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Tier 1 Supplier's CAD/CAM Switch Cut Cycle Times 50% and Increased Tool Life Up to 40%

Terry Sammon, CEO of Mico Industries, Grand Rapids, MI, has found a CAM system to help with his mission of driving his company to create dies, weld fixtures and check fixtures without compromise, providing the highest possible level of products and service at the best price.

Mico Industries, established in 1983, is an engineering, stamping, assembly and welding company and its customer base includes the big three US automotive manufacturers as well as the largest US based motorcycle manufacturer. These are Tier 1 customers who will not accept anything but the highest quality at an extremely competitive price.

SolidCAM's patented, unique revolutionary iMachining 2D and 3D technology saves 70% in CNC machining time and extends tool life dramatically.



When Terry Sammon joined the company, which was founded by his mother, he began his career as a die-maker, a challenging position to say the least. Quickly he realized that the days of wax models, 3D tracing and blue prints were at an end, and that the future lay with CNC equipment for die manufacture.

After purchasing several used CNC mills and a low-end CAM program, he realized that there were more powerful software tools available which would maximize his company's efficiency and capability. He initiated a test program for nearly every CAM system on the market and, when he discovered the integration between SolidWorks and SolidCAM and saw SolidCAM's iMachining in action cutting steel as though it was aluminum, he decided to purchase the complete system.

Automotive seat frame manufactured at Mico Industries.



Terry Sammon remembers the event which prompted him to buy SolidCAM and SolidWorks, "A project we programed with our old CAM system involved a block of tool steel which took 14 hours to machine. We did the same 2D project using SolidCAM and SolidCAM's intelligent tool path generator, iMachining, and it took under 2 hours to cut, an incredible result."

The objective at Mico is to produce the best quality dies for its customers, prompting it to expand into 3D CAD/CAM. Sammon decided to learn SolidWorks and SolidCAM at the same time.

SolidCAM's full integration with SolidWorks assists in laser cutting sheet metal.



"SolidCAM's ability to run right inside SolidWorks, definitely shortened my learning cycle. It was really like learning one program with two very powerful functions. I won't say it was easy, but my philosophy is never give up, so eventually, SolidWorks just clicked and SolidCAM pretty much fell into place."

He continues, "Since I have a traditional machining background I needed to learn CNC. I am now on a first name basis with the support team at SolidCAM, and they have been a huge help in getting me up to speed. They are all machinists and speak 'CNC mill', giving me valuable advice to make sure I'm on the right path.

Automotive armrest assembly manufactured at Mico Industries.



Once Sammon became proficient with SolidWorks and SolidCAM, SolidCAM's iMachining really started to have a huge impact on Mico's CNC operations. "With iMachining's, faster cycle times, decreased tool wear and intuitive Speeds and Feeds Wizard, it's like having a master machinist with a super-fast CNC mill, using super-wear tools always at my disposal. The first time I machined a block of D2 tool steel with iMachining, my toolmakers' jaws just hit the ground. They couldn't believe the speed and depth of cut we were running at and the amazing material removal rates we were achieving."

SolidCAM's integrated CAD/CAM solution supports the complete range of major manufacturing applications including sheet metal stamping seen here.



Sammon then explained that the faster machining times make his production much quicker than his competitors, which means he can bid more aggressively to get more contracts. In fact, he typically sees a 40 percent to 50 percent decrease in cycle time using iMachining. However, the benefits of iMachining do not stop just with faster cycle times.

"iMachining has paid for itself many times over with greatly increased tool life. For example, on half inch helicals we get a 40 percent increase in tool life." The iMachining Wizard is another key benefit. "All the machining parameters are automatically computed for you. You just set up your tool, pick your machine and material and it just does the rest. The slider makes it so simple to set the machining parameters an elementary school kid could do it."

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