Delcam’s CADCAM software gives toolmaker a competitive advantage
FlexMax is a toolmaker with some 40 employees, located in Venray in the Netherlands. The company makes the complete range of progressive press tools, including cutting, bending and drawing tools, as well as dies. FlexMax works mainly for automotive industry customers like BMW, Daimler-Benz, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo and Opel, but it also has clients in other sectors, such as the office furniture and packaging industries.
While FlexMax had used CADCAM for some years, it had had regular difficulties with importing IGES files. Sometimes the surfaces were so damaged that the software just crashed during importing. "It took hours to get surfaces correctly imported into our previous software,” remembered Plant Manager, Frank Hubers.
"We also needed better capabilities to design free-form surfaces when we had to re-design the component model to give the tooling design,” he added. "Then, we wanted to develop better cutting strategies, in a quick and flexible way.”
For the benchmark, Mr. Hubers selected software at three price levels – a "high-end” system, a budget software and the Delcam programs. "The "high-end” software was a total disaster on the free-form surfaces,” he recalled. "We gave an example of our work to the company’s "specialist CAD designer”. After one and a half hours sweating, he was totally confused and couldn’t get any further. Then, the "specialist CAM demonstrator” couldn’t produce the cutting paths we were asking for.”
"Next, we tried a cheaper system. The operator couldn’t produce the smooth surfaces we needed to blend from one section of the model to another and the flexibility of the toolpaths was way below what we wanted. Post-processing the files took far too long on both systems.”
"The Delcam demonstration was a complete contrast. We took an IGES file of a BMW part with us for the test. Importing the data was no problem; it was done successfully in a moment. The smooth surface that had proved so difficult in the other software was created within a minute. The demonstrator then suggested other solutions and convinced us of the power and the flexibility of the system. Then, we took the part into PowerMILL and created all the roughing and finishing paths we needed within 45 minutes. Also, the post-processing was done in seconds.”
Since working with the software, FlexMax has had no more problems in importing data or creating the surfaces it needs. "We can generate all the toolpaths for virtually any of our work within 45 minutes, including the post-processing time,” said Mr Hubers. "For Flexmax, Delcam software has been the right decision and has given us a big advantage against our competitors.”