Milling Bringing ideas into shape even more effectively
The first compact gantry milling machine from Fooke's new Endura 400 Linear series has been producing high-precision casting moulds in Pentas Moulding's own mould shop since the beginning of 2023. The purchase of this machine is a first for both companies.
Pentas Moulding is using Fooke's advanced milling technology to save 50 percent of machining time in the production of aluminium moulds. The Dutch company is one of the most modern and advanced companies in Europe in the field of rotational moulding of plastic products. Its machinery includes eleven rotational moulding machines and eight milling machines. Since its foundation in 1975, Pentas has regarded innovative technology as fundamental to the optimal supply of customised plastic products. The team consists of 130 professionals with a passion for technology and the whole process. The dedicated team oversees the entire process. From design, mould making, casting and finishing to logistics such as delivery from stock and customised packaging. Naturally, all processes are ISO:9001 compliant. A major benefit of this approach is Pentas' flexibility and ability to offer bespoke solutions, even for urgent orders.
The Pentas team use their new Fooke 5-axis gantry milling machine to achieve the required surface quality in the production of aluminium moulds for rotational moulding. This gives Pentas, as an experienced rotational moulding specialist, a leg up. At Pentas, complex aluminium moulds are manufactured from the planning stage through to design and the creation of milling programmes. A modern milling machine, such as the one supplied by Fooke, is essential to achieve the required quality standards and excellent geometries. The new Endura 411 Linear opens up new possibilities and competitive advantages: large moulds no longer have to be manufactured and assembled in separate steps, but can now be produced in one piece. This not only provides a huge time advantage, but also gives Pentas a unique selling point in the industry. In addition, the company's many years of experience and expertise in this area also contribute significantly to reducing downtime.
Pentas uses rotomoulding to produce high-quality, customised plastic parts for a wide range of applications. These range from fuel tanks for the agricultural industry, to plastic body parts for commercial vehicles, agricultural and construction machinery, to containers for a wide range of industries.
In response to ever-increasing demands for surface finish and quality, Pentas has taken a strategic decision to invest in new innovative milling technology from Fooke: the Endura 400 Linear compact gantry milling machine. A modern 5-axis gantry milling machine, characterised by its excellent quality of motion control for the high-precision machining of demanding workpieces such as those manufactured by Pentas. To achieve these qualities, the structural components of this range of machines are manufactured as a trussed welded steel construction rather than from standard profiles as is often the case with simple, low precision machines. All linear axes are equipped with state-of-the-art linear motors, i.e. without mechanical drive elements such as ball screws or rack and pinion drives. The rotary axes have torque motors. All linear and rotary axes use direct measuring systems. It is precisely this combination of the best drive technologies and high quality measuring systems that enables a Fooke Endura 400 Linear to mill with significantly greater accuracy than other machines available on the market today, even at high machine dynamics. Pentas is now able to produce the CNC milled aluminium moulds with a much better surface quality. This also reduces regrinding by 90 percent.
Large machining area — foundationless installation
Pentas was impressed with the fact that the machine can be installed without a foundation and, despite its compact design and small footprint, offers a large machining area that is optimally designed for the moulds that Pentas machines. With travel speeds of up to 90 m/min, the Fooke Endura 400 Linear is one of the most advanced high speed milling machines available.
Another elementary factor in reducing machining times is an optimally coordinated milling process.
In order to reduce machining times and improve surfaces, a customised milling process is essential. Working with the Pentas team, Fooke's in-house Technology Centre analysed and evaluated the customer's specific requirements in order to make the process more efficient. The right milling strategy, the selection of the most suitable tools and the individual clamping technology in combination with the Endura milling machine complete this turnkey solution. It was always important to the Dutch company that the machine operators and programmers accept the machine and the process. They were therefore involved in all decisions from the very beginning.
In order to make the best use of the new high-speed milling machine with modern strategies and toolpaths, it was necessary to switch to more modern CAM software. For efficient applications, it is always important to consider the entire process of manufacturing a part, as the quality of the milling programmes is also crucial. Pentas looked at several CAM solutions and chose Work NC because of its ability to program complex geometries with little effort. The ability to detect tool holder collisions and then automatically eliminate them by changing the settings in the software was also impressive.