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Precision Machinery Maker


  • C. G. Bretting Manufacturing Co., Inc. (Ashland, Wis.), founded in 1890 as a sawmill machinery maker, maintains a strong focus on manufacturing innovation and passion to serve its customers.
  • Today, fourth generation members of the Bretting family are in top management and the fifth generation has joined the workforce at the company… Among the largely homegrown staff are about 100 engineers, 30 customer support personnel, and 45 service representatives who attend to Bretting customers worldwide.


  • C.G. Bretting does not produce high volumes of identical parts. “We’re not that type of company,” Manufacturing Engineer, Joe Moran said. “Ours is more of an R&D situation where it’s always new jobs. It’s a plethora of unproven, brand new programs, possibly with new, undefined processes. Sometimes we have to be incredibly creative to machine the parts we make.”
  • Moran says, “We were lacking the capability to verify our actual G & M codes.”


  • The simulation software’s 3D graphics help eliminate machining crashes while embedded algorithms and process-based know-how enable optimization of cutting conditions and standardization of shop-floor documentation.
  • NCSIMUL provides accurate estimates of total process run time. The software records factors that often aren’t included in run time calculations, such as rapid feed rates and tool change times.
  • Programmer Ken Lizak said, “Use of the software has helped us identify potential collisions between the workpiece and machine, with absolutely zero risk to the machinery. With its abilities to verify some of the tight clearances that we have to deal with, I feel it has paid for itself.”


  • To process challenging parts Bretting often edits a “custom flavor” into its machining programs, Lizak said. But in many cases, according to Lizak the toolpaths’ uniqueness raises uncertainty about the CAM software’s ability to handle them accurately. “Today’s CAD/CAM software is very good, he said, “but it can’t see everything. We were lacking the ability to verify our actual G and M codes. We needed that capability when we were working with parts that were very close to the limits of a machine’s working envelope or were using specialized tooling arrangements, such as mounting a right angle head into another right angle head.”
  • NCSIMUL enables operators to view a simulation of an operation and verify its performance. “Then they can have a better, warm and fuzzy feeling about a process that may seem a little bit off the wall,” Moran said, “That’s where NCSIMUL helps us go above and beyond what the CAD/CAM software can do. It has enabled us to implement innovative, outside-the-box processes. One of the biggest advantages is that there’s less dry run time because the operator can trust what’s being put out. NCSIMUL really helps with our first runoff.”


  • NCSIMUL software has been a key factor in maintaining Bretting’s manufacturing momentum. “The ability to use creative programming strategies and verify them is providing the next step as far as our company’s desire to set a tone and continue to be an innovator,” he said.

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