Using an App to Adopt CNC Technology Faster

Learn about a company that made the leap into CNC technology thanks to a custom machine-operating/program-generating app that enabled its inexperienced people to effectively run its new CNC turning center.

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This story I wrote about Moser Engineering is interesting, albeit a bit different from the norm.

Most often, each shop I profile is already experienced with CNC machine tools, and the article I create highlights a way it has leveraged some new technology, process or approach to become more efficient at the process.

But in this case, Moser Engineering, manufacturer of racing axles and related components, had no prior experience with CNC equipment. It realized, though, that CNC would enable it to more effectively produce its custom axles in the guaranteed two-day turnaround it was known for.

Although it considered options for what type of machine it might purchase, what ultimately sold the company on the Okuma lathe it chose was a custom machine-operating/program-generating app created by Aaron King, applications engineer for machine tool distributor Gosiger Inc. In short, the app enables a person with no CNC experience to input a handful of specs for a given custom axle order via the machine’s THINC touchscreen control and then hit a button to automatically generate the machining code for that job. After that, it’s just a matter of fixturing an axle core in the machine and hitting cycle start. (It’s also interesting that the live-tool lathe performs no turning work.)

This type of operating- and automated-program-generating solution is not appropriate for all machine shop scenarios. For example, it likely wouldn’t make sense for a job shop to create apps for every small-batch job it runs. However, it might be an option for manufacturers such as Moser that have standard product lines and run high volumes of the same parts, or perhaps a manufacturer that has parts that share a common geometry but are available in a number of variations (like Moser’s axles). It might also be suitable for a contract shop that sees a lot of repeat work. An operating option using an app could enable any of those manufacturers to have less experienced machine operators tend to those jobs while more experienced personnel can be deployed to handle more complex work. It’ll be interesting to see how this technology impacts our industry moving forward.