Friday, March 22, 2013

Anvil Bikeworks: Using Mastercam to Hammer Out Success





In 1998, Don Ferris, a former welder and manager of welders, started his own custom bike frame manufacturing business, Anvil Bikeworks, Littleton, CO. Soon other custom builders were looking over his shoulders. They liked his custom bike designs. But what they liked more were the fixtures and tools he created to make the build process more precise and productive.

Some of his competitors asked if he would be willing to supply them with similar tools and Ferris obliged. Within five years Ferris was in a totally different business from the one he originally started. Now he was marketing his own tools and fixtures for custom bike makers worldwide.


 
As orders grew, Ferris and his staff found themselves routinely working 50 hour weeks to keep up with the demand. Hand-drawn part designs and manually programmed CNC equipment were no longer appropriate for a rapidly growing international business. With some encouragement from a friend, a manufacturing engineer for a medical device producer, Ferris equipped his business with more advanced CNC machining centers and Mastercam software for design and CNC programming. That was in 2010.

In just two years, the use of Mastercam in conjunction with two new machining centers has allowed Anvil Bikeworks to create simpler and more modular product designs, significantly reduced labor and scrap costs, provided the company with a tool for tracking cost factors, and given Ferris himself more time for forward-looking activities like identifying new market opportunities.