May 29, 2013
An independent CNC applications and training consultant is calling on manufacturers to keep up with fast-moving developments in machine tools and CAM software, or risk becoming uncompetitive and getting left behind.
And users of the market-leading Edgecam software agree that training is vital. So many engineers wanted to learn about the latest release, 2013 R2, that the company had to more than double its number of UK upgrade training days to meet demand.
David Garner (pictured below), owner of David Garner Applications and Consultancy, says companies who fail to send employees on training courses to learn how to make the best possible use of CNC software are missing a trick. “I spend a lot time with manufacturers who aren’t getting the best out of their technology because they’ve not been trained on the latest version.
“New users readily embrace the latest technology because they don’t have any ‘baggage,’ but a lot of existing users don’t like change, or coming out of their comfort zone.”
He says it is particularly important for people to be fully trained on Edgecam’s new Workflow, introduced in 2013 R2, which has been specifically designed for manufacturers to reduce costs and improve quality even further, while hitting shorter lead times. Workflow tools aid in loading and positioning the component, choosing the manufacturing method and suitable machine tools, adding user defined stock or stock from a database, importing fixtures, selecting a machine and toolkit, and managing strategies to automate manufacture.
Which means operators will be able to apply toolpaths within seconds. “Think of going from line drawings to solid models – a lot of people haven’t made that transition, and Edgecam’s Workflow and new launcher application is the same thing. It’s a big sea change bringing huge benefits, and people who don’t take it up will get left behind.”
Edgecam typically runs eight training days for a software release, each catering for up to eight delegates. But demand for training on Edgecam 2013 R2 has been so great that they had to extend the course to 20 days.
Support Manager Jason Taylor says many users heard about the completely new interface, including the introduction of a ribbon toolbar, and wanted proper training on it.
But he agrees with David Garner that it is equally important to undertake regular training to get the very best out of software investment. “Users who don’t attend upgrade training miss out on what the new functionality is used for, how to use it, what it can do for them and how it will make their businesses more efficient.”
He says Edgecam is constantly developing new functionality to improve manufacturers’ processes, speed up their programming and generate better quality toolpaths. “So those who regularly attend upgrade training see the new functionality and understand how to use it to improve their processes and machining times, helping them to reduce costs and become more competitive. But by missing out on training, manufacturers aren’t moving forward and aren’t as competitive as they could be.”
Peter Rank (pictured below with his Edgecam upgrade training certificate) , whose company Rank Brothers Ltd. manufactures scientific instruments, always tries to attend at least one upgrade training session a year. “It’s always valuable to find out what’s new in each release and learn how to use it properly. If we didn’t have training we probably wouldn’t know about some of the new functions, and we certainly wouldn’t know how to utilise them to get the best out of Edgecam.”
• The Edgecam training days are held at the company’s offices in Reading, Wakefield and Bath, and at business partners’ premises.