Saturday, September 5, 2009

CAM helps the CNC Machines to perform best

CAM investment is helping Frazero produce luxury interiors for automotive icons such as the Bugatti Veyron, Spyker C8 and Bentley Continental GT. The control panel for a luxury motor launch Specialising in the design and production of low volume or concept interior and instrument panels for cars and boats, Frazero’s customer list for its highly customised dashboards, consoles and instruments sounds like a catalogue of luxury cars and boat makers. As well as producing elegant panels and interior fittings, the company manufactures all its own tooling and fixturing. Panel manufacture typically involves pressing and gluing layers of wood laminate together onto an aluminium substrate to achieve the desired finish and thickness. Frazero’s GibbsCAM system, supplied by Tech CAD/CAM, allows it to produce the geometries required to machine complex shapes in 3 and 5-axes. David Carlisle, Machine Shop Supervisor, says, “We have six GibbsCAM systems, four on the shop floor and two in an upstairs office where most of the 5-axis parts are programmed. Our operators do all their own programming on the system for both milled and turned parts. It is very easy to use and far quicker and more reliable than on machine programming, even for the most simple shapes.” Frazero has greatly improved its productivity through shop floor programming. Operators can programme jobs while the machine is running, and their machining experience ensures that the most appropriate methods are used. Frazero has 11 CNC machine tools, three 3-axis Mikrons, two 5-axis Mikrons, one Haas with trunnion capable of producing 5-axis parts, four 3-axis Cincinnati machining centres and one Geiss 5-axis router. The majority of new concept designs produced by the company are modelled in the CAM system however, for complex parts from companies like Bentley and Rolls-Royce, designs are imported in car line directly from CATIA. Farzero also uses Solid Works CAD software to provide additional design capacity for its customers. David Carlisle adds, “GibbsCAM has very powerful modelling capabilities which enable us to design and manufacture some very complex new concepts in one system. It also has tools which enable us to move imported CAD data from car line to suit our own datum, as well as surface patching tools to repair small gaps in the model. 50% of our work is 5-axis, which involves producing multiple forming, gluing and trimming tools in aluminium.” David Carlisle says, “We produce some extremely intricate parts, and because they are part of the interior trim, the finish must be flawless. We find that for the machined parts such as air vents or bezels, a quick polish is all that is required to produce the required quality.

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