If any precision engineering company knows the vital importance of business software, it is Glasgow-based Castle Precision Engineering (awarded Manufacturer of the Year, in the UK). Having completely developed its own production control system the company knows exactly what it requires from any software package, and will only select the very best available when choosing any additional capability. This is why Castle Precision uses Vericut, supplied by CGTech, to verify the CNC code of every production job it runs.
The shop floor data capture capability of Castle Precision Engineering’s software is nothing short of phenomenal. Called ‘Castle Production Control System’ it encompasses all business activities, not just the shop floor but also the support functions as well – such as purchasing and goods in/out. It can track who is working on what, where it is being carried out, how the setup of the machine went, any scrap generated or engineering concessions that have been applied. Invoices, purchase history, delivery notes and even the list of cutting tools ordered and used for each job are tracked and recorded.
Haas UMC 750 Vericut Simulation
Employing more than 140 people the family-owned company is constantly investing in new machine tools for production, with a new grinder and two DMG Mori NMV 5-axis machining centres due this year.
All of the profit Castle Precision Engineering makes is re-invested into the business, as they have a far reaching view on where they want to be.
As well as aero engine parts from exotic materials, such as Udimet, Waspalloy, Inconel and titanium, Castle Precision Engineering also supports the oil & gas, defence, electronics and automotive industry sectors.
Makino 4th Axis Vericut Simulation
In a push to remove paperwork from the shop floor every machine is equipped with a twin screen PC. Using the production control software the machine operators can view the solid model of the part scheduled to be machined. If a solid model is not issued by the customer Castle Precision will produce one as it is required to run Vericut.
Castle Precision Engineering use Vericut throughout the factory and every production job they do has to go through the verification software. If Castle Precision Engineering are not provided with a solid model then they will create one rather than not use the Vericut software – it is an absolute necessity they say. And, this will become even more important as the company moves into 5-axis applications.
A Vericut movie file is also produced to show the method of manufacture. Original customer drawings are scanned in to the system for full traceability. These are ‘bubbled’ with annotation for the inspection operators to highlight how the part should be checked to generate a quality checking report. CMM data is also held by the system and any reason for rejection will stop parts being dispatched to the customer.
Information is supplied to the shop floor so operators can see the job and look at the drawings electronically, and they can also see the process. It is much easier to view a Vericut movie than go through the G code which is often 1000s of lines long. It is a vital tool for what they do.
TDM Solutions held a Vericut User Exchange event at the Sandvik Coromant Productivity Centre recently. The winner of the iPad lucky draw was Andrew Petersen from Cliffsway Engineering (left). He is with Tony Shrewsbury CGTech Territory Manager (centre) and Jim Plester Technical Sales Director at TDM Solutions (right)
The company’s strength is its skill level and ingenuity. For example, most of the machine tools are fitted with cameras in the working envelope so that their status can be viewed from anywhere in the facility. And, tool holders have 2D data matrix codes and are tracked on the shop floor to give the exact location of every tool. Via its own software, a full SPC programme running across the shop floor ensures process capability and control. It can run across families of parts and even by machine types or cells. It can predict issues on the shop floor and drive improvements.
Vericut is a fantastic piece of software and one of the few that does exactly what it says on the side of the tin, says Castle Precision Engineering. Castle Precision Engineering could not be more pleased with it. It works without bugs, which in Castle Precision Engineering’s experience is unusual. They say they would recommend it to anyone.
For more information on how Vericut can reduce scrap, prevent collisions or optimise your CNC machines to run faster contact TDM Solutions on 011 234 6019, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tdmsolutions.co.za. Local preferred CAM vendors Aztech, Intrinsys and Stillam can provide you with information on how to integrate Vericut into their CAM solutions.