Machine Shop Excellence

Optimise processes and ensure end-to-end efficiency with smart manufacturing workflows for the machine shop.

Machine Shop Excellence

Optimise processes and ensure end-to-end efficiency with smart manufacturing workflows for the machine shop.

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Competing in a challenging market

Machine shops typically manufacture components and assemblies based on the design provided by their customers. Machine shops typically belong to tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers of OEMs and serve various industry verticals including automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, electronics, oil and gas, medical and consumer products. The key challenges faced by machine shops are:

  • Optimising raw material cost
  • Optimising manufacturing cycle times
  • Accommodating changes in design from the customer
  • Ensuring first time right manufacture every time and minimising rejection and rework
  • Ensuring smooth execution of manufacturing activities to meet the delivery date for the end customer
  • Ensuring the quality of the finished product irrespective of operators’ skill levels
  • Optimising the overall product and project cost

Hexagon’s machine shop solutions address these challenges at each stage of the workflow from enquiry to dispatch using a smart manufacturing approach based on various Hexagon products.


Smart manufacturing workflow

The smart manufacturing workflow for a machine shop involves several stages:

  1. Planning and quoting
  2. Preparation for manufacturing
  3. Machine programming
  4. Process certification
  5. Manufacturing
  6. On-machine measurement
  7. Quality inspection
  8. Data analytics
  9. Feedback to manufacturing

This sequential process is supported by ongoing activities and enabling technologies throughout:

  • Digital twin and artificial intelligence
  • Calibration
  • Resource management
  • Maintenance repair and operations

Key benefits

Hexagon’s machine shop solutions provide key benefits including:

  • Optimisation of raw material
  • Optimisation of manufacturing cycle times
  • Better resource utilisation for equipment and operators
  • Integrated workflow for ease of use and faster training
  • Minimisation of rejection and rework during manufacturing through feedback loop
  • Better control over the quality of the product
  • Optimisation of overall product and project cost
  • Faster time to market, ensuring on-time deliveries to the end customer

Explore how smart manufacturing technology supports each stage of the process.

  • Quoting and planning

    During this stage, a quotation is prepared considering various types of costs involved, such as material costs and manufacturing operations costs. Overall process planning is completed considering the various stages from enquiry to dispatch. 

    Hexagon’s WORKPLAN manufacturing project management platform provides users with the ability to manage the entire workflow, starting with the product enquiry all the way through to dispatch. 

    WORKPLAN can create a quotation for a particular opportunity. It also has an interface with the Radquote sheet metal quotation program, which enables quick and easy quote creation for sheet metal parts and purchased parts. It gives a full breakdown of the costs and allows each cost area to be altered to give flexibility when negotiating. 

    WORKPLAN schedules projects and jobs based on set priorities and resource availability. It supports forward-looking project planning. Manufacturers can use WORKPLAN’s Gantt charts to optimise workload, reduce bottlenecks, control milestones and meet due dates.

    WORKPLAN includes an easy-to-use drag and drop graphical tool to set routing order and create workflows. These workflows can be simulated for a set period, based on project due dates. Users can also set various internal due dates to ensure tighter management and provide a buffer in the workflow. WORKPLAN automatically generates a resource load planning schedule, which considers available capacity.

    Using WORKPLAN, various manufacturing activities can be planned and scheduled, resources optimised, and progress tracked against the plan to ensure that the project is delivered on time as per the customer requirement.

    Hexagon’s FormingSuite solution employs cost engineering principles to determine raw material and tooling costs, plan the production process, and evaluate the manufacturing feasibility of sheet metal components at a very early stage during product definition, based only on the part geometry.

  • Preparation for manufacturing

    Three computer monitors showing the different design stages of product development using Hexagon's DESINGER CAD CAM software

    During this stage, technical input from the customer, such as model files, are validated for manufacturing feasibility and the model prepared for manufacturing to ensure smooth execution of manufacturing operations. Hexagon products such as DESIGNER, REcreate, VISI Analysis and WORKXPLORE support users during this preparatory stage.

    DESIGNER is Hexagon’s CAD application for smarter manufacturing and provides a variety of solid, surface and sheet metal modelling capabilities, creation of 2D drawings, electrode design, design automation through macros and scripting, and a link to Hexagon CAM software and reverse engineering functionalities. 

    Using VISI Analysis, users can validate and prepare the model geometry, finding potential problems at an early stage within the project that greatly simplify the task of the mould designer and generate huge time savings during the mould design process. 

