If you have ever worked and lived on the shop floor … as we did for over 30+ years … you know there is a difference between programming for job shop production … what we call every day programming / shop floor programming … and complex “die and mold” programming which is the true essence of CAD/CAM and CAD/CAM programming.
It’s a fact … it’s real … and it can DEFINITELY mean the difference between profit and loss.
Let’s take a look at exactly what we mean …. because there is a HUGE difference in employing a SHOP FLOOR PROGRAMMING model vs. a CAD/CAM PROGRAMMING model.
SHOP FLOOR PROGRAMMING
In a job shop and / or production environment … shop floor programming can really pay big dividends when the statement “the more the merrier” is employed. The more personnel that are involved in the creation of G code programs … the better the efficiency and the better the output. Allowing shop floor personnel to create the simpler, everyday CNC programs using tools like our Kipware® conversational means increased profits along with that increased efficiency and output.
In most cases … being a good chipmaker is the key experience requirement. Someone who can cut chips … knows material removal and all that that encompasses … and knows fixturing and workholding. While the knowledge of G code in any CNC environment is always essential … tools like Kipware® conversational can assist those chipmakers with limited G code knowledge create fast and efficient G code programs. Shop floor programming was the main environment … the main design incentive … behind all of our the Kipware® conversational programming applications. KipwareM® ( milling ) and KipwareT® ( turning ) were specifically designed to assist users in creating those everyday, production G code programs. We lived and worked on the shop floor and saw why this type of programming was so essential … and how the availability of quality applications like Kipware® conversational were lacking. Kipware® conversational has been proven in the trenches over 25+ years as a great tool to enhance production capacity and output.
We have spoken over our many years with many Kipware® users who have taken the step to allow multiple personnel … qualified chipmakers … to enhance the shop floor CNC programming with Kipware® conversational. The overwhelming feeling is that they never realized the positive effect that Kipware® conversational … and shop floor programming can have on the output and efficiency of their shop floor. They made the decision to depart from the one-man … CAD/CAM office … and CAD/CAM programming model to the nimble, efficient shop floor programming model enhanced with tools like Kipware® conversational. We are proud and work hard every day to make our point about shop floor programming … to enhance our software … and to provide our manufacturers with the tools they need to make shop floor programming effective and powerful.
Is contrast to the points outlined above … the programming of complex … what we’ll call “die and mold programming” … is the CAD/CAM programming model of CNC programming. This very often starts with design … using powerful CAD software to design, engineer, and explore the interaction of components … prior to the actual machining and production of the workpiece(s).
The experience required in this type of CNC programming varies but is extensive. From design and engineering experience and training … to the drawing experience and training using CAD software … but does not necessarily include the chipmaking experiences and training required in the shop floor programming model as illustrated above. Most often the design and CAM generated G code programs are handed off to the shop floor for set-up and execution. CNC programs are created by computer operators rather than real chipmakers.
This is not the model for which Kipware® conversational was designed … and it is a model where CAD/CAM … and the expense of CAD/CAM applications … is justified.
That being said … still not every workpiece .. and not every workpiece designed and created through a CAD system … should be or needs to be programmed in the CAD/CAM system by the “CAD/CAM programmer”. Here we illustrate that CAD can be different than CAD/CAM. While having a drawing and design application … a CAD program … can be and oftentimes is essential … the CAM part is up for discussion. Having the simpler workpieces … the everyday type workpieces … programmed on the shop floor can free up additional programming resources to concentrate on the more complex programming required for the more complex components. Shop floor programming can be the key that unlocks increased efficiency and productivity … even when using a CAD and / or CAD/CAM programming model.
And home and hobby shops?
One man, small shops and hobby makers can also reap the rewards of NOT programming every workpiece through a CAD/CAM system and using a shop floor programming application. The quick and efficient programming made possible through tools like Kipware® conversational can assist in realizing the quick and accurate production of workpieces … whether a single component, multiple components or in production. Spending time creating drawings … because every CAD/CAM program starts with a CAD model … for even the simplest of operations … can slow down, bog down, and waste time that home and hobby shops can’t afford to waste.
Although usually a CAD system is required in these environments … mainly because small shops and one man shops also do their own design … shop floor programming and tools like Kipware® conversational are also an essential part of their efficiency.
Bottom line …
CAD/CAM is a great tool. But it can be overkill … can often bog down a programming environment … and can remove good chipmakers from the programming process. These chipmakers are more often than not the keys to unlocking a good SHOP FLOOR PROGRAMMING SYSTEM and the benefits that can come from that.
Don’t be fooled by the CAD/CAM marketing.
Don’t get caught in CAD/CAM overkill.
We invite you to explore Kipware conversational and see how shop floor programming can set you and your shop floor free !!
Kenney Skonieczny – President