Software Helps Save DoD Millions

Software Helps Save DoD Millions

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining relies on Mastercam X software to develop machining processes for parts such as this compressor wheel.


Since it was founded in 2003, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) ( www.ncdmm.org) in Latrobe, Pa., has undertaken nearly 50 projects for the Department of Defense (DoD) facilities and its suppliers. The DoD-funded NCDMM relies on equipment and technology solutions provided by dozens of U.S.-based alliance partners, as well as a proprietary methodology, called Jumped (Joint Ultimate Manufacturing Process & Development), to develop and transfer state-of-the-market and state-of-the-art solutions to specific project objectives. Manufacturing process improvements based on this work have saved an estimated $435 million.

NCDMM's approach to process development relies on CAM softwarefor developing setups and machining sequences for evaluation. The approach also uses end-product testing to find the best process for the project objectives. "Ultimately we will go through processing from start to finish, which includes programming, tool selection, and verifying to make sure everything works," said Glenn Sheffler, business development manager for NCDMM. "Then we transfer the process to our customer. We don't just hand them a program and tell them to push the "go" button. We show them what we did to create the process, why the various components of it are needed, and we give them training. So maybe next time, they won't need to come to us for something similar. They will be able to doit themselves."

Sheffler believes that robust CAM software is important to the center's work because it creates fast, accurate and appropriate machining sequences and toolpaths for manufacturing, and it is feature rich to eliminate or reduce the need for manual programming or for outsourcing to specialists. Such qualities lessen development costs and shave weeks or months from process-development cycles.

CNC Software Inc. (www.mastercam.com), developer of Mastercam X CAD/CAM software, is the NCDMM Alliance Partner for CAM. The center uses Mastercam X to generate programs for 2 through 5-axis milling, turning, wire EDM, lasers, plasma cutting, surface/solid machining and more. The software offers them CAM programming capabilities typically available only in more expensive packages.

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