Next Generation Tooling Opens Two Offices in California to Provide Technical Support During the Pandemic.
Sacramento, CA. - Next Generation Tooling, LLC, a manufacturer's representative agency, founded in 1995 and servicing the California Nevada Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico CNC manufacturing markets has just opened TWO offices in California.
Most of Next Generation Tooling's customers know them as "the Next Gen guys" according to Chris Savolainen, the Founder and President of 'Next Gen Tooling'.
What was the rationale of opening not one, but two offices when the entire team has worked out of their own home offices for years?
"We've grown our market service area quite a bit since we started out servicing just Northern California. We now include most of the Western States of the US. We've s been adding some of the best technical CNC application people we can find to support the unique mix of principles we represent. The products that we represent are what are considered very high performance tooling and workholding. It's some of the premiere products in our entire industry! We determined that we really needed a place to provide on-site technical training. We also needed to carry some inventory to support the unique needs of the aerospace, medical, electronics and defense industries that we support." Said Savolainen.
Rob Aldama, Vice-President of Next Gen Tool picks up the story, "At first we thought that one training and showroom might be good enough, but as we started talk to our distributor, machine dealer and end-user manufacturing customers, we discovered that there was a real need for facilities in both Northern and Southern California. None of our competitors are providing the deep technical service that has helped us gain market share, so we really felt we should just take it to the next level and open two facilities."
But what about the Pandemic?
With the Covid-19 pandemic raging there are not a lot of companies expanding. Most are cutting costs and employees. When asked about this both Chris and Rob stated that their team of people have remained pretty busy throughout this entire period.
Chris said "We get asked in to shops to provide technical support pretty often. Putting on the full body PPE suits has been kind of common for us during the past few months."
Rob picked it up from there, "I think we may be some of the really select few that have been asked to come into shops because we're not just taking orders, we're reducing cycle time and we're improving efficiency"
Chris jumped back in, "And maybe its a little bit self serving, We can have the equipment set-up at both locations instead of trying to bring it into a facility. It's actually a lot easier, faster and safer to bring people to one of our locations rather than try to move things with lots of sweat and heavy breathing in PPE."
"Yea, We can bring people to either location and do the training. There are far less interruptions and the I think people learn a lot more, and learn it faster" stated Rob.
NGT Warehouse and Training
What types of training do they provide at Next Gen's new buildings? They start off with a lot of fundamentals that people running CNC machines may never had any formal training about. That's where their basic Training Classes fit in.
But they also can go much deeper with their Advanced Part Manufacturing training series
In case you missed How Its Made, Season 24, episode 9, featured a show on 5TH Axis Metalworking Vises!
Check it out over lunch!
We are very excited to announce that David Edge has joined the Next Generation Tooling team. David has a wealth of experience from his 45+ years in the metalcutting industry. He not only knows the technical aspects of cutting tool applications but also the procedural functions that are important to manufacturers, Industrial distributors and machinery dealers.
David began his career in 1972 as a manufacturing engineer in turning applications, with Pneumatic Auto Turret lathes, Tracer lathes and manual Turret lathes. He cut his teeth in sales for 11 years as a cutting tool specialist for Valenite in the Bay area.
He moved north to work for RTW and Iscar where he managed Washington, Oregon and Western Canada for the many aerospace applciations in that area. In 2012 he moved back to the Bay area to manage Northern California for Tungaloy.
David also brings first hand experience as a distributor from his time at J&L Industrial Supply and Aronson-Campbell Industrial Supply as a carbide application engineer. He has a deep understanding of what the expectations are of a industrial distributor from a manufacturer.
David also has an inside knowledge of the expectations of a machine tool dealer from his time back in the late 1980's working at Selway Machine Tools.
The RockLock quick change system is here. Featuring Industry standard 96 mm pull stud spacing.
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Note: This article originally appeared as a Case Study From: 5/1/2016 Modern Machine Shop, Edited by Emily Probst , Associate Editor
VIDEO NOTE: Scroll to the bottom of the page for a behind-the-scenes look at 5th Axis, and hear Chris Taylor talk about how Hypermill software has helped his company.
From day one, 5th Axis Inc.’s business strategy has been to take advantage of the most advanced software, equipment and technologies available so it could competitively enter demanding niche markets like aerospace, medical and other challenging high-tech industries.
However, during the company’s entry into five-axis machining, co-founders Steve Grangetto and Chris Taylor realized their CAM software had major shortcomings—machining collisions were common, and they weren’t able to realize the full potential of their machine tools. Using Hypermill from Open Mind Technologies AG of Wessling, Germany, the company achieves faster run times, better surface finishes and overall better quality
Business grew dramatically during the company’s first three years. To meet the growing demand for complex, five-axis machining, 5th Axis purchased a new high-performance five-axis machine to accompany its original Haas machine. However, during programming, the company realized the shortcomings of its existing, mainstream CAM software. Along with unexpected machining collisions, the company couldn’t fully utilize the speed, capabilities and potential of its new high-end machine. That’s when Mr. Grangetto and Mr. Taylor decided to give Hypermill a try.
