Page 27 - 2021 CNC West April-May
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possible baggage and bad habits. I also opened the shop with no secondary equipment to fall back on. No Bridgeport mills, no manual lathes. If we were going to put a hole on an angle, we were going to do it all on the same machine.”
The concept at Wolfram Manufacturing is
one piece flow. They load raw material and take
out a finished part. If there is an opportunity for
a human contact, there is an opportunity for
error. They go the extra mile to do as much on
the machine as inhumanly possible. So, with a
devout, almost religious like discipline Wolfram Manufacturing use science and critical thinking
to go after sources of variation. Nathan knew
realizing his dream would require more than a
3-axis mill and traditional lathe that make up a
large part of the Texas shops his size. “We are
a small operation with a dozen employees and
a 6000 sq.ft. building,” details Nathan. “Similar
sized companies in the area don’t have the same
kind of capabilities that we do. All our machines
have a lathe spindle and sub spindle. Every machine has full milling, every machine has high pressure coolant, every machine has touch setters, every machine has probing, every machine has TMAC adaptive control, and everymachineisanOkuma.”Afterrunningfacilitieswith every machine tool under the sun Nathan felt the Okuma fit perfectly on the price vs performance vs “hackability” graph. “Okuma are dependable machines with good specs and in our particular case come with terrific support. Our shop is in Austin, TX and one of the best techs in the Southwest lives in Austin. Peter is a true local asset, and any time we need support, Peter is our guy. So many times the right system is the one you can get support for. I started with one Okuma Multus B400, but now we have four machines and are planning our next additions”
Like the mighty Longhorn, Wolfram Manufacturing also has a two-pronged approach to business. The
machine shop
is only half of
the equation,
the other
half is sales,
and training
on all the
Caron Engineering production tools. Before they were dealers, they were customers, and one of the core beliefs at Wolfram Manufacturing is in the Caron systems. “I carry a lot of anxiety at night when the machines are running,” half jokes Nathan. “To get any sleep at all as a new business owner I knew the Caron system had to be deployed in my own shop. Holes in processes give me nightmares and I have to find ways to close them. Caron was in our process from the very beginning. Every member of our team from the get-go were trained in it. I forced them to learn it and depend on it. We got very good using it. When we talk about what went wrong one of the first questions always is “could we have caught this if Caron was set up properly?” I coach my team to ignore what the salesperson says is the limit of their system and ask for what you really want. Imagine the world as you want it and keep asking for that. If what they have doesn’t work and they appear to be a leader in their field keep pushing for feature requests. We did that with Caron to the point that they almost got tired of hearing from us. We reported bugs, requested feature changes, you name it. At a certain point Rob Caron who owns the company called and set up a meeting to come down to Austin and see what we were doing. He spent a couple days with us and that started the process of becoming a distributor for
   Dialing in zero on the newest machine, an Okuma LB3000, is lovingly named L3PO after the StarWars droid.
  Wolfram Manufacturing are a Caron Engineering distributor in the Southwest but do product integration and training nationwide.
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