DP Technology Automated machining processes reduce programming, machining times

Author / Editor: Helene Horent / Barbara Schulz

France/USA – Combining smart methodology and efficient CAM software, die manufacturer MDL Europe has reduced programming and machining times. The France-based company specialises in the manufacture of die sets, blanks of punches and dies, punch retainers and special guiding elements.

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Prototype stamping tooling for a cross-piece used to form leaf reinforcements in the automotive industry.
Prototype stamping tooling for a cross-piece used to form leaf reinforcements in the automotive industry.
(Source: DPTechnology)

In order to adapt to changing customer needs and an increasing complexity of parts, MDL Europe has invested in multiple machines, new processes and programming in recent years. The production team is driven by 45 specialists in 3 and 5-axis production milling who are experts in high-speed machining. High-end machine tools such as large and small capacity CNC milling machines and machining centres with multiple kinematics complement the company's manufacturing expertise.

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In the past, MDL programmers worked with a well-known but closed programming software package which allowed no personalisation. Moreover, the company encountered coding errors for almost every part. With robust machine tools and expert production machining specialists MDL managers needed a global, easy-to-implement CAM solution capable of automating the machining process. After thorough investigations, MDL decided to go with Esprit CAM software from local distributor MHAC Technologies. “We quickly appreciated the suitability of the Esprit product with regards to our needs as well as the competences of the application engineers,” explains Vincent Bihr, technical director at MDL. “In only a few days, they installed the software, trained the programmers and generated the NC codes thanks to certified post-processors.”

MHAC Technologies located near Lyon, France continues to help MDL optimise the use of their Esprit CAM software, in particular for the development of elite post-processors and the implementation of specific software developments.

Programmers at MDL often deal with plate projects consisting of drilling, threading, reaming and pocketing. On these parts, Esprit CAM software has reduced both programming and manufacturing times. Since the architecture of Esprit is entirely open, MDL has automated its machining processes using the API interface (Application Programming Interface). With Esprit, the macros recognise the features being created in each CAD model. “For a die-holder requiring 30 hours of work, we required 25 hours of programming. Using Esprit, programming now only represents 30% of the workload," says Patrick Willemann, head of CAM at MDL Europe.

Improving rough-milling processes

During the manufacturing stage Esprit CAM software’s high-speed cutting strategy, Profitmilling improves rough-milling processes. Available with 2, 3, 4 or 5 axes, the strategy optimises the angle of engagement, the chip load, lateral cutting forces and the machine acceleration. At MDL, this cutting method has helped reduce machining times by up to 40% on certain parts. In addition, when MDL is producing large-scale and delicate cast-iron parts, a single error can have serious financial consequences. To eliminate potential financial manufacturing consequences Esprit provided a solution with its accurate and realistic simulation. “We make systematic use of the Esprit simulation module which provides a faithful reproduction on the screen of what will happen on the machine. This helps avoid collisions and tools being broken. We did not need to invest in a separate simulation software," Willemann explains.

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