    REcreate is a dedicated reverse engineering software that reduces workflow complexity to create a faster and more flexible design, production and inspection environment. 

    WORKXPLORE is a powerful, full-featured, high-speed CAD file viewer and analyser. It is specifically developed to increase collaboration, productivity and effectiveness throughout cross-functional product development activities including design, process development, manufacturing, quality, sales, and customer communication, purchasing and product documentation.

  • Machine programming


    During this stage, CAM programming is completed in CAM software, using various relevant machining strategies considering the raw material stock, tooling, fixtures and the machine tool.

    Hexagon’s CAM applications address the growing challenges of achieving manufacturing efficiencies while delivering significant value to the operations for the production machining, mould and die, sheet metal fabrication, stone and woodworking industries. Hexagon provides a range of segment-specific CAM software solutions for CNC machine programming:

    Production machining

    • ESPRIT® is a high-performance CAM system that significantly improves machine tool productivity in even the most demanding production machining applications.
    • EDGECAM is a market-leading production CAM solution, combining the power of sophisticated toolpath generation with seamless CAD integration,

    Mould and die

    • WORKNC is the leading high-end CAM software solution for complex models in the mould, die and tooling industries for 2 to 5-axis CNC programming.
    • VISI is a CAD CAM solution for the mould and die industries offering 3D tool design, plastic flow analysis, sheet metal stamping and comprehensive multi-axis milling strategies.

    Sheet metal fabrication

    • RADAN is the world’s leading CAD CAM solution for the sheet metal cutting industry, providing applications for punching, profiling, bending, design and production management.


    • ALPHACAM is the CAM software of choice for the routing and stone cutting industries. The software portfolio provides customers with proven technology to increase productivity.
    • CABINET VISION is a complete engineering solution for the case good industry, right from entry-level cut list packages to fully integrated solutions
  • Process certification


    During this stage, the machining process is simulated by creating a digital twin of the machine tool along with required tooling and fixtures to verify and optimise the toolpath generated, ensuring that there are no collisions and thereby certifying the manufacturing process.

    NCSIMUL manages the complete machining process from the NC program to the machined part. Its capabilities allow users to fully master the shop floor and include automatic G-code reprogramming and G-code simulation. NCSIMUL virtually builds the real-life machining environment to eliminate errors, decrease setup times, reduce manufacturing costs and increase shop floor productivity.

    NCSIMUL Machine is a high-end CNC simulation software for G-code verification, machine simulation and tool optimisation. It detects programming errors and any potential collisions from the same NC code that drives the CNC machine

    NCSIMUL Optitool analyses cutting conditions, dramatically reduces ‘air cutting’, optimises feed rates and allows users to create better cutting strategies. The overall benefits are a reduction in production cycle times, enhancement of cutting operations and fast development of new G-code optimised files for future applications. This module allows users to optimise the tool lengths, air cutting and cutting conditions of NC programs (from 3- to 5-axis simulation software) and globally increase the quality of machining operations.

    Simufact simulation products offer specialised design and optimisation tools for specific manufacturing processes: Simufact Forming for forming simulations, Simufact Welding for welding simulations, and Simufact Additive for additive manufacturing.

    Simufact Forming’s Sheet Metal Forming module is used to simulate the forming of sheet metal parts from flat-rolled pre-materials. This module supports the manufacturing of tubes, profile parts, structural parts, engine and transmission housings, mechanical components, electronic parts such as connectors, and many other products. It supports transfer presses as well as progressive dies, roll forming and roll production processes.

    Simufact Forming’s Mechanical Joining module is designed specifically for the simulation of mechanical joining processes. It allows the numerical computation of technologies primarily based on joining-based forming. Various riveting procedures, such as punch riveting, self-piercing riveting or blind riveting, can be analysed.

    Simufact Welding is used for modelling and optimising a wide range of thermal joining processes, considering weld sequence and clamping. Processes such as arc welding, laser beam welding, electron beam welding, brazing and resistance spot welding can be modelled.

    Simufact Additive is a scalable software solution for the simulation of metal-based additive manufacturing processes. It is designed to predict and compensate for distortion and helps to minimise residual stress and homogenise temperature distribution throughout the entire AM process chain before the part is manufactured by the 3D metal printer.

