- Produce complex parts in one machining center with one setup.
- Program multi-axis CNC machines with a CAM software solution that has a single interface, machine simulation, and good post-processor support and is trustworthy, repeatable, and commonly used by workers in the area.
- GibbsCAM® CNC programming software by 3D Systems
- Willemin-Macodel 508 mill turn machines with robots
- Eliminated variability and multiple operations and setups.
- Reduced errors and downtime.
- Cut cycle times by up to 80%.
- Reduced lead times by up to one third.
- Improved speed to first part, part quality, and tolerances.
In 2016, Randy Theken founded Slice Mfg. Studios in Akron, Ohio, as a result of his medical implant company, NextStep Arthropedix, struggling to find contract manufacturers that were able to provide the services they needed. So, basically, they’re engineers who started a contract machine shop.
Since then, Slice has established itself as an end-to-end, one-stop shop providing services and solutions for the medical device and industrial communities—from design, development, prototyping, and mechanical testing to final production and sterile cleaning/packaging. The high-end, full-spectrum manufacturing studio is FDA-registered and ISO 13485-certified with classed clean rooms. What sets Slice apart is the number of capabilities under one roof, from front-end to back-end operations.
“In our business, what’s important is speed to first good part. It's critical that we have the machine capability coupled with the software capability to work quickly.”—Joe Lah, General Manager, Slice Mfg. Studios, Akron, Ohio, USA
“I don't know that we would even have the ability to pull off some of the parts that we're making without the multi-axis equipment.”—Joe Lah, General Manager, Slice Mfg. Studios, Akron, Ohio, USA
The Equipment: Multi-Task CNC Machines and 3D Printers
Slice specializes in combining 3D additive manufacturing and precision machining into their workflow. With their multi-task machining (MTM) equipment, they can deliver high-precision parts in one setup from bar stock or a metal 3D-printed part. In addition, as part of their additive manufacturing capability, Slice has metal 3D printers that use implant-grade titanium powder for medical implants and a ProX® DMP 300 printer by 3D Systems that they use primarily for prototyping surgical instruments and tooling.
Key benefits of multi-task machines include the ability to get at many sides without re-chucking, a single machining center and setup, and a high level of precision. Because you don’t have to handle a part through multiple operations, which involves repositioning the part, you can eliminate variability. “That's important in our business,” says Lah.
With GibbsCAM, Slice has taken pain away in a speed that allows their customers to continue business without worrying about the supply chain or whether they're going to meet project deadlines.
“Without GibbsCAM, I don't know how we would operate in this shop. It takes a powerful piece of software to be able to go from our customers' ideas and requirements into real, tangible solutions and products.” Lah concludes: “I whole-heartedly recommend GibbsCAM for anyone who’s considering buying some multitasking equipment or even changing their current software. GibbsCAM has given us the capability to be more efficient and to make components that couldn't be made any other way.”