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Three votes for PC-based CAD/CAM.

Three votes for PC-based CAD/CAM

As companies seek ways of maintaining their competitiveness, low-cost PC-based CAD/CAM software is providing an edge for three companies supplying complex parts to the aerospace industry.

C&C Craft, Gardena, CA, has 10 CNC machines, including an SNK five-axis machining center with Fanuc 11M control. Says Al Cruz, president, "That five-axis machine required upgrading our programming ability. Our language-based system couldn't handle five-axis simultaneous motion. We purchased Unimod CAD/CAM because it did everything we wanted at a cost less than one-third of other systems."

IBM DOS-based Unimod CAD/CAM has features previously available only on higher-priced Unix workstations. These include: multiple views, integrated CAD, user-defined part and symbol libraries, solid modeling, shading, hidden-line removal, and automatic generation of cross-sectional views through any 3D part slice.

Adds C&C programmer George Marshall, "With the click of a mouse button, I set roughing parameters for pocketing, ramp-in moves, retract moves, and stock values for finishing cuts. I can then animate the tool and display its path on the screen before writing the NC program. With multiple views, I can usually get it right the first time. There's virtually no waiting. Complex multiaxis cuts on surfaces are generated in seconds. Compared to our old language-based system, time savings of 900% would not be an exaggeration!"

Martinic Engineering is a small job shop in Stanton, CA, focused on reducing machining setups of complex aerospace castings. One machining center that is particularly good at this is a five-axis Maho with both horizontal and vertical spindles and a tilting rotary table. "When we evaluated CAD/CAM systems," says Tony Martinic, owner, "we wanted to first see that software run our Maho. Our distributor successfully did that, programming an impeller with Unimod software, using five-axis simultaneous cutting with a tapered ball end mill. We now use this software for programming our other CNC machines, and it has turned out to be a great value for the money."

To reduce the time it takes to go from design drawing to mold, a New Jersey investment casting firm, Tec-Cast, also uses Unimod CAD/CAM software. "It has enabled us to cut in half the amount of time it takes to go from design to finished part," notes Cary Bakos, tooling manager. "We can visualize a part without having to create a prototype, and show both our customer and our shop personnel what the part will look like. Once we define a part's surfaces, we're ready to machine the die."

Since several Tec-Cast customers provide the company with formulas that define complex surfaces, Mr Bakos recently developed a facility for converting these formulas into a file of X-Y coordinates that Unimod can use to automatically generate the surface. "Once you have defined a surface, you have a CNC file. To create a tool path, you just specify the tool, accuracy, and path parameters. In less than a minute, you can display the tool path for visual verification or analysis before you start cutting."

When Tec-Cast added CNC controls, this yielded a 30% time savings. With the addition of Unimod software, the company has achieved an additional 80% improvement, along with improved machining accuracy and the ability to deal with changes.

For more information from Unimod, circle 162.

PHOTO : At Tec-Cast, Cary Bakos has cut in half the time it takes to go from design to finished part.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Solutions; computer aided design, computer aided manufacture
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Job shop puts profit in single part orders.
Next Article:TBC improves quality.

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