Switching from manual programming to programming with Delcam’s PartMaker CAM software has allowed Clippard Minimatics to produce more complex parts than ever before, even though the company has been making its miniature fluid-power devices for more than fifty years. For the full story, go to www.delcam.tv/clippard.
William Leonard Clippard, Jr. founded Clippard Instrument Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1941, with an initial product line consisting of electrical test equipment, magnetic windings and radio-frequency coils. The first miniature fluid-power devices designed and built by Clippard were for use in the manufacture of this equipment. In the early 1950s, Clippard introduced Minimatic® components as a new product line. The need for miniature pneumatics was widespread and, since no similar products had been available previously, the Minimatic® line was successful enough to become Clippard’s primary product line, and to lead eventually to the change in company name.
Before acquiring PartMaker, Clippard Minimatics programmed all its parts by hand. "Our main goal when purchasing PartMaker was to be able to create parts on all our various machines,” remebered Scott Fible, a CNC programmer at Clippard Minimatics. "We have a Star SB-16 type D, three different types of Citizen machines, Ganesh machines and Haas mills. All of them are now programmed with PartMaker.”
After the investment, Mr Fible spent one week being trained on the PartMaker software. "Even though I had no previous CNC experience, by the end of that week I was programming parts,” he claimed. More training followed so that the company now has five different people programming for its five different types of machine.
"We’ve created some more complex parts that we never would have tried before. Now that we have PartMaker, we have the ability to do the programming, run a simulation on the computer and be able to tell whether it would be a good fit for the machine or not.”
"We’re going to buy a new machine to run a new family of parts, aiming to run lights-out so we can operate non-stop. Before, it would always take us a lot of time to make up our minds before deciding to purchase a new machine. Now, we know that we have PartMaker so we can basically buy anything we want and be confident that we will be able to program it. If they can build a machine, I believe PartMaker can build a post-processor for it.”
As well as praising the software, Mr Fible spoke highly about the support provided, saying "the updates are terrific, and the service and technical support is phenomenal”.
As a company operating in a competitive market, it is crucial for Clippard Minimatics to be working to their full capability. Mr Fible explained, "We need results and we need results now. PartMaker has made everything so much easier; the transition from manual programming was unbelievable.”