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New Technology Results in Higher Production Capacity and Efficiency

Climb Right products by Spyder Manufacturing

The Spyder Manufacturing team reviews design ideas.

Matt Monnig programming contour milling. The Siemens Sinumerik CNC enabled Matt to quickly learn how to program complex set-ups on a Fryer MC40 machining center. Matt initially learned how to program for contour milling using machine step programming. Programming is intuitively guided by 3-D animation to show part geometries, from set-up through to the finished part.

Gary Monnig (center) and sons with one of their new Fryer machines with Siemens control.

Spyder Manufacturing milling operation on a Fryer machine.

Tree spike rack

Originally a manufacturer of lawn and garden parts and accessories, Spyder Manufacturing has been through several transformations. Once employing more than 30 people, the company experienced a sharp decline when global competition forced a downsizing of production, employees and profits.

Back then, Gary Monnig would often say that the machines owned by Spyder were so old and rudimentary that the company "maintained a stable of hamsters just to power them." Spyder was spending thousands of dollars for outsourced machining, both locally and overseas, especially for more complex parts.

"There was nothing advanced about the shop," Matt Monnig said. "So I asked my dad if I could look into how investing in CNC-based machining might revitalize our shop. He said absolutely, and no more than five minutes later, entirely by coincidence, a CNC machine tool dealer walked in the door." After graduating from high school, Matt had helped his dad run the company, but he had only dabbled in the machining side of things.

Soon, a new Fryer MC40 milling machine, sporting a Siemens 840D control, was delivered and installed on the company's shop room floor.

Fryer Machine Systems' Field Service Engineer, Trever Lowe, arrived soon after to begin what was scheduled to be four days of training. However, Matt came down with the flu and was hospitalized for two days. When he returned to the shop there were less than four hours of scheduled instruction remaining-hours that would prove to be a turning point for the company.

The Power of Intuitive CNC

Having earned a living as a tool and die maker, Trever Lowe may be among the last of a dying breed. He joined Fryer Machine Systems because he wanted to work for a leading American machine tool manufacturer. And, he wanted to teach. One of his first assignments with Fryer was to travel to Spyder Manufacturing to teach them how to set up, program and operate their new Fryer machining center.

"When Matt returned to the shop after being hospitalized for two days, I realized that we had about four hours of scheduled instruction time left," Lowe said. "So, I decided to go right into the complex stuff-contour milling."

Lowe understood that what his new student needed to learn was the one thing that every future machinist needed to learn. "Today's machine tool and manufacturing market needs more than button pushers," Lowe said. "Intuitive CNC is the first step. Fryer machines enable the machine operator to shine. They can start to write their own programs at the control. Other companies try to compete in the conversational market, but Fryer Machine Systems chose Siemens CNCs because they are truly intuitive."

"When learning to program a Fryer machine, if you can understand the complex stuff, then in time you will figure out the simpler stuff," Lowe concluded. "So that is what I did. In less than four hours, I showed Matt the most complex programming. Ever since, when customers ask me how much training time is needed on one of our machines, I tell them we schedule 16 hours. Then I tell them about Matt, someone who did not know anything about CNC, but who in less than a day picked up enough CNC know-how to relaunch his business."

Programming at the Machine

Ahead of Lowe's arrival, Matt had invested over four thousand dollars in a leading brand of CAD/CAM programming software.

"I bought and trained on the software, but I never used it, because it turned out that the Siemens control has something called `conversational programming,' said Matt. "That is what Trever showed me during our short training session. I just found it so much easier to understand and to work with than the complicated offline software."

The ability to program at the control brings a competitive advantage to a shop. It empowers both the operator and the shop owner to efficiently produce more than they could otherwise. Instead of waiting for a CAD/CAM programmer to feed a G-code program to a machine, an operator can quickly set up the next program and keep production rolling.

CNC-Driven Innovation

Spyder Manufacturing is also the story of how a greater return on CNC can mean a greater return on a shop's workforce, enabling a business to leverage the skills and knowledge of its people to create new opportunities for the company.

Matt recalled how, from the earliest days of the company, Edward Jones was an especially resourceful machinist. Called upon for his hands-on perspective, Jones found ways to create new product ideas, using whatever were the tools of the day, long before the dominance of CNC machining.

"Not long after we bought our first Fryer machine, I drew up an improved version of our climber product," Matt said. "But the immediate feedback I got was, `No. That will never work.' But then I showed the sketch to Edward, and he said, `Let me make a sample.' So he hand made a sample, and we looked at the tools and what the new Fryer machines could do, and we all said, `Wow, that will work!'"

The new product design was soon validated by the CAD/CAM capabilities of the Siemens control. Using highly intuitive, graphically-guided functions such as the contour calculator, the shop could readily conduct design for manufacturability refinements right on the machine. At the same time, they were establishing the program to produce it. With no G-code language barriers in the way, the shop could conceive, design and produce a new generation of products.

Optimizing Resources

Today, Spyder Manufacturing is a company transformed. For Gary and Matt Monnig, achieving a greater return on their CNC investments includes taking greater control of their business, enabling their people and operations to become increasingly efficient.

Now, the company produces parts for customers overseas, rather than the other way around. Spyder is also able to bring next-generation products to market and efficiently keep pace with the demand for those products. This includes products made possible by bridging "old world" machinist skills and knowledge with creative leadership to capitalize on an intuitive and powerful CNC.

"The Fryer machines have paid for themselves many times over," Matt said. The company owns three Fryer MC40 milling centers, all equipped with Siemens Sinumerik 840D controls.

Before the company's investment in Fryer and Siemens, it took their shop a month to produce 50 sets of tree climber products. Now the shop produces nearly 500 sets each month.

Higher production capacity and efficiency have brought a near tenfold increase in the sale of the company's flagship product, the same product whose evolved design was first thought never to work.

Looking back, Gary Monnig and his son Matt consider themselves fortunate to have stumbled upon the best possible strategy for revitalizing their business. "Looking ahead, we plan further investments in Fryer machines with Siemens controls, knowing that anything is possible given the right set of circumstances: the managerial desire to ask 'what if,' the strength of a machinist's imagination to see the way and the power of intuitive CNC to make it happen," said Matt.

For more information contact:

Spyder Manufacturing

545 Porter Way

Placentia, CA 92870


John Meyer

Manager, Marketing Communications

Siemens Industry, Inc. Digital Factory

Motion Control-Machine Tool Business

390 Kent Avenue

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007


Fryer Machine Systems, Inc.

Robin Hill Corporate Park

70 Jon Barrett Road

Patterson, NY 12563


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