CGTech Simulation software provides confidence to run unmanned

Author / Editor: Simon Simmons / Barbara Schulz

UK/ Hungary – When a Hungary-based tooling company was looking to run night shifts unmanned to increase capacities they turned to CG Tech to invest in the company's CNC simulation and verification software to ensure their CNC machines' safety, minimising the risk of a crash.

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A Vericut model of a 5-axis machine tool.
A Vericut model of a 5-axis machine tool.
(Source: CGTech)

Established in 1993, Euroform is a family-owned company based in a modern 50,000 ft2 facility in Budapest, Hungary. As well as producing mould tools to “print” the engineers at Euroform also have the skills and knowledge to design and manufacture mould tools based on component models – CAD based models as well as 3D prototypes, the injected material specification and the quantities required over the expected life of the project. Typically for the automotive industry they mostly run in the millions of cycles over three to four years, so quality is paramount.

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Demand from customers has grown in parallel with the company’s reputation for producing high quality tools, which has required investment in additional capacity. As Managing Director Krisztina Kovesi-Zwick points out: “We have invested in our facilities, the very latest CAD/CAM software, CNC machining technology and the capability of our staff. Unfortunately, we have an extreme shortage of experienced engineers here in Budapest so we have to use the resources we have to the maximum.”

“That means operating our machine tools overnight, preferably without any engineering support. To successfully achieve this we knew we had to put some protection in place, to minimise the risk of the machine tools crashing or gouging the material being machined to produce the cavity of the mould tool.”

Verification software as vital protective link

Having seen a demonstration of CG Tech’s independent CNC verification, simulation and optimisation software Vericut, the company was convinced that it would provide the vital protective link in the production process. The complex geometry being machined combined with the accuracy and finish required results in extremely long NC programs, and the production methodology at Euroform is to complete the machining in as few operations as possible. One set-up is the ultimate goal, but no more than two if a single operation is unachievable. Of course, the complexity and length of the NC program does increase the opportunities for errors.

Vericut software takes the post processed NC code from Delcam Power-Mill and simulates the machining operations. “Prior to using Vericut we would run a few hours into the night with reduced cutting data and engineering support on overtime. However, it was always a worry that has now been removed by the software. We can confidently run the machine tools through the night and on weekends. Before Vericut we would run machines 2 or 3 hours after closing time, but now they can run through Friday night to Monday morning. It is a huge step. With a growing order book and scarce resources we always have to look for such efficiency gains. Not only does Vericut provide protection for our extended running, it also runs overnight as well to simulate and verify the next batch of work. Although simple programs are written at the machine controller, our plan is to only run NC programs that have originated from the CAM system that have been proven safe by Vericut,” Krisztina Kovesi-Zwick explains.