Smiths Aerospace Actuators Division in Wolverhampton says it’s expecting a 30% improvement in CNC program preparation productivity, following its purchase of £108,000 worth of EdgeCAM Solid Machinist from Pathtrace Engineering Systems. The company operates 45 CNC machine tools, including vertical and horizontal milling machines, lathes and mill/turn centres, and off-line programming had been a bottleneck for the shopfloor for some time. Lester Poxon, Smiths Aerospace manufacturing engineer, says the firm’s decision to buy EdgeCAM to resolve the issue was based on its close integration with the firm’s existing SolidWorks CAD – which meant no data translation problems. “It is vital for us that features held in the SolidWorks model are used in the CAM process,” says Poxon. Since EdgeCAM works directly on the solid model without translation first into a wire frame or surfaces, NC programs can be generated quickly and accurately using the native solid with all the model’s CAD intelligence. Other factors included the software’s feature recognition and realistic simulation capabilities. Says Poxon: “We are hoping to achieve at least a 30% improvement in the time taken.”