We come across many stories of huge CAD installations at Fortune 500 manufacturers all over the world. We get submersed in complex PLM stories with global design work processes being undertaken daily. But we often fail to see is how small manufacturing shops are building their own futures by using CAD tools that revolutionize their production processes without much expanse.
This story from CRM Fabrication and Repair, located in North east Georgia, depicts how affordable CAD software from Geomagic, being combined with advanced machining software from Mecsoft, allows small production shops to rapidly and easily deliver return on investment in technology.
Using Geomagic Design and Alibre Cam from Mecsoft, the company was able to quickly redesign a custom product in less than 5 hours, at a 14% reduction in costs of labor and materials.
Tim Strifler, Marketing Coordinator, Mecsoft told that not to blow their own horn, but they hear success stories all the time about how their customers have utilized their software in effective ways and how it has helped their businesses. But Tim said that their benchmark for a truly satisfied customer changed after having words with Chris Milligan of CRM Fabrication & Repair.
Chris said that their software has literally changed his business and that Alibre CAM has brought Chris’ manufacturing capacity into the 21st century. Let’s see what lead to Chris’ success with MecSoft CAM software.
CRM Fabrication & Repair is a small family-owned fabrication and machine shop situated in the hills of Northeast Georgia. Chris said that their story is one of modest beginnings and hard work. Chris started the company in Longview, Texas, with only a stick welder and a 1978 Ford truck. Their drawings were sketched on graph paper or on the floor with soapstone. Gradually they were able to get their hands on a student’s copy of AutoCAD 2D. At that time, their services were limited to what could be welded with a DC stick or TIG welding machine, or items that could be fixed with an acetylene torch rig. Passing through15 years and a relocation to Georgia, CRM Fabrication & Repair currently has four full time employees, upgraded equipment and machinery and a full machine shop.
CRM Fabrication & Repair, has also purchased a seat of both Geomagic Design (formerly Alibre Design) and Alibre CAM 3, which, in the words of Chris, has literally transformed their business.
Over 10 years ago a company approached CRM Fabrication & Repair with a different product request. The company specialized in refinishing car wheels, and they wanted a stand that would assist in the process. But this was before CRM Fabrication had embraced CNC and CAD/CAM software, so creating a unique thing was a little more difficult. They were able to complete the product and ship the order, but it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t done efficiently.
Chris was happy for satisfying the customer’s needs, but hated producing them. He didn’t have the software to build them right or build them profitably. Yet words spread around to other auto shops about these handy wheel stands, and Chris started receiving more and more orders.
He eventually had the right software ( Alibre CAM + Geomagic Design), and it needed a redesign. The drawing went from a lunch break napkin to a full CAD model in four to five hours. Thanks to Geomagic Design and Alibre CAM, the product has a more refined CADdesign, which allows it to be easily adjusted, and makes it less expensive to ship. According to Chris, the retail cost for the completed modular units (fully powder coated) is 16% cheaper than the “crudely built units that originated 10 years ago.
CRM gets tremendous benefit from using Geomagic Design and Alibre CAM, without coming close to pushing the capabilities of the products. 3D CAD Systems is investing in substantially improving the Geomagic Design. While, under Alibre’s ownership, it declinedfor lack of financial resources, but that’s not the case currently. 3D Systems has the money, technology, and vision to take the Geomagic Design to a next level. I don’t know what that level might be, but consider that Geomagic has deep expertises in point clouds, NURBS andvoxels.
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