Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system cuts costs and improves quality
Like most business owners, Erich Elendt, Co-Owner of Elba Tool Company, Inc., in Illinois, USA, is always looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. So it was a welcome breakthrough when recent improvements in PowerMILL allowed him to cut his costs by 15-20% and actually improve the quality of his finished product at the same time.
"Recent upgrades in our PowerMILL software have made a big difference in our process,” reported Mr. Elendt. "With the latest advances in software and cutting tool technology, we keep improving the way we make our dies. And with the support and training we get from our reseller, Cad Cam Systems, we can take full advantage of those software improvements.”
A recent job to produce a large complex die for a timing cover for atractor engine was a good case in point. "We were able to machine the entire die, including all the inserts and sub-inserts, with no EDM burning. Everything was milled to finish in one set-up, even the sides of the block,” he commented.
Using this streamlined process saved Elba Tool time and money, as well as reducing errors at every step. Mr Elendt continued, "Milling everything in one set-up saves man hours and improves accuracy. By eliminating the EDM process, we removed the time to program, cut, set-up and burn the electrodes. We’ve also saved the cost of the carbon and reduced polishing time. Overall, we reduced time and costs by 15-20%.”
An important part of the programming was the use of rest machining to clean up the corners around the ribs. Said Mr. Elendt, "Rest machining allows you to come in and just remove the extra material left in the corners. That saves a lot of time on a job with as many corners as this one.”
Another advantage of PowerMILL is the collision checking feature. By using the collision checker, programmers can optimise their cutting tool length without gouging the part. "Every little bit of length on a small diameter cutter makes a big difference on finish quality, tool chatter, and tool life,” explained Mr. Elendt. "On this job, we used .01” clearance to the holder and shank, and were able to cut the entire piece with no gouges and no welding.”
Since its founding in 1962, Elba Tool has blended cutting edge technology and old-fashioned service. Since the mid 1980s, the company has made die cast tooling exclusively. It operates in a 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art building in the Chicago area.
In 1997, Elba began working with Cad Cam Systems to improve their programming. Cad Cam Systems provided the software, support and training that Elba required. "Without PowerMILL, we couldn’t have made the jump to our new bigger facility. Our old software took too much time and made too many gouges,” said Mr. Elendt.