mentorship that stepped in weekly to help answer questions and troubleshoot challenges that came up.

With a working knowledge of the progressive software platform NX provides, Machinists Inc. has achieved dramatic reductions in their programming times. Utilizing NX automation tools has opened up new options in their workflow. Being able to run simulations within CAM has eliminated the need for additional software such as Vericut. Theyʼre also achieving high reuse from their developed templates and posts.

“Weʼre looking forward to continuing with Applied CAx as weʼre on maintenance and needing support - we will always need support, it can be a daunting programming system, but thereʼs a lot of capability there and we definitely see it as the path forward in the future"


— Charles Stangeland, CNC Programming Manager at Machinists Inc.

A Case Study in three parts

Part I: Why NX CAM? Machinists Inc and their search for a better CAM solution

In part one of the series, we sit down with Charles Stangeland, CNC Programming Manager at Machinists Inc to discuss the roadblocks the MI team experienced with their previous CAM software, and how it instigated the search for a new CAM tool. Along the way, we gain insight on how their needs influenced how they evaluated the options before selecting Siemens NX for their new CAM solution.

Considering the switch to NX CAM?

Click here for more information, as well as a free trial.
Learn more about Machinists Inc here.