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generated by the participating surgeon at the project’s outset. What makes this manufacturing agility even more remark- able is the complexity of some of the parts the programmer/ machinists are working on. A recently approved vertebral spacer, about the size of a nickel and 8-mm thick, required approximately 150 machining operations to be performed on a five-axis machining center. The cutters were sometimes as narrow as 0.01" (0.254 mm), so the cutting is both intricate and delicate. The programmer/machinist begins by importing a


Pro/E CAD model directly and then uses the solids feature in Mastercam to efficiently visualize the part, develop a manufacturing strategy, and create the toolpaths. All of the programming for lathe, mill, and wire EDM is generated from the same model, so there is no need to be continually switching from one version of the program; all of the CNC machine tools can be programmed from within the same environment.


For multiaxis work, Mastercam’s WCS (Work Coordinate System) allows the programmer to shift instantly among a variety of work planes so that a sequence of three-axis toolpaths can be locked for highly stable and accurate cut- ting. Mastercam’s simulation features (Backplot and Verify) are used repeatedly to assure that exactly the right amount of material has been removed and that there are no tool or holder interferences that could compromise the part or break the tool.


Since all of the programmer/machinists work indepen-


dently, the flexibility of Mastercam allows them to set up their programming environments and techniques according to individual preferences—even writing their own postpro- cessors. However, in the interest of better productivity and tightened traceability, work is underway to standardize some aspects of the workflow, including tool libraries and postprocessors.


Medical Device CAM 101 With the Globus Medical product portfolio growing so rap-


idly, it is difficult to meet the need for qualified programmer/ machinists as quickly as openings occur. To bridge this gap, the company has begun hiring some experienced toolmak- ers that may have some familiarity with Mastercam but not extensive experience. “Very few people can walk in the door and do this job.


However, we have done a great job of taking a couple of dozen toolmakers and saying, ‘Okay you know how to make parts, now we will show you the CNC end of it and the CAM end of it,’” he said.


Early in his career Hansell took advantage of most of the training classes offered by Prism, his Mastercam reseller. Based on this training and years of experience, he has developed a Globus-specific training course interweaving proprietary Mastercam workflow protocols for getting surgical products to market quickly with FDA requirements for due diligence and traceability.


“The machinists/model makers are involved right from the brainstorming. They are working with the surgeons.”


Newly hired toolmakers come in early in the morning and


spend three or four hours in class before work. Hansell has an extensive course outline but there is no workbook, so that proprietary information is protected. They spend two con- secutive days going over the first chapter. They also devote a half hour every night practicing what they learned in class. On the job, they pay attention to how the skills presented in class weave into what they are currently working on in the shop. When one or more individuals are ready, they move on to the next chapter. On average, new hires spend about 16 days—spread out over many months—doing the formal course work. When it is over, most are proficient Mastercam medical programmer/machinists.


Running with Their Ideas Globus Medical has introduced more than 100 new


surgical product lines and associated instruments during almost 12 years in business. This has been accomplished by way of a culture that is 100% focused on making life better for the patient.


Hansell said he and his co-workers have fun in the shop but everything that needs to be accomplished typically gets done during a standard five-day workweek. “There is a very low turnover because the company holds its machin- ists in high regard,” he said. “We have great engineers who recognize that some of the best ideas come out of the shop. They include us in their decision-making processes. In fact, our machinists are listed on more than 40 of the 205 Globus Medical patents.” Hansell himself is listed on five.


This article was edited by Yearbook Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by CNC Software Inc.


79 — Medical Manufacturing 2015


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