TURNING DESIGNERS INTO MACHINISTS
“Since we have adopted this new software, staff with little machining experience can be trained to use the software in a day,” claimed Turner. “Even more importantly, this software is so intuitive that they can come back to it after a two-month gap and are still able to use it.”
“We have set up our system with the standard tooling package that we use on the Nexus machine tools and we have added in the speeds and feeds appropriate for our range of materials; this has made the system almost completely automatic,” remarked Allen. “Some of our designers have no experience selecting tooling or feed rates, all things that come with experience, but with this software that doesn’t matter because the system makes all the tooling choices for you,” added Turner.
After the success with this new system, Renishaw engineers began using PowerSHAPE CAD software for prototype tooling. “Most of the plastic parts are fairly small and we only need a few examples, so we developed a system where new inserts could be used in the same tool assembly,” stated Allen. “With PowerSHAPE, we can quickly develop the core and cavity from the part design and then machine the shapes into our standard inserts with the new software.”
The benefits to Renishaw have come from a shortening of the overall development cycle since prototype parts can now be produced in a day or two. The designers have more freedom to experiment because these shorter lead times mean novel ideas can be investigated more quickly. Furthermore, because the designers must think about manufacturing at an earlier stage in the development cycle, it is easier to convert from prototype quantities to full-scale production.
The only problem has been for the rapid prototyping team: Whereas the machine tools were usually available before, now the demand from the designers has now grown so much that the team’s own engineers often can’t get access to them.
Delcam plc, Small Heath Business Park, Birmingham, B10 0HJ, UK, 44 (0)121 683 1081, www.delcam.com.
Renishaw plc, New Mills, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire GL12 8JR, United Kingdom, +44 1453 524111, Fax: +44 1453 524102, www.renishaw.com.
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