Jemco Components and Fabrication Inc., a family-owned business in Kirkland, WA, is a one-stop-shop that offers prototype and production machining, sheet metal fabricating, contract assembly services, laser marking and etching, and a host of finishing options, and has been doing so for three decades and two generations.
Raising the stakes
Two years ago, however, the stakes grew higher. As the company’s level of five-axis machining grew, the management decided that an alarming number of ‘little crashes’ could quite easily turn into one big crash, possibly damaging an expensive machine tool and, at the very least, disrupting deliveries to any one of its customers in the Aerospace, Military, Medical, or Energy industries.With more than two dozen five-axis machining centers on the line, Travis Moore, Vice President, Jemco, and his team began looking for an alternative to the traditional ‘push the green button and pray’ program prove outs.“
A number of companies tried very hard to sell us their simulation software, telling us how their solution would address all of our needs, but after a lot of research and talking to a number of people, we found that VERICUT was the only software with true G-code simulation,” Moore says.
Since 1988, VERICUT from CGTech, Irvine, CA, has been the leader in CNC toolpath and machine simulation. Because it reads the actual code used by the machine controller, it picks up where CAM systems leave off. Every workpiece, fixture, toolholder, and machine component can be accurately modeled, leaving nothing to chance. Gouging and uncut areas are clearly identified. Setup times are reduced, and because complete visibility to the machining process is achieved, opportunities for process improvement are greatly enhanced. Best of all, collisions are virtual rather than spark-filled and noisy.
Straddling the manufacturing fence
Moore’s parents started the company when he was a child. Their decision to pursue sheet metal fabrication and precision machining under the same roof was made on day one with the purchase of a Finn-Power turret punch and an Okuma Cadet machining center. It was apparently the right decision, because Jemco has become quite successful at both types of metalworking.
The fabricating side of the 70,000 sq. ft. shop is now home to Amada press brakes, a Mazak OptiPlex 4kW laser cutter, Finn Power punch presses with sheet loading capabilities, and TIG, MIG, and Spot Welding equipment. There are laser markers and fastener machines, and Jemco has strategic partnerships with a variety of metal finishers.
Altogether, Jemco has around 40 CNC lathes and machining centers on its production floor. Equipment builders include Haas, Okuma, Mazak, and others, but topping the list is a pair of DMG Mori NMV1500 five-axis vertical machining centers—one sporting a 40,000 rpm spindle—and serviced by a 34-pallet robotic cell material handling system.
Part of that smooth journey has been due to VERICUT, at least recently. “All those little crashes we were seeing have died down to nothing,” he says. “That’s saying a lot, because most of our production quantities are small—say between two and two dozen pieces—and we, therefore, set up many jobs each day. And as anyone in this business will tell you, the more times you're setting up, the more opportunities you have to mess up. I strongly tie our lack of crashes to VERICUT.”
A lot of jobs also means a lot of programmers. In Jemco’s case, there are seven, each with his or her own way of doing things. Chuck Macomb, CNC Programmer, Jemco, says VERICUT helps him answer the many questions that arise when generating toolpaths for a machining center that cost more than most people’s house.
“Is there any interference between the toolholders and the vise? Did the program cut the part right? Is the spindle going to bump the workpiece? Did each axis go the direction you expected it to? There are all kinds of problems that can occur, but because the CAM software doesn’t see the same thing the machine sees, there can be occasional surprises. VERICUT eliminates the wondering," he adds.
“We try to be really diverse,” he says. “My dad saw from the very beginning that there was value in having a one-stop-shop. There are plenty of complex fab parts that require milling, and he felt that managing both was something he could do fairly easily. It's been smooth sailing ever since.”
Tony Maldonado, CNC Programmer, Jemco, agrees. “We use Siemens NX for our CAM platform here,” he says. “It does a good job on most parts of telling you if you're going to crash or violate the part in any way, but you have to pay close attention to see it. Sometimes things are moving so fast that it’s easy to miss something, and that's where VERICUT comes in. You can see any areas that you missed during programming, any gouges, and especially any crashes.”
Since 1988, VERICUT from CGTech has been the leader in CNC toolpath and machine simulation. Because it reads the actual code used by the machine controller, it picks up where CAM systems leave off.
Jemco Components and Fabrication Inc., feared a number of ‘little crashes’ turning into one big crash, possibly damaging an expensive machine tool and, at the very least, disrupting deliveries to any one of its customers in the Aerospace, Military, Medical, or Energy industries.
VERICUT machine simulation software from CGTech offers a number of advantages.
• It reads the actual code used by the machine controller; it picks up where CAM systems leave off.
• Every workpiece, fixture, toolholder, and machine component can be accurately modeled.
• Gouging and uncut areas are clearly identified.
• Setup times are reduced.
• Complete visibility to the machining process is achieved, enhancing opportunities for process improvement.
• Collisions are virtual rather than spark-filled and noisy.
According to Chuck Macomb, CNC Programmer, Jemco, VERICUT helps answer the many questions that arise when generating toolpaths for a machining center that cost more than most people’s house.
Source: CGTech Inc.