Substantial ongoing investment and continual growth has been instrumental in Itasco Precision becoming a market leader in the medium to heavy sub-contract industry, with a rapidly-expanding customer base comprising multi-national companies in the offshore and petrochemical sectors. Installing the Edgecam CAM system for NC part programming has completely revolutionised the company’s structure and resulted in tremendous savings in time and money.
Based in Fife, Scotland, Itasco Precision has been servicing the worldwide manufacturing industry since 1976 and for a few years now has specialised in offering a complete turnkey solution to include design and project management, precision machining, weld cladding, NDE services and heat treatment.
With it’s continual growth and ongoing investment, the company has invested in the latest machine tools and weld cladding equipment to make Itasco one of the country’s leading manufacturers in medium to large turnkey engineered products.
In the face of increasing competition from Eastern Europe and Asia, managing director Russell Davies decided to concentrate on the oil and gas market in 2005 and since then has increased sales by 600%.
"Ours is something of a ‘rags to riches’ tale,” explains Davies. “Much of our phenomenal success can be attributed to our investment in Edgecam offline programming software. It is, quite simply, one of the best investments we have made – and it paid for itself in the first month.”
Prior to the installation of Edgecam nearly two years ago, all of Itasco’s operators programmed their own machines – a task which that was extremely time-consuming and was prone to ‘human error’. Now,
all of the programming is carried out offline by just one person prior to machining of the component – virtually eliminating down time at the machine tool.
Davies involved his whole production team in analysing four leading CAM systems and they found that while others offered similar features and functionality, as a whole package they did not meet all of Itasco’s criteria.
“One software system provider I contacted didn’t even bother to make an appointment to visit in order to provide a demonstration. A CD was posted to me and there was no follow up,” says Davies. “In complete contrast, Edgecam could not have been more helpful. From our initial enquiry the service was first rate, and still is – which is an absolute necessity if we are to consistently meet the demands of our customers.”
Manufacturing large and complex components for the oil and gas industry demands extremely high tolerances, quality and precision. It was therefore essential for Itasco to invest in a CAM package with software that was easy to learn, offered all the necessary capability – and more – and included the very best service and support.
A further advantage is that the majority of Itasco’s sub-contractors also use Edgecam – a system that is capable of receiving files in IGES, VDA-FS, DXF and DWG formats – making it easy to import data supplied by customers.
“The fact that our customers are using the system as well saves us so much time – and add that to our NCRs (non-conformity rates) going down to zero literally overnight – and you have an unbelievable ROI,” enthuses Davies. “It has to be a major benefit for us – we don’t make the programming-related mistakes that we did when it was a manual process, which had a detrimental effect on the efficiency and productivity of our business.”
Company internal procedure dictates that all programmes are checked and verified utilising 3D simulation models prior to downloading via a DNC network link to all the machines.
“The components we manufacture are normally complex and carry a very high value, therefore mistakes in programming could prove very costly,” explains Davies. “Edgecam gives us the flexibility to analyse every tool path and has built in features to ‘flag up’ any collisions that would normally go undetected.”
Itasco invested in the basic entry level Edgecam package nearly two years’ ago but continued growth means that it needs to further expand its CAM resources to incorporate multi axis functions and take advantage of the latest technology available to further increase capacity and capabilities.
“We are about to upgrade and install another seat of Edgecam in order to keep up with demands of our thriving business,” concludes Davies.