Customer Spotlight: Verus Metrology Partners
Verus Metrology Partners is a leading engineering business, specialising in Metrology Inspection Fixtures and Subcontract Metrology. Their focus is on supporting ETG’s global clients with a team of experienced fixture design engineers, metrology engineers, and toolmakers, that partner with you to create robust metrology fixture solutions you can trust.
Colm Taylor is a Staff Manufacturing Engineer at Verus. With a background in toolmaking, Colm joined Verus in October 2017. At the time, Verus was operating as an in-house metrology manufacturer, completing metrology jobs for
other clients. They realised, due to increased demand, they needed to adapt and come up with a way of fixturing components so they could be measured. Verus began designing and manufacturing fixtures with the help of subcontractors, and in 2017, they started manufacturing these fixtures in house.
Soon, Verus saw further increased demand for these services. Colm had been using Mastercam version 7 in his previous role, an older and more outdated version of Mastercam. He had a good knowledge of Mastercam but knew it had advanced a lot in recent versions. Upon joining Verus, he was consulted on which software package would be most beneficial to Verus’ process, and Colm immediately knew Mastercam was the right option.
The team introduced Mastercam with just one seat, which Colm and his colleague Simon shared. “It was only when we got that first Mastercam seat we realised how slow we had been going,” he says. Their first setup had two milling machines and didn’t even have a table to hold the cutters. Having to take turns on the one seat, Colm and Simon quickly realised their increased productivity was so rapid, they were now holding each other up! Colm approached the board for additional Mastercam seats and machines. With a clear understanding of the benefits this would bring to the whole shopfloor, the board supported the investment, and as each new engineer joined Verus, a need for a Mastercam seat came with them.
Starting with two VM10 Hurco machines and a TM6 Hurco Lathe, the Verus team began manufacturing using methods and processes they learned from using the older Mastercam version. Quickly realising they were not using Mastercam to its fullest potential, they reached out to ETG Ireland for Mastercam training.
The training was done in-house on Verus’ site, which Colm found to be extremely beneficial. Verus’ engineers were able to show ETG’s Mastercam trainers exactly what parts and machines they were working on and then prove out parts on their own machines. Colm showed our ETG Engineer what the team was machining and was told the task could be completed in less than 10 minutes – as opposed to an hour or more – with the help of dynamic roughing. “I was unsure if the cutter would break when it went down and began roughing!” he admits, but the part was made with ease, and it was clear how Mastercam was going to revolutionise Verus’ process.
Prior to trainin
g, the Verus team was manufacturing 400mm squared base plates with a pocket taken out of it. Roughing this pocket format was taking the team two hours, but with the help of ETG’s Mastercam training, the whole plate was completed in under two hours. “The process of dynamic milling was a real eye-opener to what can be done in such a short period of time,” Colm adds. “We couldn’t believe the increase in productivity. It was frustrating to realise the losses we’d incurred from not utilising Mastercam sooner, but the training courses have given us the skills and knowledge to leverage Mastercam to our own advantage and supercharge our processes.”
Everyone on the floor uses dynamic roughing, and sometimes Mastercam OptiRough in certain scenarios. A lot of the engineers use the same Mastercam features most of the time, but Colm says they each have their own personal taste as to how they like to machine and what Mastercam solution work best for them. “When doing 3D modelling, some engineers find a hybrid to be better than a flowline or scallops,” she shares. In general, however, they stick to the same soluti
ons. “The work we do is not link toolmaking, in the sense that we are not as tied to tolerances as a toolmaker would be. This work is a bit more forgiving, and we can stick to the same processes a lot of the time,” he says.
Verus precision now operates nine Mastercam seats, 11 Hurco milling machines, and a lathe. Each person on the shop floor is running on average two mills. On the day we chatted, Colm noted he was actually running three machines just to keep up with demand, which has grown exponentially in recent years.
ETG Technical engineer Brendan O’Callaghan regularly provides Verus with training courses in line with each new Mastercam release. Regular training ensures the team is always up to date on the latest advancements, which bring with them better and faster ways of operating
and importing controls. “They may only seem small [changes], but they speed things up hugely,” says Colm.
Verus standardises their process as much as possible, bringing in contours from previous jobs to save time and reduce errors. The fixtures they produce are 95% aluminium, and so can be machined very quickly. When comparing his process from before they had Mastercam, Colm says: “the difference is like day to night, and a huge step forward from where we were”.
Verus partners with ETG Ireland to deliver Mastercam training to their new engineers as they join. New engineers are set up with a buddy whom they shadow on the shopfloor. Every day they find new ways to increase output, and if an engineer finds a faster or more efficient way of doing something, they share this with the whole team.
A subcontracting firm that Verus had been working with was using Mastercam and Colm was impressed at the speed with which they could machine fixtures. “We could see what they were doing (with Mastercam) and the pace they were doing it at,” he says. Colm liaised with the firm, who were only too happy to share their insights into the power of Mastercam.
The nature of the work Verus does moves very fast, and they are constantly innovating. In terms of manufacturing fixtures, they could have a 16 or 24 station fixtures completed in a number of days. In the last 2-3 years, due to further standardisation of their processes, they have managed to keep 95% more of their manufacturing in house, so they can take a lot “off the shelf”.
When asked about plans for the future, Colm says they are trying to figure out how to add another machine or two to their shop floor. “We’ve gone from having so much space to wondering where we could possibly fit in another machine!” he laughs.