For instance, five-axis machining greatly improves part precision by eliminating alignment errors that are introduced in standard machining when a part is removed and refixtured in another orientation. It is also extremely time-efficient, because most or all of the work is performed in a single setup with no delays while waiting for an operator to unload, reload and reposition the part.
Stepping through the tool path to watch it remove material and verify that it clears the machine without any collisions is a valuable time-saver. “I do not have to walk out to the shop floor and manually look inside a machine with coolant flowing to check clearances,” he says.
By controlling the amount of volume or the angle of the cutter’s engagement, the cutter can loop into a corner. The Maxx Machining roughing module extends tool life, and machining time is reduced by 30 to 75 percent by maintaining a constant chip load, Mr. Levine says. 5th Axis can use Hypermill Maxx Machining on materials ranging from aluminum to hard materials like Inconel because its high-speed machines are fast enough to keep up with the rapid toolpath motion that is generated. “The bottom line is that using Hypermill Maxx Machining results in super-efficient and fast tool paths,” Mr. Norton says.
Open Mind uses internal experts to develop postprocessors, which it considers to be a core technology of the company. The customized postprocessors have configurable parameters that enable users to control their particular environments. This means that the core mathematics and the basic structure of the post are created and locked down by Open Mind, but 5th Axis can change certain parameters, which influence the locked portion.
According to Mr. Levine, “Some companies give the customer a tool kit and the ability to build their own post, but those guys are not there to write postprocessors; they are there to cut metal. Also, writing the entire postprocessor is too much for the original equipment manufacturer that has to ensure compatibility with various CAM software products. An alternative approach is to give the customer no control, but then they would have to call back to the service supplier to make custom changes. Our combination of locked and open is not entirely common, and we believe it gives customers the best of both worlds.”
The high-quality tool paths, advanced CAM software capabilities, postprocessor support and skilled technical support give 5th Axis the confidence to take on ever more challenging jobs that require programming complex parts, Mr. Taylor says. “With Open Mind’s help, we never burn money getting stuck on a job. Their contribution has been a really big part of the growth of our business.”
At the September 2014 IMTS show, Emmett Quigley, the Manager of the Airborne Instrument Development Lab at NASA Ames Research Center, was looking for a modular workholding system that would help him to quickly change over the fixturing on his table to meet the lab's demands of rapid prototyping and development.
Demanding design requirements for future development
Quigley had several initial requirements:
Emmett looked at a couple of systems but post IMTS only mPower had followed up with the information he needed to start the design. He found that the Modern Industries mPower modular tombstones and fixturing systems would meet his needs, but would need some customization to truly get the maximum use of his machines table space and travels. The mPower system was to be implemented on two machines to begin with. The first would be the labs workhorse, a Deckel MAHO DMU70V. The next machine would be a Deckel Maho MH600C Universal Milling Machine. The MAHO is unique in that it has both a horizontal and vertical spindle as well as a full fourth axis capability.
After several email exchanges and design discussions with regional manager Chris Savolainen and Ron Bemis, the Application Engineer at Modern Industries the team spent from from October 15th through 17th reviewing the various part shapes and size requirements to define the subplate hole locations that would provide the very best versatility to meet the needs of the lab.
It was decided to go with 2" x 2", 1/2 -13 bolt hole pattern in 1.5 “ thick aluminum plates. However they needed to modify the DMU plate by adding the through hole so they can reach the table with their tool setter. Quigley then need to duplicate the plates in steel.
The final requirement was that the lab needed to have the locating/clamping features below the surface as these plates will need to be surfaced from time to time.
Due to budget constraints the system had to be developed with consideration for the longer term lab requirements so that it could eventually expand for upcoming new projects. Preparing for the unknown problem has always been part of the mission at NASA so long term contingency planning is the norm.
In June of 2015, phase one of the project was implemented on the Deckel Maho DMU70V machine.
Quigley's thoughts on the implementation thus far:
According to Savolainen "NASA's Airborne Instrument Development Lab at Ames really considers both current needs and future needs when they look at workholding systems. The machines and equipment have to be versatile enough to handle current projects but also new research projects that might not even exist until 10 or 15 years from now. They really put a great deal of thought into products before they get them and it's actually a real pleasure to work with engineers who plan and think so far into the future!"
Our NEWS blog section is written by several different people. Sometimes, it from our team here at Next Generation Tooling & at other times it's by one of the manufacturer's we represent.
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