Thursday, August 17, 2017

Precision Machinery Maker Verifies Innovative Programs

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 operators can trust what’s being put out. NCSimul really helps with our first runoff.”

Bretting employs NCSIMUL on three CNC machines: A five-axis machining center, a gantry machining center with a 3+2 rotary head, and a second gantry machining center. The three machines are the ones most used for “off the wall, tight tolerance work,” Moran said.

Initiating the verification process is quick and simple, according to Moran. When part models, fixturing, and tooling are defined in the CAD/CAM program, the information can be directly selected and exported to NCSIMUL. After adjusting for details such as the position of the part on the table and various clearance aspects, the operator can load the CAD/CAM program and begin verification.
NCSIMUL also 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. “You do get a much better sense of when a job is going to be done and off the table,” Moran said. In some cases the software can be an aid to constructing accurate quotes, but the nature of the production scheduling at Bretting means that the software isn’t normally used that way, especially when making parts for the company’s product lines, Lizak said, “Usually it’s ‘okay guys, we have to have this out the door today.’"

It is difficult to quantify savings that can result from incidents that the software prevents from occurring. However, 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.”
Moran concluded that the 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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  1. Under CNC Machining, machine tools function through numerical control. A computer program is customized for an object and the machines are programmed with CNC machining language (called G-code) that essentially controls all features like feed rate, coordination, location and speeds.

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