by Harry Foxman – a reprint from ( written as a follow up to our recent xpand3D event. The author is referring to one of our presentations on High-Efficiency Machining.

This discussion examined the recent advancements in CNC tool path strategies. Understanding these advancements and how you can take advantage of them are key to growing your business. Sometimes the decision is difficult to purchase the equipment necessary for High-Efficiency Machining (HEM). The discussion talks about the steps to prove and justify the purchasing of new equipment and training.

Increasing efficiency could mean a number of things including cycle reduction, cycle time reduction, or metal removal rate. You also need to address what your goal is. Is it increasing profit or reducing costs? Based on the chart above you can see the majority of profit increase and cost reduction opportunities come from overhead, machining, and manpower costs. Too often businesses try to make improvements to just the cutting tool and see limited saving results. It is a combination of improving toolpath performance, cutting tool performance, and machine capabilities that help your business achieve HEM.

When a new piece of equipment that could increase efficiency becomes available, there are several steps a company needs to take in order to justify the investment. There needs to be training and communication between the manufacturer of the machine, the owner, and the operator. Using Mastercam, perform an estimate of cycle time improvements and cost savings. If those time and cost savings are large enough to justify purchasing the machine, your company can now move on to implementing it. Implementation requires a lot of training and collaboration between programmers and operators. There can be damage done to the machine and tools, as well as minimal cost savings if the programmers and operators are not on the same page.

Some of the best CNC machines today for HEM involve dynamic motion toolpaths. Dynamic milling machines improve material removal rate while still maintaining process security. On average, dynamic milling machines reduce cycle time by 50%, and they have seen reductions of up to 82% from traditional toolpaths. These machines also increase machine and tool life.