CAD to CAM | Process Problem Solving

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Is the boss concerned about waste?  Are you asked to make cuts?  If so, you’re not alone.  Many manufacturers are belt-tightening.  However, the challenge most run into is finding waste beyond the obvious pile of scrap material.

The good news for searchers is that waste is everywhere.

Today, we’ll look at the CAD/CAM process in light of the lean manufacturing concept of “value stream.”  With this approach we’ll find lots of waste to root out and lots of unsung value in our processes.

CAD/CAM Problem Solving

Our day-to-day challenge is taking the product from design to engineering to production and ultimately to the customer. At this process core is the creative problem solving inherent in working through the challenges of bringing a product from idea to execution – from CAD to CAM.

As fabricators, we know this process intimately.  We know the dynamic, fluid, and sometimes painful relationship between inspiration and perspiration.  Solving the problems of getting the product, unit, or part out the door isn’t always easy or smooth.

We can understand better why it isn’t a smooth process when we look at the problem-solving steps in light of “value producers” and non- “value producers.”

CAD/CAM Steps that Create Value  

These problem-solving steps matter to the customer.  If we don’t solve these problems, the customer can’t be satisfied.  Put another way, the problem’s resolution is mission-critical.

  • Designing the part 
  • Producing the part 

CAD/CAM Steps that Don’t Create Value, But Are Unavoidable

How we solve these problems doesn’t have value to the customer – the work isn’t evident in the end product – but the product can’t be produced without them.  Whether it takes a long time, creates additional costs, or is done quickly with automation doesn’t ultimately matter to the customer.  That is, unless, the costs drive up the price of the product.

When we can minimize these problems or reduce their impact, the results drop to our bottom line in saved labor and material expenses.  These are steps well worth looking to improve on through automation.

  • Transferring the design to manufacturing 
  • Communicating manufacturing information about the part 
  • Prioritizing the part orders 
  • Programming the part 
  • Ordering the part 

CAD/CAM Steps that Don’t Create Value

These problems don’t add to the value of the product.  The customer doesn’t need them to make the product worthwhile.  Indeed, not resolving the problems costs the company and ultimately the customer money.

Solving these problems through automation or other tools would be a high priority in the quest to eliminate waste.

  • Creating the wrong part version 
  • Lost or damaged parts 
  • Disaggregated units 
  • Machine downtime 

Problem-Solving with Automatic Nesting Software

The problems listed above can be addressed with the application of quality, automatic nesting software.  Where there is a task that must be done, but it doesn’t add value, automate it to minimize its footprint on the day’s schedule.  Where there is a process that doesn’t add value, eliminate it and save the wasted time & material.  Where there is a process that does add value, give it the resources, like automation, to be as value-contributing as possible.

Here are a few examples of problem-solving automation.

How do you solve problems with your CAD/CAM operation?  What ways have you found to reduce waste through better processes or automation?  Weigh in to the conversation.

Contact Optimation to discuss solutions to CAD/CAM integration problems.

Finally, problem solving is just one of the ways waste creeps into the fabrication process.  We’ll look at poor information management – the classic “but I thought he was…” situation – and how it can gum up the best of processes next time.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: CAD to CAM | Process Problem Solving

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