  • Manufacturing

    During the manufacturing stage, the raw material stock is machined or sheet metal is fabricated on CNC machines with a given set of tools, fixtures and accessories. Machining operations for mould and die and production machining typically involve turning, milling, turn-mill and multi-axis machining. Sheet metal fabrication operations involve punching, laser cutting, bending, forming, nesting and welding, amongst other processes.

  • On-machine measurement

    Measuring on the machine tool, whether for workpiece inspection, temperature or tool control, is a valuable source of information in the machining process. With this data, workpieces can be aligned before or even in between machining, the quality of products can be assured, and measurement results can be used to flexibly improve your production process with an automated feedback loop. 

    Measuring on machine tools raises production quality and provides valuable support within the whole production system. Together with software modules, machine-tool measurement increases your productivity, reduces production costs and guarantees high flexibility. Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence offers an extensive range of machine tool measurement products, services, and knowledge sharing to maximise your manufacturing productivity. To learn more about the details regarding the same, please visit Machine Tool Measurement | Hexagon MI.


    In-process measurement can provide valuable insight from within the machining process for workpiece inspection, temperature or tool control. The measured data can help ensure correct workpiece alignment before machining and between machining cycles, support quality assurance and provide data to improve the production process.

    Hexagon’s extensive range of machine tool measurement solutions and supporting services help manufacturers raise standards in production quality while driving process efficiency and productivity. An effective on-machine measurement strategy can reduce production costs and maximise flexibility. 

    NC Server connects the power of PC-DMIS measurement software to CAM Software and machine tools, pairing unmatched measurement capabilities with 24/7 automation and feedback functionality in a dashboard that actively monitors the status of the measurements over multiple machine tools.

    • From simple to complex inspection tasks, Hexagon software can be used for all static path inspection tasks
    • Complete reporting and analysis capabilities
    NC Server provides edit-free, integrated manufacturing and inspection NC-Code:
    • Create on-machine inspection G-code with EDGECAM, directly integrated with the machining code 
    • Produce clear CNC code that can be understood by the operator
    • Simulate in EDGECAM or in NCSIMUL
    • Store CNC Files on internal DNC or manage them in NC Server

  • Quality inspection

    During this stage, final inspection is done for the part produced using various metrology hardware devices and software to ensure the required quality of the product. 

    From hand tools to automated solutions, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) to portable measuring arms, laser trackers and optical scanners, Hexagon provides industrial metrology systems for when dimensional measurement matters as a part of quality inspection process.

    Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs)
    From entry-level to ultra-high accuracy and shop-floor optimised, Hexagon’s unparalleled CMM range drives quality and productivity for manufacturers.

    Multisensor and optical CMMs
    Multisensor CMMs deliver unparalleled flexibility by deploying the precision of tactile probing and the high-speed measuring point capture of non-contact measurement on a single system and within a single measurement run, making it simpler and faster to measure even the most complex parts.


    Large volume CMMs
    The largest gantry CMMs and horizontal arm CMMs require robust materials, a stable structure and high accuracy, whether on the production floor, in a production cell or in the measuring room.


    Laser tracker systems
    Laser tracker systems lead the field in terms of the accuracy, reliability and durability of portable coordinate measuring machines.

    Portable measuring arms
    Portable measuring arms allow quick and easy measurements directly in the manufacturing environment, where process improvements are the most beneficial.

    Structured light scanners
    Structured light scanner systems are comprehensive 3D optical measurement solutions that deliver high-accuracy data capture at high-speed for small-to-medium sized parts.

    Industrial 3D laser scanners
    Laser scanners play a key role in quality assurance. 3D digital capture of shapes and surfaces using lasers is an effortless and precise process. The industry uses laser scanners primarily for the quality control of geometries and surface, but also for reverse engineering, fit and finish, and assembly applications.
    Tube and wire inspection solutions
    Hexagon’s comprehensive range of tube and wire measurement systems delivers solutions tailored to a variety of applications in tube production.

    Hexagon also offers a wide range of in-house developed, individually customisable software packages that deliver intelligent and effective data acquisition, analysis and evaluation as well as powerful data management and reporting tools.

    CMM inspection software
    PC-DMIS can be the single metrology software solution across the shop floor. It is flexible, scalable, powerful and compatible with all kinds of metrology devices.

    Portable scanning and inspection software
    Whether scanning or probing with a portable arm or using a laser tracker, small or large-scale applications, Inspire and SpatialAnalyzer offer state-of-the-art inspection solutions.


