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Adaptive control optimizes production.

Ending a three-year search, Peugeot Citroen Industries (PCI), the French car manufacturer located in Meudonla-Foret, France, has found a way to enhance productivity and tool utilization in the production of molds and dies for automobiles. Patrice Kerjean, head of operations at GIE Tooling, PCI's technical management department, tested several systems before selecting OptiMil from OMAT Control Technologies, Jerusalem, Israel.

"For three years, we have felt a real need for systems that could increase our productivity in tool manufacturing and protect our tools and workpieces," says Mr Kerjean.

PCI is currently using 18 OptiMil adaptive control systems to produce molds and dies for automobiles at production facilities in France. Using OptiMil, rough machining time has been reduced by 15% to 30%, tool breakages have been virtually eliminated, and productivity has increased because operators are now free to perform new tasks.

OptiMil is used in the milling and drilling of hard and soft materials. Typical of these is rough milling, especially when material hardness and workpiece surface vary considerably, such as in die, mold, toolmaking, and any 3D applications.

Claude Tonnot, technical services project manager at PCI Sochaux explains the interest in adaptive controls. "At PCI, our dies and tools are produced in small batches. Large workpieces require several days of rough machining of the castings which generally have considerable extra material to be removed. Adaptive control is ideal for such rough milling jobs."

Michel Jocteur-Monrozier, methods engineer at PC! says his company tested two OptiMil systems for three months at the Sochaux and Rennes plants. based on initial results, other production units were equipped with OptiMil as well. He reports a time savings of approximately 15% in rough milling and the elimination of tool breakages.

OptiMil's built-in expert system prevents workpiece damage when strong resistance is felt. When such extreme load conditions are reached, OptiMil stops the machine if necessary to avoid damaging the cutting tools, workpiece, or machine. OptiMil also records performance data for each tool used during cutting.

Regarding installation, Claude Tonnot, who supervised setup of the OptiMil system recalls: "Immediately following the OptiMil installation, the user was able to key in the application-related parameters. And with the OptiMil connected to our house computer, we are able to introduce the tools from our tool library to OptiMil and share definitions of tool type, dimensions, and material characteristics."

For more information from OMAT Control Technologies, Jerusalem, Israel,
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Title Annotation:Peugeot Citroen Industries
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1998
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