A collaborative trio in advanced manufacturing Precision manufacturing company Archer Engineering, machine centre supplier Okuma and CAM software developer SolidCAM have been working as a ‘co-operative’ since 2013. Each one works very closely with the others to ensure that complex domestic and international manufacturing projects are making use of world-best technology and expertise. Grant Preston from SolidCAM explains how the trio formed.
“Archer has invested heavily with Okuma, which supplies and supports their CNC machines, and SolidCAM has a technical partnership with Okuma,” says Preston. “We specialise in supporting their products, in particular, their complex mill-turns which Archer relies on
“We know the Okuma machines very well and offer a unique set of skills that take into account all of Archer’s capabilities. We modify and update post-processors with custom options and to suit new features in our software. Archer takes full advantage of our services so that it can maximise efficiency in production. In addition, SolidCAM works seamlessly with SolidWorks CAD/CAM software, which is Archer’s preferred design tool. So, you have a closed loop in which all of the technology understands the others.”
Preston says SolidCAM enjoys being a part of Archer’s success: “Archer is a pleasure to deal with and one of our major SolidCAM implementation success stories. We often use Archer as a reference for new customers. Our relationship with Archer has strengthened our technical relationship with Okuma.” Archer’s Operations Director Russ Byrne adds: “Collaboration has been a big part of Archer’s philosophy since the beginning. For example, we made the decision to embrace Okuma and Sandvik as manufacturing technology partners 25 years ago. More recently we chose to align ourselves with SolidCAM, which is a world leader. We work alongside them continually, often being the first in Australia to purchase new products when they are released, in our quest for excellence.”
Byrne says one piece of SolidCAM technology that has been a real gamechanger for them is the iMachining solution exclusive to SolidCAM. The revolutionary CAM toolpath and patented Technology Wizard provide automatic optional feed and speed values for different materials for first-cut success. By optimising tool cutting angles and feed rates, and enabling faster, deeper machining, iMachining delivers “unbelievable” cycle time savings and too life extension.
Byrne has heard of SolidCAM customers saving over 70% on cycle-times and extending cutters up to ten times, and he says Archer has definitely seen a big improvement in those areas. “It is very common for us to meet with SolidCAM and Okuma before we start work on a project to make sure we are applying the best available tools and processes. The partnership has helped us to deliver outstanding solutions to our customers around the world.”