  • Data analytics

    An image divided into four which represent data analytics

    Reliable quality data is a vital tool for process evaluation and control. The Q-DAS process control and analytics range from Hexagon provides software services for the efficient and reliable application of the statistical methods needed to set up a quality ratio system in industrial production. The portfolio offers:

    • Quality data management
    • Data acquisition and statistical process control on the shop floor to quality reports and dashboards on the top floor
    • Reporting based on industry standards, norms and guidelines
    • General production quality monitoring and dashboard tool
    • Complete quality solutions
    • Predefined evaluation strategies to ensure best practice
    • Automation of data flow, data analysis and visualisation
    • Modular and flexible offerings to align with customer requirements
  • Feedback to manufacturing


    During this stage, based on advanced analysis of statistical data collected through various measurements for the parts produced, feedback is provided to correct the manufacturing process, if needed. Hexagon’s Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) solution enables an automatic feedback loop for production.

    • IMC automates the calculation and execution of tool offset corrections to help optimise production processes
    • Using advanced statistical analysis of measurement data, IMC improves the dimensional quality of all features produced with a specific tool
    • This in turn has a significant impact on the reduction of scrap parts and in increasing overall productivity
  • Machine and equipment calibration


    Machine tools and metrology devices need to be calibrated at their recommended standard frequency to ensure consistency in manufacturing and quality control processes.

    Hexagon’s ETALON machine calibration systems use multilateration, a spatial measurement technique deployed by satellite navigation systems, to increase measurement speeds and ensure the highest levels of accuracy when calibrating, compensating and verifying machine tools and other industrial equipment. The speed and precision of multilateration means manufacturers can reduce measurement times by up to 80% compared to conventional laser interferometers, securing results in one to two hours instead of one to two days.

    The ETALON LASERTRACER-NG simplifies the calibration and monitoring of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and machine tools to offer unrivalled accuracy and cost-effectiveness.

    ETALON TRAC-CAL | TRAC-CHECK patented software helps to reduce the time spent on ensuring machine tools meet key international standards for precision. It uses a single self-tracking laser interferometer to make measurements more accurate and traceable, while reducing maintenance and recalibration costs.

  • Resource management

    It is important to monitor resources such as machine tools, CMMs and tooling in real time to ensure maximum utilisation as a part of the optimisation of the overall manufacturing process.

    Manufacturing Asset Management

    Hexagon’s solution for industrial IoT device monitoring enables manufacturers to monitor the performance, availability and health of manufacturing assets through Hexagon’s SFx platform. It is a real-time monitoring solution for CNC machines and CMMs and supports asset tracking to analyse performance and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). 

    Manufacturing Asset Management is designed to maximise overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and operational excellence indicators, either for a single device or for a set of systems, whether in real time or reporting over a period of time.

    The solution offers data and metrics including:

    • Real-time asset dashboard showing machine status
    • Real-time notifications of critical events
    • Real-time and historic event logging
    • Availability = Operating time / Scheduled time
    • Performance = (Programs executed x Ideal execution time) / Operating time
    • Quality = Programs successfully executed / Total programs executed
    • Quality = Acceptable jobs / Total jobs done

    FASYS provides efficient tool and operational resource management. Key capabilities include:

    • 2D/3D tool and resource management based on industry standards
    • Central data management with interfaces to major CAD/CAM systems and leading PLM/ERP systems 
    • Integration of tool storage, pre-setting and assembly data
    • DNC solution for all conventional CNC control units and pre-setting devices
    • Inventory management with integrated ordering and connection to storage systems or dispensers


  • Maintenance and repair operations


    It is important to proactively manage the maintenance of industrial equipment to achieve better operational efficiency and optimise maintenance costs.

    The Infor® EAM solution from Hexagon digitalises maintenance with built-in industry-specific capabilities for manufacturing. It helps organisations manage, track and analyse maintenance activities. Native mobile applications significantly improve field efficiency, providing the team with time to focus on more strategic initiatives. Key capabilities of the solution include:

    • Proactive management of maintenance actions to ensure control
    • Anticipation of preventive actions for efficiency improvements
    • Control of maintenance budgets to optimise profitability 
    • Measurement and evaluation to make informed decisions

Production Software

Offering a range of CNC simulation software, factory automation solutions and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD CAM) packages specified for different production methods, Hexagon’s production software solutions help manufacturers produce parts right first time.