Delcam’s FeatureCAM saves time and money for precision machinists
The majority of the machining is 2.5D type work, such as milling, drilling and boring of components for the aerospace, pipeline and semiconductor industries. Future Fabricators has also developed a niche in manufacturing parts used in fuel control and hydraulic/pneumatic systems.
After development work on its existing software was halted, Future Fabricators needed to replace it with a more advanced CADCAM system. Owner Ray Rubin decided that the new system had to be easy to learn and easy to use. More importantly, it had to be able to run the variety of machines out on the shop floor, which includes vertical and horizontal mills, turning centres and a turn/mill machine.
Since purchasing FeatureCAM in October 2001, the time it takes a new CNC programmer to become productive has been reduced dramatically. In training costs alone, FeatureCAM has produced big savings in both time and money. "FeatureCAM did everything the competitors’ products could, but was much easier to learn. Even when I haven’t used the software for a while, I can sit down and start designing a custom fixture without a problem,” said Mr. Rubin. Another cost saving is the quick turnaround from the time a drawing or CAD file is received to the time a program is sent to the shop floor.
The ability to customise the software has been a further benefit. For example, the programmers have found that it is incredibly easy to customise posts from within FeatureCAM and see the results immediately. FeatureCAM organises the post parameters in drop-down menus and dialogue boxes, so the usual guesswork involved with customising a post is eliminated. When the NC code is re-posted, the changes are immediately visible on the screen.
It’s just as easy to customise manufacturing parameters, tool libraries, and feed and speed tables. Customised manufacturing parameters are saved in unique configuration files, so preferred machining attributes, like step-over, and lead-in and lead-out moves, can be saved and used for similar types of parts.
Even though Future Fabricators primarily works with aluminium and stainless alloys, the company has been perfecting its knowledge of the best strategies for machining plastics. "It’s easy to add customised feeds and speeds to the tables in FeatureCAM. Whenever we work on a new material, we update the table,” explained Mr. Rubin.
With fewer than thirty employees, Future Fabricators proves that companies of any size can adopt the latest technology to improve both productivity and quality. The people at Future Fabricators pride themselves on their high-quality work and on-time delivery, which explains why so much of their work is repeat business from customers who have stayed with them for years.