Ordered today, delivered tomorrow – in our private lives, we take this level of service for granted. And at the workplace? There, we are used to waiting for weeks. Of course, individual components and assemblies that need to be manufactured according to construction drawings take a little longer. However, in the age of digitization and Industry 4.0, it is possible to accelerate many processes and make them more flexible.
Managing Director of BAM GmbH Marco Bauer, who studied business information technology, views digitization and automation as one of the great opportunities of our time. This holds especially true for industrial production. Bauer is convinced that: “due to the new technical possibilities, we have to look at the entire process chain in a completely new way. In this area, we like to think of ourselves as creative pioneers.”
Marco Bauer certainly has the entrepreneurial spirit to back up this claim. In 2011, he took over a small contract manufacturing operation with eight employees and four machines. In just a few years, he transformed it into a modern company for precision manufacturing, special-purpose machine construction and digital services with around 170 employees.
Even the company website presents several unique features for visitors. What stands out here is the online manufacturing service order option, BAM’s ‘Digital Services.’ “We have largely digitized the process chain including manufacturing,” explains the BAM founder. “This has enabled us to set up an ‘on-demand manufacturing platform’ and an online shop for customized sheet metal cutting. At mipart.com and stahlnachmass.com, corporate customers and private individuals can configure and order components and blanks directly online. After uploading the 3D CAD data that defines the desired component, customers receive a quote for their order within five to ten seconds. Once the order has been confirmed, we deliver even complex components in up to three days.”
In order to offer such rapid delivery of high-quality manufactured industrial parts – whether ordered online or traditionally – BAM has implemented a high degree of automation along the entire process chain. It goes without saying that this automation is software-driven. “I’m a computer scientist,” explains Marco Bauer, “and we employ 30 people in software development and research & development.”
“Thanks to the powerful 2.5D, 3D and 5-axis cycles of hyperMILL®, we have succeeded in reducing setup and programming times at the machining centers, resulting in increased efficiency and higher capacity utilization,” states Head of Manufacturing Stefan Bauer. BAM was also able to significantly increase the complexity of its manufacturing portfolio. This is because hyperMILL® provides efficient machining strategies for almost any application scenario. As a consequence, what started as a single hyperMILL® license has now grown to six – all including 5-axis cycles and the roughing and finishing modules of the hyperMILL® MAXX Machining performance package.
Stefan Bauer and his production team – which features a higher proportion of female colleagues than is normally seen in this industry – appreciate the fact that OPEN MIND is constantly evolving the software by introducing innovative strategies and processes. “With its feature technology and associated process and macro databases, hyperMILL® also provides a solid basis for automating programming and significantly reducing programming times by reusing pre-existing programming know-how,” adds Stefan Bauer.
Managing Director Marco Bauer, too, emphasizes the consistently excellent cooperation with OPEN MIND – from sales and service through to the project teams that worked on custom automation solutions: “The competent OPEN MIND contacts always provide us with expert support, even when dealing with highly complex applications and exotic projects. One of the decisive factors for us was that OPEN MIND develops its software in-house. As a result, we were able to obtain customized functions for our automation projects very rapidly, which has helped us improve by leaps and bounds.”
Rico Müller, Project Manager CAD/CAM Automation at OPEN MIND, confirms the intensive and highly cooperative collaboration. With regard to fully automated programming, he explains: “This works particularly well for component assemblies that have a similar structure and require similar machining strategies. Since BAM produces a rather large number of component variants, we have built an interactive user guide into our automation system. Now, our CAM programmers only need to set a few parameters to increase the range of components and significantly reduce the overall programming work.”