EdgeCAMThe use of parametric modelling and master models for CAD and CAM at a valve manufacturer has provided a ‘fast track’ production operation, with all components shown in an off-line programming system as 3-D models. Customers of Weir Valves and Controls UK can benefit from its fully integrated computerised business process system to supply engineered valve solutions. Developed by Weir, the online interactive entry of customer’s requirements and specifications automatically initiates the appropriate engineering and manufacturing processes, reduces lead-time and ensures precise engineering and manufacturing data. The Weir Group Company’s novel use of manufacturing technology is centred around Parasolid-based CAD systems, with the off-line programming of its 40 CNC machine tools being driven by EdgeCAM Solid Machinist software from Pathtrace of Reading. Says the company: “The results achieved so far have meant that part programming is much more efficient and accurate, enabling production costs to be accurately predicted.” Indeed, the implementation of its E-business strategy has already transformed production processes cutting lead times by half and slashing the time taken to process bills of materials from weeks to minutes. EdgeCAM plays a crucial role in the product configuration process and in the standardisation of processes by enabling the automatic generation of process routes, CNC part-programs using parametrics, setting procedures and tool layouts. As a result, EdgeCAM has enabled set up times to be reduced, run times shortened, prove-out eliminated and ensures accurate time/cost data is recorded, while maintaining a consistent level of quality. By adopting such ground-breaking levels of integrated, high-tech manufacture, Weir can specify an engineered valve by simply keying in data such as type, process, temperature, pipe size, details of flanges and material as well as quality requirements. From this basic input, the system automatically designs, plans, schedules, specifies materials, and then initiates the production routines.