In today’s fast-paced manufacturing environment, safeguarding the intellectual efforts and strategies of your workshop is paramount. A practical approach to achieving this is through the utilisation of a digital operations library, especially within your CAD/CAM software. Mastercam’s Operations Library, for instance, serves as a comprehensive digital repository of your previously established machining strategies, encompassing toolpaths, tooling, and other related parameters. These strategies are not only customisable but also readily applicable to new projects. This article aims to guide you through the benefits and effective use of your operations library.
Maintaining Shop Consistency
In the realm of machining, experimentation with various toolpaths and cutting techniques is vital during the initial programming phase. This exploratory process helps in identifying the most efficient material removal methods. However, once an optimal strategy is established, it's crucial to shift focus from experimentation to consistency.
Storing a successful strategy for specific project types in your operations library is beneficial. This stored strategy can be swiftly applied to similar future projects, maintaining consistency and reducing the need for extensive adjustments. The primary adjustment usually involves updating the geometry or model specifics. Utilising these pre-saved toolpath groups ensures that you're consistently implementing your most effective solutions.
Enhancing Programming Speed
The operations library not only ensures consistency and safety but also significantly reduces programming time. Instead of creating new machining code from scratch for every project, the library offers pre-existing programs. This feature is particularly useful for machining complex parts that have similar precedents in your shop’s history. While the time savings might be modest for simpler parts, the cumulative effect over time can lead to substantial efficiency gains.
A Mastercam user highlighted the convenience of operations libraries, stating that nearly all their programming is imported, with preferences already set for different cycles like pocketing, reaming, tapping, and basic 3D machining.
Facilitating Training for New Programmers
The challenge of recruiting skilled workers in the manufacturing sector is ongoing. With an operations library, the time spent on teaching software basics to new recruits can be minimised. This allows them to focus more on actual machine operation and part programming. An operations library filled with your workshop’s “best practices” can serve as an effective learning tool, acquainting new programmers with both the software and your workshop’s specialised processes.
Preserving Expert Knowledge
As industry veterans approach retirement, capturing their accumulated knowledge becomes crucial. Encourage them to save their expert methods as operations in the library, including notes on suitable project types for each setup. This
approach ensures that their invaluable expertise and skills are passed down and remain accessible for future projects.
Expanding Resources with the Tool Library
In addition to its Operations Library, Mastercam has also collaborated with leading tool manufacturers such as Sandvik Coromant, Kennametal, and Harvey Tool. This partnership has resulted in the creation of extensive digital tool libraries. These libraries are accessible through the Mastercam Tech Exchange and can be integrated directly into your CAD/CAM systems. They provide detailed information on each tool, including usage parameters, dimensions, and optimal machining strategies.
In conclusion, leveraging the capabilities of your operations and tool libraries in CAD/CAM software like Mastercam is a strategic move for any workshop. It not only streamlines the production process and preserves valuable intellectual labour but also enhances the overall efficiency, aids in training new staff, and ensures the retention of crucial knowledge. With these digital resources at your disposal, you can look forward to a more productive and consistent manufacturing workflow.