Interview with Chris R. Henderson - CNC Routing Operations/Drafting
1. How long has your business been in operation and how many current employees do you have?
We’ve been in business for seven (7) years and we currently have about 60 employees.
2. Can you tell us a little about what your business does?
We make buildings look pretty – such as architectural siding, sign towers, building re-facing, cement panels, as well as aluminum and steel fabrication.
3. What is your educational and/or business background?
I’ve got my high school education and I’ve been working in the construction industry since I was young. More specifically for CNC, I’ve been working around for around 10 years.
4. Can you please explain how you found MultiCam?
About 4-5 years ago we had a used AXYZ router which was a great table but it wasn’t the size table we needed and it wasn’t up-to-speed with our production. Looking through the industry we research a bunch of manufacturers, setups, tool changers, spindles, and a variety of different things to see what we needed/wanted.
We were approached by MultiCam Southeast since we had been buying router bits from them so we went to take a look at our local MultiCam facility in Suwanee, Georgia which was 20 minutes from our facility. We really liked the operation of the machine, the software that came with it, the options that we had, and it was a very customizable table for what we do.
5. What type of MultiCam machine(s) do you currently own and how long have you owned it?
We currently own two custom 5ft. x 40 ft. MultiCam 3000 Series Routers and we refer to them as twins (or the light side and the dark side) since they are the exact same except for the color. Before purchasing our second MultiCam, I wanted one exactly like the first one, that way we can interchange parts if we have to and we only have one set of parts we would need to order if we have to replace anything.
6. What do you like most about the MultiCam machine and what makes it the right choice for your applications?
For our application, it’s the speed I can run the machine at and the spindle speeds are variable on the hand controller and the programming. We also had these custom built for us so we have the ability to run one sheet of material while we’re setting up the other one on the same table.
7. Approximately, how many hours does the MultiCam machine run per week?
We run both of our machines anywhere in between 40-90 hours per week and they just keep on truckin’. Sometimes we’ll get in early and pull really late nights. It’s rare that we run 90 hrs/week but it does happen.
8. What type of material(s) and/or parts do you frequently cut?
ACM is the bulk of what we do, that’s probably 90-95% of what we cut. We cut Renobond and we’re running 4mm material all day long and sometimes we run a little bit of 6mm or 3mm material. From time to time we cut phenolic, plastics, and sometimes we run fiber cement on the router. Normally our material is 16’ wide by 5’. As far as aluminum, we stick to 50/51 or 60/62 sheets and sometimes we’ll cut barstock on the Router too.
9. How has incorporating a MultiCam machine improved your workflow?
We’re able to get jobs in and out of the door quicker. We’ll go from raw material to completing a job within days, anywhere between half a day or three/four days – it depends on the size of the job. Before we got the MultiCam we would run a job for a week or week and a half trying to get it done.
From the time I started here to right now, we’ve increased our productivity between 500 or 600%. Having two MultiCam’s has allowed us to cut a lot quicker. Before, we had the AXYZ table alongside the MultiCam and to get the second MultiCam machine, we sold the AXYZ and we bought our second MultiCam Router and since then it’s just allowed us to get that much quicker about getting projects out as well as the flexibility to run two jobs at the same time.
10. Is there any reasons why you chose a MultiCam machine over a different CNC provider?
A lot of it had to do with the setup, customization, and the price. The value for what we got was well worth the investment and that’s why we went and bought a second one.
11. Can you describe any advantages you see choosing a MultiCam machine?
We love the carousels (Automatic Tool Changers) on the gantry and it’s really nice to have a 12 position tool changer so we can be versatile.
12. What features do you guys utilize the most?
Definitely the 12 positon carousel (ATC) since we use it on every program. Some of the files we run have 6 or 7 different tools on one program. The oiling system from MultiCam is really nice and the service blocks make setup so much quicker – having the surfacing block on gantry next to the spindle makes it so much easier. We also have a vacuum table and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without having a vacuum hold down. It keeps everything really accurate.
13. Would you like to add any additional comments?
There’s a couple modifications that I’ve made to our table which have made our application easier but overall they’ve been great machines and they’re real work horses. They get used, they get abused, and they just keep tickin’, they’re like a timex.