“ESPRIT outputs flawless code to our mills time and time again. We recently did our first thread mill operation. Without ESPRIT, I would have been clueless on how to proceed with programming this.” John Buckaloo, Plant Manager, Cleveland Machine
Texas’s Cleveland Machine is a highly specialized shop that serves the state’s major oil and gas industry. When we say “highly specialized,” we mean it. Cleveland Machine manufactures only type “H” back pressure and two-way check valves, which are installed in the wellhead to hold pressure during routine maintenance and repair of drilling equipment. Although they limit their work to type “H” valves, each wellhead often requires hundreds or even more than 1,000 pieces—so efficiency is one of Cleveland Machine’s top priorities.
On the Cleveland Machine shop floor, you’ll find an Okuma Captain L470 lathe, an Okuma Space Turn LB4000EX lathe, an Okuma Genos L400E lathe, an Okuma MX-55 mill with rotary, a Leadwell MCV-1100i mill also with rotary, two Okuma LB3000 MYW mill-turns, and an Okuma MB-56VB mill.
Although the shop boasts an impressive lineup of machine tools, programming them hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Cleveland Machine’s plant manager, John Buckaloo, describes some initial pain points. “We had issues with programming our first Okuma mill-turn, specifically the live tooling aspect.”
In addition to helping streamline the programming process, ESPRIT now plays a valuable role in research and development at Cleveland Machine, too. “I use ESPRIT any time I design a new item,” says John, “as well as when programming the Okuma mill-turns. We were very unfamiliar with programming the live tooling in addition to picking up with the sub-spindle. Although it is relatively simple to manually program those, ESPRIT was critical when the time came to contour surfaces and machine awkward radii.”
John and the Cleveland team first encountered ESPRIT at a Hartwig open house in Houston, and they were immediately struck by its efficiency. “Victor from [ESPRIT reseller] Shape Design Technologies did a great job showing us the software and touted the power of good post processors,” says John. The timing couldn’t have been more opportune. “We knew we were going to have issues programming [the Okuma mill-turn], and I already had experience programming with other CAM software in college. Once we saw ESPRIT in action and talked with Victor, it was clear that ESPRIT would be the best option for effectively programming our mill-turns.”
In the years since first implementing ESPRIT, the program has lived up to John’s initial expectations. “We use ESPRIT for programming helical movements, rotary milling, and especially engraving. Recently, I’ve been using engraving quite often. This is nearly impossible to do without some sort of CAM software,” says John. “ESPRIT outputs flawless code to our mills time and time again. We recently did our first thread mill operation. Without ESPRIT, I would have been clueless on how to proceed with programming this.”
As Cleveland Machine continues to fulfill the evolving needs of the oil and gas industry, John is confident that ESPRIT will keep the future bright. Whether making one-off pieces or large-volume R&D creations, “ESPRIT has saved us a ridiculous amount of programming time and has also prevented quite a few machine crashes,” says John. “We will likely continue to make the same parts we make now, but we intend to branch out to more and more items as our capabilities increase. ESPRIT, in conjunction with new machines and machine technology, is necessary to help us complete that goal.”
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