Imscorp is a Nebraska manufacturer with two operating subsidiaries: SourceOne, a custom contract manufacturer and powder coater, with its own line of outdoor power equipment, including Plugr cam-driven reciprocating turf aerators; Bison manufactures sporting goods, outdoor furniture, and custom gymnasium structures.
For several years, Imscorp has operated two Amada Vipros Queen turret punch presses and a Mazak Champ 1500-W CO2 laser — each machine provided with operating software supplied by the vendors.
To make it sheet metal fabricating more cost-effective, Imscorp set up a corporate cost center at a separate site, overseeing the sheet metal operations for both subsidiaries. The corporation also implemented an MRP system.
Then, in order to improve shop-floor efficiency and to establish the option to select any brand of machine in the future, Imscorp decided it needed alternative CAM nesting systems and programming software.
“I visited many machine tool manufacturers' facilities,” detailed Michael Kreuzberg, production supervisor. “They all had their own software, of course, and encouraged customers to purchase it with the machines they sell. However, we did not want to have to use multiple software products to program different machines. We wanted one solution for everything.”
Imscorp selected Jetcam Expert, a CAM package with a high-performance nesting function, and purchased postprocessors for each of its machines.
Kreuzberg expressed some surprise at how quickly the system was up and running. “I started as a programmer with no background whatsoever in laser or turret CNC programming. After we decided on Jetcam, there was a two-day installation and training program and we were producing parts within hours.”
After the CAM went live, the most noticeable benefit was material efficiency: Sheet utilization increased by 15% or more due to Jetcam's high-performance nesting module. This allows a time limit to be specified, so that the system can continually create more efficient nests. More efficient nests also mean that fewer sheets need to be loaded onto the machines.
Cutting Waste, Raising Availability
Jetcam also stores remnant sheets for future use, reducing waste even further.
Programming time improved dramatically with the new CAM. Imscorp has taken advantage of Jetcam's automatic component creation, tooling, and nesting. CAD files can be imported automatically using the SCAP (single component automatic processing) function, with component files being created and tooled, ready for nesting in seconds. Then, automatic nesting can be run for any machine, material, and/or thickness, with NC code of the highly optimized nests immediately available. As tooling and/or profiling information can be stored on the component for any machine, parts can be moved between machines very easily without retooling. This is especially useful if a machine us running over capacity, or is down for maintenance.
Imscorp collects information from its E2 Shoptech MRP system into Jetcam to combine orders of the same material and thickness. Another benefit has been the improvement in on-time delivery.
“Around 50% of our workload is for higher-volume repeat orders, with the remainder being much smaller jobs with very short or immediate turnaround,” Kreuzberg explained. “As we were able to go from CAD file to nest very quickly, our captive shop lead-times went from several months to weeks or days, and our smaller job shop lead times went from weeks to days-even hours."
Manufacturers and fabricators that rely on CAM, MRP, or other data packages know that good support is a paramount feature. Kreuzberg noted that the support that Imscorp has received has exceeded his expectations.
“NestOne (Jetcam’s local supplier) has done a superb job, and I can get 24/7 support from Jetcam,” he offered. “The maintenance support has been outstanding — we rarely need to contact them — but for the few issues we've had, most were resolved in the same day. Our maintenance costs have also been reduced slightly.”
Imscorp acquired a new Mazak HTX 5X10 4000w laser cutting system in 2011, and its only additional programming purchase to add it to the Jetcam network was a new postprocessor. All components could be run through SCAP to be tooled for the new machine.
“Jetcam enables our company to explore all options for future equipment purchases since it can be tailored to fit the equipment we choose,” Kreuzberg said. It's MRP-friendly, is easy to use, has excellent technical support, and it’s a low-cost solution for the savings it delivers.”