Delcam’s FeatureCAM cuts machining times by 80%


FeatureCAM has helped Hawk Industries to produce its equipment for the oil and gas industry in less time and to a higher quality

Hawk Industries, Inc., a designer and builder of specialty drilling tools for the oil and gas industry based in Signal Hill, California, reduced machining time for its alloy steel components overall by 80% with its implementation of Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software and an investment in CNC mills.  The change to FeatureCAM also reduced part programming times by 30% and helped the company to triple its output.

Hawk equipment is used to grab the pipe as it is pulled out of the well and break the threaded joint, or to make the joint as the pipe is put down the well.  One part of the device holds the pipe; another spins the adjoining segment to accomplish the task.  With the Hawk device, it takes only eight seconds to undo a joint in the field.  The devices can save up to two hours a day and on a rig that costs $150,000-$300,000 a day to operate, that amounts to a lot of money.

Determined to be competitive not only in its quality but also in its manufacturing methods, the company upgraded its CNC milling capability with purchase of three extra mills and FeatureCAM software to take models of its components into production quickly.

Mike Russo, manufacturing consultant at Hawk, had experience moving from simple 2D software to 3D software in his own business and so recommended FeatureCAM.  The impact on Hawk’s manufacturing capacity has been substantial.  When Mr. Russo got to Hawk, the company was shipping about 20 units each year.  Today, with the help of FeatureCAM, the company is producing 60 units or more a year.

More than 400 CNC programs have been completed in FeatureCAM.  Typical machining tolerances are in the .001” range and are achieved consistently.  The result has been a huge improvement in part consistency and a saving of more than 35% in assembly time for the more than 500 different parts that make up the devices.

On a single plate, the combination of FeatureCAM and the new CNC mills reduced processing time from four hours to one-and-a-half hours.  On another part, the machining and assembly time went from three hours to thirty-five minutes, and the fit between the two parts is now more consistent.

FeatureCAM saves programming time as well as machining time at Hawk.  Its feature-based programming makes it easy to create CNC programs for Hawk’s models.  Furthermore, most of the parts machined at Hawk are held in custom fixtures, designed with FeatureCAM.  This not only maintains consistency, but reduces set-up time and allows Hawk to machine several parts in a single set-up.