Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 12

B UY AMERICAN

S U P P LY C H A I N

COLUMN BY | CHRIS MONTOUCHET

	 Regardless	 of	 the	 type	 of	 usage,	
accuracy	 is	 essential.	 The	 hybrid	 or	
multi-purpose	 router	 with	 the	 appropriate	 knife	 can	 be	 accurately	
programmed	 thus	 eliminating	 guesswork	 and	 likelihood	 of	 an	 inaccurate	
cut	 and	 inefficient	 use	 of	 materials.	
Another	 valuable	 feature	 that	 some	
CNC	tables	can	offer	is	the	ability	to	
digitize	 accurately	 the	 shape	 of	 the	
product	 that	 will	 be	 packaged,	 which	
greatly	 simplifies	 the	 programing	 of	
complex	shaped	products.
	 It's	very	important	for	the	manufacturers'	and	shippers'	process	and	budget	that	any	machine	purchased	is	capable	 of	 performing	 several	 different	
operations	on	the	same	foam.	Options	
increase	 and	 process	 time	 decreases	
with	the	right	tables	and	tools.
	 Another	 element	 in	 this	 equation	
is	 the	 role	 of	 the	 supplier	 or	 vendor	
who	 provided	 the	 machine	 and	 the	

tools.	 Conducting	 due	 diligence	 in	
the	background,	reputation	and	track	
record	 of	 potential	 vendors	 cannot	
be	 understated.	 Companies	 have	 to	
be	assured	the	vendor	they	select	will	
be	responsive	and	reliable	at	all	times,	
actually	 a	 business	 partner.	 An	 investment	in	sophisticated	machinery	
like	 multi-purpose	 CNC	 routers	 and	
knives	demands	no	less.		

Example From the Field
One	 example	 of	 a	 company	 that	
leverages	the	use	of	a	multi-purpose	
router	for	foam	cutting	is	Diversified	
Foam	 Inc.	 of	 Yadkinville,	 N.C.	 The	
company,	 an	 engineered	 foam	 packaging	 fabricator	 with	 packaging	 and	
technical	 foams	 divisions,	 serves	 a	
wide	 variety	 of	 industries	 including	
athletic	and	sporting,	packaging,	automotive,	computer	and	electronics,	
industrial	filtration,	medical	and	chi-

ropractic	 supplies,	 government	 and	
military,	 bedding	 and	 furniture	 and	
upholstery	suppliers.
	 Diversified	 Foam	 had	 relied	 on	 a	
combination	of	CNC	wire	and	manual	milling	machines	for	its	processes.	
Company	 President	 Brett	 Matthews	
said	 prototyping	 was	 labor	 intensive	
and	required	his	most	skilled	workers.	
He	 decided	 to	 invest	 in	 a	 multi-purpose	 machine	 with	 three	 cutting	
heads.	The	results	were	startling.	
	 "It	 reduced	 the	 time	 it	 took	 from	
project	 to	 completion	 from	 days	 to	
hours,"	 Matthews	 explained.	 "It	 dramatically	improved	the	quality	of	design	and	the	prototype	because	of	its	
capabilities."
	 The	 company	 uses	 the	 oscillating	
knife	the	majority	of	time.	Matthews	
said	it	has	been	able	to	develop	"creative	 solutions"	 with	 the	 knife	 including	 partial	 depth	 cuts.	 For	 3D	
manufacturing,	 the	 company	 relies	
on	 the	 machine's	 spindle	 while	 the	
tangential	 knife	 is	 used	 for	 thin	 gage	
materials.	"It's	completely	eliminated	
major	 problems	 in	 our	 production,"	
Matthews	said.

Protect Your Reputation
Making	 sure	 that	 foam	 cutting	 is	 accurate	 and	 clean	 is	 a	 good	 start.	 Yet,	
there	is	more	at	stake	beyond	ensuring	
integrity	of	the	package	and	the	product.	It's	the	shipper's	reputation.	From	
the	recipient's	point	of	view,	quality	of	
the	foam	packaging	is	a	positive	reflection	of	the	sender	and	the	condition	of	
the	product.	It	shows	that	the	shipper	
is	 practicing	 the	 high	 standards	 every	
customer	demands.	mt
Chris Montouchet is regional manager for AXYZ International, Burlington, Ont., Canada. AXYZ International
is a leading global manufacturer of CNC router and CNC
knife systems, and maintains application development centers in the United States, Canada, the United
Kingdom, Poland and India. Tel: 800-361-3408. For more
information, visit www. axyz.com.

12			manufacturing-today.com		NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017


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