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In today’s world of CNC milling machines, producing custom-machined parts should be fast and easy, but this is not always the case, according to Ron Bemis, product engineer for Modern Industries.

‘The key problem is set up,’ he said.

‘The time required to set up each machining operation can kill productivity.’ Using the power of VX CAD/CAM, Modern Industries has created the Mpower line of workholding tools to overcome this problem.

With a precision fixturing and mounting system, modular tooling columns and indexers, it is now possible for machine shops to slash set-up time by as much as 80 per cent.

‘We originally bought VX two years prior to the Mpower project, said Bernis.

‘Our toolmakers used – and continue to use – VX to build our fixtures in 3D to make sure there isn’t any interference when they do machining or hold the part.

‘It is very helpful to find out about interference ahead of time.

‘When we began to get involved in the Mpower project, we had to convert all the original drawings into VX, because the inventor had created the drawings in another CAD package, and it couldn’t create CAM programs for machining the parts.

‘Sometimes customers want a turnkey product.

‘They want everything for a machine, including fixtures for new parts, and they want it done all at once.

‘VX makes it easy to pull it all together, get it done quickly, and get it done right,’ he added.

At other times, customers are adopting the Mpower system for the first time and want to make sure that they will still be able to use the fixtures in which they already have considerable investment.

‘In that case, I use VX to lay out the Mpower base plate to make sure the customer’s existing fixtures are still compatible,’ said Bemis.

‘Usually, I just need to know the hole pattern in existing fixtures to design a plate that fits.

‘Sometimes a plate that we already make will do the job,’ he adds.

Mpower is a modular system that fits together so that everything is properly aligned and positioned in the same way every time.

‘When customers need something special, I bring their project into VX, even if it was designed in another system.

‘Then I can quickly browse through the layers of their previous projects and select the components that fit, check for interferences and quickly send off a new set up.

‘Thanks to the speed of VX and the versatility of Mpower, I can often have the work completed for them in a matter of hours,’ said Bernis.

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