April 25th, 2019
From James in California: Hi Steve, we are an aerospace job shop of only 8 machines running mostly short to medium runs of parts, and we are currently using USB sticks to load programs into our CNC machines. This method seemed to be working fine until we recently ran the wrong revision of a CNC program, while our programmer was on vacation. I’m advocating for implementing a DNC System, however the owner of our company is concerned that the upfront cost of what he considers a “nice-to-have” system is not justified. Could you please share how long it usually takes to realize full ROI for a new DNC system?
Steve: Hello James, I usually recommend when trying to justify a DNC system to have the operators keep track of the total time it takes every time they need to get a new program into the machine. This includes walking to the office to copy the programs on to a card or thumb drive, then walking back to the machine and copying the program into memory. Most people find that each time they need a program it could take from 10 to 20 minutes. If you add the program loading time up for the total number of downloads and multiply it by the cost of your hourly machine rate, you will usually find that you can pay for a DNC system in six months or less with just the savings realized with the vastly improved program download speeds. Most program downloads through a DNC system should be completed in a minute or less, unless it’s a very large CNC program. In a scenario like yours when the wrong parts are ran that can obviously be a very expensive mistake, sometimes so expensive that the cost will actually be greater than the total cost for a DNC system. The added bonus of file revision control that a DNC will provide will eliminate that problem for your shop, so that savings should also be considered when figuring out the ROI for a DNC system. Good luck James!
From Henry in IL: Hi Steve, I’m also a big fan of Apple and was curious what you thought of the company’s recent shift to focusing on services like Apple Card and TV+, and do you think we’ll see the new MacBook Pro at the WWDC 2019 event in June?
Steve: Hi Henry, I think the Apple Card sounds great and much more secure, as for the MacBook Pro I doubt if they will release one at WWDC since they seem to focus on software at that event. But there has been talk out on the web about a new one coming, but when we will just have to wait and see.