Barabi, founder and owner: “Our objective was to implement a system that provides seamless integration between all necessary applications, including design (CAD), analysis (CAE), manufacturing (CAM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Our main requirement was that all systems hadto be fully integrated with the SolidWorks® 3D CAD program and operate on SolidWorks solid modeling data. We needed to manage high-volume production efficiently and effectively to succeed and wanted to avoid having to work with different applications and sets of data.
“By implementing an integrated CAD/CAM system from the very beginning, we believed we could build efficiencies into our processes and avoid the growing pains we were likely to face later on if we had utilized the traditional approach to CAD/CAM,” Barabi adds.
The company chose SolidCAM as its CAM solution because it is fully integrated with SolidWorks and provides manufacturing programmers with greater control over how the software creates manufacturing paths for simultaneous 5-axis machining.
“At Essai, we are manufacturing sophisticated, custom parts, and SolidCAM provides the robust capabilities our manufacturing personnel need to produce accurate, quality parts consistently,” Barabi says.
Because SolidCAM uses SolidWorks CAD software as its geometry engine, there is no disconnect between design models and machined models, maintaining the design intelligence of the model throughout the process.
“When we develop a design in SolidWorks, we are doing more than creating a model for a single manufacturing run,” Barabi explains. “We are often building upon or modifying a previous design and bring all the intelligence of the parent design through on subsequent designs. If changes are made on the manufacturing side, we capture them on both the design side and the manufacturing side because SolidWorks and SolidCAM are fully associative. The integrated approach has a lot of advantages, including saving time, accessing a single geometry file, and using the intelligence of our design data in a more efficient, systematic way."
“Consistency of process is very important to our success,” Barabi stresses. “When we create a manufacturing process today, every process that follows should utilize and build upon it. Six months from now, we willleverage what we do today because everything we do becomes a template for future work. We need to deliver consistency, and the integrated SolidCAM solution gives us the control we need to pick up and utilize the value accrued in past work.”
Deniz Valle, Essai operations manager: “Because SolidCAM is completely integrated with SolidWorks CAD software, we are actually building our CAM programming within SolidWorks. This approach shortens the learning curve for programmers, offers greater geometry editing and manipulation power to manufacturing, and provides a common tool for supporting interaction between designers and machinists. The integrated approach facilitates discussion and resolution of manufacturing issues because everyone is working with the same model and the same modeler. We communicate issues and features a lot better working with an integrated system.”
“We have experienced drastic improvements in our first-run success, which is significant because it allows us to queue everything up back to back and process high volumes efficiently,” Barabi explains. “The biggest cost in manufacturing is not related to scrap materials or machine time but to production stoppages. Whenever production stops, you lose money. Whenever production proceeds unimpeded in an automated fashion, you save money. The greatest benefit of an integrated system is that it enables you to minimize the number of mishaps and shutdowns and keep production moving.”
* Improved first-run success rate from 10 percent to 90 percent
* Increased high-volume throughput
* Maintained design intelligence of parts
* Attained accuracy and consistency of manufacturing processes