Delcam’s PartMaker CAM software has brought the feel-good factor to Esterline & Sons Manufacturing, including helping the company to make the most of its investment in a new Mori Seiki five-axis turn-mill machine.
"I didn’t think I’d ever feel as good about any software as I do about PartMaker,” commented Wendell Campbell, Special Projects Manager at Esterline. "PartMaker has given me and my company the ability to do new things, to grow our business and make more money, and to have fun doing it.” To see the full interview with Mr. Campbell, please go towww.delcam.tv/esterline.
Esterline & Sons started out in Springfield, Ohio, in 1957, producing stainless steel thermistor housings. The company still uses the same unique "close and seal” process to supply closed-end tubes to customers around the world. Over the years, it has also become expert in the machining of high-temperature and exotic alloys for the medical and aerospace industries, including some work for NASA for the fuel system on the Space Shuttle.
"One of the things we’re very picky on is customer service,” explained John Maurer, Chief Operations Officer. "We run an old-fashioned company, where we treat our customers like family.”
"We always aimed to do quotes in twenty-four hours but, as parts became more complex, this was becoming very difficult to do,” he remembered. "Then we acquired our PartMaker software. That has enabled us to turn round our quotes in twenty-four hours, and have a very accurate tooling cost and a very accurate run-time. When the order comes in, the set-ups are quick, the parts are up and running and the customer is happy. It has helped us tremendously on our customer service side.”
Not surprisingly, Mr. Maurer expects the same level of service from his suppliers that he provides to his customers. "PartMaker’s customer service has been outstanding,” he added. "The company is becoming part of our family. Whenever we have any problems, the PartMaker people are right there.”
One example came after Esterline and Sons added a Mori Seiki NT 3200 five-axis turn-mill machine to its range of milling and turning equipment. "When we acquired the Mori Seiki machine, we wanted to go further with it, to use all of its capabilities,” said Mr. Campbell. "Firstly, PartMaker was able to provide a b-axis add-on for the software. Then, we just decided to jump into the full five-axis operation with both feet and PartMaker was able to answer that call with the PowerMILL Companion.”
The ease of data transfer between the two pieces of software has been a major benefit for Esterline. "Those two programs are able to mesh together seamlessly, transferring solids from PartMaker to PowerMILL and then being able to bring toolpaths back into PartMaker for synchronisation and simulation,” explained Mr. Campbell. "The PowerMILL Companion has been an enormous help that has let us do things we weren’t able to do before. It has let us get into markets that we would not have been able to participate in before.”
"Everybody says that American manufacturing is dead but I don’t believe that at all,” concluded Mr. Maurer. "American manufacturing is changing and has to keep changing to be successful. If American manufacturers think outside of the box and focus on making complex parts, and providing great customer service and top quality, we’re going to be just fine. PartMaker fits into that philosophy by enabling us to do jobs fast and do them right-first-time, and always have parts ready on time.”