Production Support Goes West

SB Production Support
Matt Schmitz
Mexicali Mexico & Pleasant Hill, California

ShopBot owners are increasingly using their tools in production settings, trying to save time and increase output with the power of CNC. ShopBot has a Production Support Team dedicated to helping customers get the most out of their tools. This includes phone support and remote services, as well as site visits for training and tune-up.

Triumph Group, a leading aerospace component manufacturing company, recently purchased two 5-axis tools to cut plastic parts at one of their facilities in Mexicali, Mexico. To help them get up and running and ensure they were getting the most out of their tools, I travelled across the border and spent three days working with their engineering, manufacturing, and maintenance teams.

The first day was spent calibrating and fine-tuning each tool to ensure optimal cutting, as well as training the engineers on how to calibrate the tool themselves should they have problems in the future. The next day was spent doing extensive training on the mechanics of the tool, the control software, cut files, and programming.

The team was very interested in reducing cut time and eliminating operator complexity. We went over techniques for optimizing cut files to reduce time and improve edge quality of the finishing parts. We also looked at wiring set-ups to automate dust collection and other auxiliary operations. I wired each tool in such a way that they could restart their file with a single button. We also ran test cuts and optimized speed and ramp values to minimize time and vibration, and adjusted the cuts to the fixtures they were using for mounting parts.

All in all, we were able to get their complete cycle time down to less than a minute. It was a pleasure working with the Mexicali team and I look forward to assisting them more in the future.

Production Support also provides tune-ups and training to schools and hobbyists should they so desire. After my Mexicali trip, I spent two days at Diablo Valley College working with a wonderful group of professors, students, technicians, and volunteers to fine tune their 5-axis tool and train them on 3+2 machining operations. They had already produced some very cool 2D relief cuts in plaster – cuts mimicking, for example, the ripple of a wave – and I can’t wait to see what they produce with their Shopbot 5-axis.

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