Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM gives Rimstock speed, quality and flexibility
Using Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM software has helped wheel manufacturer, Rimstock, boost its production to over 350,000 wheels per year, while maintaining the company’s reputation for high quality and rapid delivery times. Both are essential for Rimstock’s customers in the motorsport and luxury-vehicle markets.
Rimstock is based in West Bromwich near the centre of the UK’s automotive industry, with subsidiaries in Germany, France and the USA. The company has grown rapidly by developing a world-leading facility for the production of forged aluminium alloy wheels, alongside its high-volume business in cast alloy wheels. This combination of manufacturing techniques has enabled the company to expand into a wider range of markets.
"We have been able to spread our sales across different markets – racing, high-performance cars and speciality vehicles – to help expand the business,” explained Rimstock Marketing Manager, Matt Neal. "These are all niche markets that value high quality and the fast response we can provide.”
The use of forged aluminium gives a combination of high strength and low weight. While this has obvious benefits for Rimstock’s motorsport customers, it has also been essential in developing applications for military vehicles. The 30% weight reduction in the wheel that is possible extends the life of the suspension system and means that the vehicle is able to carry a heavier payload.
Rimstock has used two seats of PowerMILL for all of its CAM programming for the last four years. Andrew Colbourne, Forge Shop Manager, had previously had programs prepared externally for his machines or subcontracted out the machining work completely.
The move to PowerMILL was prompted by Rimstock’s purchase of its first five-axis machine, a Haas VF5, five years ago. The company now has six five-axis Haas machines that are used mainly for finish machining, plus three Doosan machines for finer three-axis work. It has kept its six older Cincinnati three-axis machines but these are now used mainly for roughing.
"All our programming and machining is now completed in-house, which gives us much more control over scheduling and quality,” commented Mr. Colbourne. "We use CATIA and Pro/E for design but have never had any problems in importing the data into PowerMILL.”
Mr. Colbourne chose the Delcam software after a visit to the company’s Birmingham headquarters. "None of the other suppliers had anything that could compare with the support that Delcam could offer,” he remembered. "We already knew that Delcam had a good reputation, plus it is close to our site.”
Constant improvements in PowerMILL over the intervening years have convinced Mr. Colbourne that it was the correct decision. "PowerMILL gives us exactly what we need,” he said. "It allows us to get a level of finish from the mills that was previously only possible by grinding. In addition, you can edit the leads and links so that the five-axis transitions can be positioned in areas of the surface that won’t be visible.”
"We have been able to achieve much lower cycle times by moving to five-axis machining, while Delcam and Haas have worked together well to solve any problems we have experienced.”
"We have also benefited by replacing the use of electrodes with direct machining. This change saves us the cost of graphite as well as the time needed to manufacture the electrodes.”
16 May 2013