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Over the years, J.F. Fredericks Tool Company, Inc. (Farmington, Connecticut), a CNC machining company, has become known for its manufacturing of metal components less than 19 inches in diameter with tolerances held at ±0.0002.
In order to provide quality parts, the company adheres to the Total Quality Management Program (TQM) encompassing the latest in Just In Time (JIT), Statistical Process Control(SPC), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and bar coding technology.
For Bob Brundage, the company’s programming engineer, the pinnacle of quality management is ISO 9000 certification. In pursuit of the certification, Mr. Brundage wanted to establish tighter control over the creation, transfer and tracking of the company’s CNC programs; and find a system that would grow as the company’s needs expanded.
Until recently, CNC programs were downloaded with one of two traveling laptop computers, which was insufficient and laden with problems were downloaded with one of two traveling laptop computers, which was insufficient and laden with problems. Mr. Brundage knew that the process of storing and locating nearly 10,000 programs on diskettes was a nightmarish task and would not be conducive to getting ISO 9000 certification. He needed a solution and was committed to finding one. J.F. Fredericks' first attempt was with a Windows 95/NT-based DNC system that experienced endless problems.
Mr. Brundage's research for another system led him to CNC Innovations, Inc. (Enfield, Connecticut), a company dedicated to developing, marketing, and supporting various types of manufacturing software. Before making a decision, he took the time to meet with CNC Innovations' technical staff, speak with existing customers, visit existing sites and view software demonstrations. In the end all of Mr. Brundage's efforts paid off. This time as the system was installed he was given the support necessary to resolve the inevitable problems that crop up during system implementation. He was confident that he had the software tools he needed in order to perfect and track his CNC program distribution.
Bearing in mind Mr. Brundage's desire to control the creation, transfer and tracking of CNC programs, CNC Innovations recommended he purchase Focal*Point, a fully automated Windows 95/NT, shop floor, DNC communications software package containing powerful CNC program management features such as a DNC*Library, DNC*ID, and Receive File Administrator. With Focal*Point, Mr. Brundage gained the control he needed, thus furnishing the means for the company to become ISO 9000 certified.
The changeover from the company's old system of Focal*Point was intuitive and almost effortless. Mr. Brundage began by utilizing Focal*Point's DNC*Library.
As the main CNC program database, the DNC*Library allows Mr. Brundage to view the names and locations of all his CNC programs. Through the DNC*Library he has the ability to record and maintain program revisions, list part and operation descriptions, and display associated drawings and part lists. As the library is built, Mr. Brundage allows the system to automatically assign an individual DNC*ID to each program. The ID is used as a pointer to the physical location of the program and simplifies the operator's Remote File Request process. Secondly, he decided to link each machine control to a specific program category through Focal*Point's NC Program Categories, a way to control program distribution. By utilizing the system's NC Program Categories and DNC*ID, programs are prevented from being sent to an incorrect machine control.
After system implementation, bi-directional communications are then established with each machine control. Furthermore, machine control operators benefit daily from Focal*Point's Receive File Administrator. The system's File Compare feature has made it effortless for Mr. Brundage to verify and approve the changes made on the shop floor. He can now be assured that the CNC program the machine control operator sends to the DNC host computer is the same program run the next time.
Focal*Point is making it easier to locate, store and upload/download the company's CNC programs. While it used to take 30 minutes to get a CNC program in or out of a machine, the Focal*Point system has helped reduce that to three minutes.
As the company continues to grow, the flexibility of Focal*Point will allow Mr. Brundage to perform file management functions not only from the DNC host computer but from remote workstations and make the integration of new machine controls almost effortless. As Mr. Brundage had hoped, Focal*Point was the software tool he needed to control the creation, transfer, and tracking of CNC programs, thus helping the company work towards ISO 9000 certification.