Trek Plastics Cuts Programming Time with InventorCAM

The Micrographics team has helped Trek Plastics reduce CAM Programming time by 50% with Autodesk InventorCAM Solutions.

Trek Plastics is part of the Trek Group, a plastic convertor operation that specialises in thermoforming, injection moulding and integral skin polyurethane foam moulding. A few years ago, Trek plastics switched over to use Autodesk products and partnered with Micrographics to properly implement their software. We recently chatted to Keith Burger, Design Manager at Trek Plastics Port Elizabeth.

Describe the business outcome priorities and process improvement you were looking for.

Our goals are to improve and streamline our operation. Using digital design and prototyping (we use 3D printing for proofing certain products), we reduced a lot of unnecessary processes, and there is still room for improvement, using more of the tools that we already have available.

What made you choose Autodesk over other products, like those you once used and has this been a good decision?

By comparison with the software we previously used, Autodesk Inventor, with Inventor CAM, proved to offer a more complete solution. Autodesk’s Solution was streamlined and more efficient than Trek Plastics had been used to. The Autodesk Solution also proved to be more stable, better supported and more advanced software. And yes, it has most certainly been a great decision. We have seen an increase in both productivity and output. In terms of the support we receive, Customer requests (and specifically some from us) are listened to and those that are practical and possible are considered to be included in future updates.

What was Micrographics’ role in the shift over to Autodesk?

Micrographics was available, present and eager to assist by answering questions, offering suggestions and performing implementation of the new software.

What Autodesk Solutions are currently used by Trek Plastics?

We use the Autodesk Product Design and Manufacturing Collection and specifically, Inventor and InventorCAM.

Inventor CAM Top Features:

2.5- and 3-axis milling

Create toolpaths with powerful technology, such as 3D adaptive clearing, and the industry’s most complete package of finishing toolpaths.

4- and 5-axis milling

Simultaneous 4- and 5-axis features for machining complex models include tilt, multi-axis contour, and swarf.

Turning and mill-turn

Improve productivity with traditional turning, facing, grooving, and boring functions. Includes support for live tooling mill-turning.

Waterjet, plasma and laser cutting

Generate 2D profile cutting paths quickly with the ability to add all contours in the same plane, add tabs, and specify quality settings.

Tool holder avoidance

Multiprocessor/multicore CPU support reduces toolpath calculation times, especially on large or complex designs.


Automatically avoid collisions between your part and tool holders during CNC calculations

What design challenges did you face and describe the primary opportunities for improvement that were discovered?

Autodesk Inventor offers quick Design - CAM - Production within an environment that tracks and includes updates in real-time (time is money). Other CAM packages require updated models to be re-imported and toolpaths have to be manually updated or changed, possibly even rebuilt. The Autodesk Solution was streamlined and ended up being more efficient than software and workflows we were used to. The CAM software was integrated directly with Inventor and required no exporting and importing of data, just the selection of a new tab in the software ribbon.

Do you utilise the Micrographics developed Tools for Inventor?

We have used the tools in the past, but are not at this moment in time.

Since Implementation, have you utilised Micrographics for any business process analysis or workflow consulting?

We have not seen the need for it at this stage, but we most certainly will when the time comes.

Does Micrographics offer regular support? What benefits do you experience by having us available when required by you?

Yes. Telephonic and team viewer support is great, but if it is something that requires “hands-on”, Micrographics is geographically very close by, which is a big benefit to us.

Do you use Micrographics for training?

Yes, we have used them and will do so again when required.

Have you purchased hardware from Micrographics? What products were these and have you noted improvements since their implementation?

We purchase all our workstations from Micrographics so that they are correctly specified for application and budget. We have also recently invested in some of their 3D Connexion Design Mouse products.

Closing Thoughts

Trek Plastics feels that Micrographics and Autodesk listen to their Customer requests and believe that those that are practical and possible are taken into consideration and communicated to be included in future updates. As challenges increase and expectations from clients rise, Trek Plastics is confident that Micrographics will always provide them with meaningful support and ensure that the products they use will be the best and most effcient option for their industry.

If you are seeking these kinds of results and feel that your business can benefit from building a strong relationship with Micrographics, contact us today and let us take your business into the future.