Software that Helps Production at Every Turn
Precision Manufacturing Solutions Inc. in Biddeford, Maine, is the poster child for accurate, sophisticated manufacturing. The company, certified to ISO 9001:2008, AS9100, and ISO 14395, serves the medical, aerospace, and military industries by providing unrivaled precision in machining.
All of Precision Manufacturing Solutions’ products are defined by extremely tight tolerances. While true positioning may be in the thousandths of an inch, some tolerances are within 50 millionths of an inch. Everything in Precision Manufacturing Solutions’ shop is tailored to accuracy, from the climate-controlled environment to the specialized Mazak machines. Some machines even use special coolants for working with magnesium, which sets Precision Manufacturing Solutions apart as one of the few shops that can work with the volatile element.
Precision Manufacturing Solutions was recently contracted to make housings for complex military lenses. The component’s machining process not only required a wide variety of end mills, it necessitated tipping these tools about 30 degrees along both the Z and B axes. Cutting at this angle imposes extra stress on the parent material and can lead to the material deforming and moving underneath the tool.
Process Engineer at Precision Manufacturing, Shaun McAlevey, relies on Mastercam’s sophisticated features to handle these situations, especially Dynamic Motion™ Technology, Swarf, Curve, and Parallel.
Before machining even begins, though, McAlevey can check for any errors in the code with the simulation capabilities of Mastercam Mill-Turn. Mill-Turn gives programmers a more comprehensive view of the multiaxis milling toolpath by including the tool motion in the simulation.
“You are seeing a machine environment that looks exactly like it does on the floor when you are running the job. I save a day or two when programming jobs just by using Mill-Turn,” said McAlevey.
Pedro Sanchez of CNC Software Inc. explained, “Mill-Turn now has Machine Simulation integration. Customers can see the 3D model inside the product. You can sync channels and also lock channels in so that one thing will happen first and then the second things will happen.”
With Dynamic Motion Technology, or Dynamic Milling, McAlevey can be sure that there will be no collisions or gouges during machining. Dynamic Milling’s proprietary algorithms constantly monitor the material for the slipping and warping that have been issues previously.
When these problems arise, Dynamic Motion adjusts the angle and speed of cut so that mistakes are avoided. “We’re keeping the chip load exactly the same. We can cut very precisely, keeping the thickness of the chip consistent throughout the cut. This helps the part release stress more evenly,” said McAlevey, “Dynamic is a game changer.”
McAlevey also uses Dynamic’s OptiRough toolpaths to quickly and safely remove greater amounts of material in the early stages of machining. The feature uses bi-directional cutting strategies, pairing step-downs (-Z) with step-ups (+Z) to rough components at a fraction of the conventional cycle time. Precision Manufacturing Solution’s 9-axis machine now runs at 300 inches per minute, which would have been impossible before OptiRough.
Mastercam ensures short cycle times, accurate cuts, and collision-free machining. Even after the part is made, its code can continue to save Precision Manufacturing Solutions time, as toolpaths can be saved for future use. McAlevey finds pride in the changes the software has brought to the company recently and looks forward to pushing its success even further.
You can learn more about Precision Programming’s use of Mastercam Mill-Turn in the Modern Machine Shop article From-Scratch CNC Post Processor Lets Dual Toolhead Mill-Turn Shine.
The article is also available in Spanish from Modern Machine Shop – México.