So some of you may have come to this site, wondering what it's all about.
You may be a job-shop owner/machinist thinking, "Why would I want someone off-site to program my jobs?!" So let me tell you a bit more.
Currently there is a crisis in the manufacturing industry, especially in the United Kingdom. Up until fairly recently, for well over a decade, the educational system has told pupils and students that in order to be successful, and in turn keep the economy successful, your must aim to get yourself to University and get yourself a college degree. This is all well and good, and for some, a very important part of the early stages of their careers.
However, fast forward to now, this has had an adverse effect on one of the biggest industries in the United Kingdom; engineering and manufacturing. In days gone by, machinists and toolmakers were in high demand, however there were plenty to go around. Many people left education at 14-15yrs old to follow an apprenticeship in their local engineering firm as toolmakers - this became a highly respected profession, however, when the digital age dawned, a shift occurred.
The education system deemed engineering a dirty, grubby job. Why would you want to get your hands dirty when you could make websites for a living? Thus, the number of apprentices fell, and although technology kept spurring on forward (driven by those who remained passionate about engineering) fewer and fewer people were available to become toolmakers, machinists, and equally as important; CNC programmers.
I can remember when I first started out, out of my own choice, at an evening course at my local technology college. This was just over 10yrs ago. I was the only person there off my own desire, the remaining students had been sent by their respective companies and bosses, and didn't really want to be there. However I saw the opportunity - I knew there was a gap here to be filled by someone passionate and ambitious.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself running a manufacturing facility, with a CNC machine shop and 6 CNC machines at my disposal, which sounds great. However - I, like many in this industry today found trying to source and hire quality Programmers was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Mainly due to the older generation of engineers retiring, with no one younger to come up and learn the ropes properly - they're all too busy developing iPhone apps in their air conditioned offices with ping-pong tables...
So what I'm trying to tell you, is that now, it's a time where you can utilise the high-tech side of manufacturing, but without the headache and cost of trying to employ someone qualified enough to do it (and then keep them!). Also, a lot of job-shop owners will do this themselves, which is great, however what they may be failing to see, is that the time they are spending programming a part or designing a jig or fixture, is not time spent building and developing their business. It's just not the best approach these days. There are quite a few companies out there offering offline CAM programming services, with good reason, there are plenty of companies out there who need it. Sometimes it can be just as simple as they have a job from a client, which is too complex to program conversationally or in ISO, but they can't afford to shell out the cost for CAM software - and then spend hundreds of hours learning how to use it. Alternatively, there may be firms who simply have so much work in the order books, their current resources can't keep up, so they need a little help. If you get an expert to subcontract the work for you, you can focus on your business and not worry about how the next job is going to get done. It works!
What do you think? Hit the comment button below the title if you agree or disagree! Would you let someone loose on your CAD files to develop a program for you? Let us know!