Shop Profile: Midwest CAM Solutions

November 9, 2017 No Comments
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Man and Mfg. Repay Man’s Best Friend

toc_features50pxAs human beings, we are aware of how our bodies function, and we are conditioned to detect when we feel great and when there might be a problem. When we injure something – or old man time shows his less desirable side – that’s then we notice something is wearing out. Fortunately, modern medicine usually has some kind of fix, and often enough, it may involve a surgical procedure using implants, replacements, plates, and screws – all designed and manufactured with highly-technical design engineering and precision manufacturing techniques.

It’s really no different for our furry friends, except they have a more difficult time telling us.

Earlier this year, Midwest CAM Solutions President Rick Meide received a call from a customer looking for assistance with an interesting project. It was a highly-proprietary canine bone plate. That’s right, an orthopedic medical device for dogs that makes the bone stronger and more rigid for full and accurate healing, even during movement.

Tecton Industries, located in Spencer, Iowa, is a leading producer of precision machined components, and has been a Midwest CAM customer and a dedicated GibbsCAM user. Customers from many market segments come to Tecton to solve complex problems.

In this particular case, Tecton had a customer that created a design for an implantable part that doctors in veterinary medicine had been calling for since canine orthopedic surgery began. But the prototype and drawing had many odd curves, slots, grooves, holes, and contours – all combined with the need for specialized finishing using specific implantable materials.

Nothing like this had ever been created. Since Tecton had little to reference or adapt to, there was only one person to call … Rick at Midwest CAM.

Rick is considered the quintessential GibbsCAM guru by most of Midwest CAM’s customers. He has assisted countless customers with engineering, design, and process problems by creating working solutions using the nimble and highly-adaptable capabilities of GibbsCAM software. As a result, Midwest CAM Solutions has become the No. 1 seller of GibbsCAM in the world. From their offices in New Hope, the company has managed to make more manufacturing engineers aware of and believers in the GibbsCAM difference.

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Tecton’s president informed Rick that they had selected a Doosan 5-Axis CNC Mill provided by Ellison Technologies, and he asked if Midwest CAM would work hand-in-hand with Ellison to ensure the project had the best chance at success. No problem – since teamwork is what has made Midwest CAM strong, both in reputation and capability.

Soon after Rick received information from Tecton, he specified real work-holding and tool-cutting solutions during the GibbsCAM program development phase. Maximizing the GibbsCAM design software’s potential, Rick had a part programmed and machine simulation model built in two days, ready to be put to the test.

While they were certain the GibbsCAM Process Programming would perform well, a specific type of machine tool would be necessary, along with specialized work-holding and custom tooling. Calls were made to various partners, and soon a new 5 Axis Mill was delivered to Tecton along with custom work-holding, tooling, and raw material all specified by Tecton and the GibbsCAM software.

It all came together beautifully. The first parts were produced within a one-hour cycle time. Various team leaders got together and, with a few milling tweaks and tooling amendments, that cycle time was reduced to 37 minutes. The last bit of technology included a specialized antimicrobial coating process to give the part a wonderful feel and finish. Tecton’s customer was amazed and marveled at the positive outcome that came from a true team effort.

There are moments when it can be exceedingly honorable to be a part of American innovation. Today, thanks to this small little invention and several dedicated manufacturing professionals, many dogs are free from pain, able to move through their lives, just as it was intended. The team couldn’t help but think, after all our furry friends give to us, asking so little in return, that this was a gratifying way to repay them, and to give back and reward so many of our best pals. pm_endmarkblue-e1320337140493

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Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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