TechView Reducing Time to Market Using CAM Systems
Traditional CAM systems are no longer suited to the fast-paced demands of the manufacturing industry and especially in the medical devices industry. Te response time for delivering a medical device is critical. Efficiency and speed of delivery are of consequence in the quest of reducing the time to market. Te need of the hour is to actively
apply tools and techniques that will cut decision-making time and automate activities from design prototyping to actual production and from order place- ment to actual delivery.
Medical Device Industry: Uncommon Challenges We humans might be constructed in
the same basic way, but we come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Consequently, companies that are in the business of making parts and devices for people must produce a wide selection of sizes for each of their products. Te dozens of versions of every bone prosthesis, knee caps, clamp, and other implants that they make demand that they choose between running small lots and carrying inventories—both of which add cost and pose their own challenges. To complicate the task, precision,
safety, quality and quick delivery are criti- cal. Mistakes in this business can have dire consequences for patients, the end users. Yet manufacturers of surgical instru-
ments, medical devices and replacement body parts are not immune to market pressures. Like other manufacturers, they need to make their products faster and better while being economical. Tey are always looking for ways to streamline their design and manufacturing pro-
30 Medical Manufacturing 2013
cesses. Tey too need to keep their costs low, capabilities high, while maintaining a high degree of customer satisfaction. Manufacturing of medical devices is a
high-quality and high-precision busi- ness. Tis industry faces challenges that a typical machine shop doesn’t. Prototyp- ing is the central aspect of their design process and operations, much more so than in most other types of manufactur- ing. Te constant stream of new products entails the need for speed in getting their products to hospitals and doctors on a timely basis. Since each product device undergoes several iterations, such companies require CAM systems that can quickly accommodate those changes, update the toolpaths and change other af- fected machining parameters, and rapidly get the process going again.
CAM systems, which can acquire intelligence to suit industry- specific requirements, are the need of the hour.
Tis industry also caters to niche
markets which require customizations to commercially available products to suit patient-specific requirements. Tis requires CAM systems with the capacity to automatically generate the toolpaths not only for the part currently being produced, but also for families of parts with similar features on new parts. For patient-specific medical devices, the safety, quality and on-time delivery of the device are critical factors.
Need of the Hour CAM systems, which are intelligent and can acquire intelligence as per the
CAMWorks R&D Head Geometric Technologies Scottsdale, AZ
industry-specific requirements, is the need of the hour. CAM systems need to have the potential to become an integral link in automated product manufactur- ing processes, from the receipt of the orders to the shipping, using resources globally. Such ability mandates that the CAM system have four key characteris- tics: Seamless integration between CAM and CAD applications; knowledge- based machining; feature-recognition technology; and application program- ming interfaces.
Seamless Integration Advancement in the integration of
the CAD/CAM systems can automate all aspects of manufacturing the parts including design, management, docu- mentation and NC programming. In most CAM soſtware, the CAM
data generated is saved separately from the CAD file. However, from a user perspective, keeping the data together in one single file makes for greater ef- ficiency as chances of using mismatched code when work is resumed aſter a break are eliminated. Time-consuming file transfers can be eliminated by the use of integrated CAD/CAM systems that allow CAM data to be stored within the CAD part file. Making CAM more intelligent:
When solid modeling was introduced in CAD systems, more information became available from the model. Yet many CAM systems still do not capitalize on this extra information. Companies creating CAM systems must endeavor to leverage the CAD model to make CAM more intelligent and thus more useful to the end users.