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Computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) systems from Open Mind have helped aerospace subcontractor Atlantic Precision Engineering reduce processing times and improve productivity.

Colin Druett, Atlantic Precision’s senior programmer, said: ‘Back in 1999, our workload was growing in complexity and we were spending up to two to three days programming individual parts.

‘All of a sudden, we had a particular Formula 1 job that our CAM package just couldn’t produce.

‘Hurco, one of our machine tool suppliers, recommended Open Mind.

‘We quickly reviewed the package and acquired it within a matter of weeks.

‘It immediately resolved our problems and enabled us to spend more time on the shop floor as opposed to being in an office programming,’ he added.

After four years of production, Atlantic noted a further increase in its workload and the respective level of complexity.

Atlantic had an aluminium aerospace side-rail component that it found time consuming to program and it did not have the programming capacity.

As a result, Open Mind lent the Hampshire-based business an additional seat of Hypermill to process the job.

Atlantic then acquired its second seat in 2005.

The second Hypermill seat further improved productivity for the company, but a noticeable difference was made when Hypermill was used with the Matsuura MC800 that Atlantic acquired in 2004.

The Matsuura machine with five-axis capabilities was used for processing Atlantic’s complex five-axis parts.

Adrian Smith, Open Mind’s managing director, helped Atlantic to improve processing times with enhanced tool paths and strategies.

As the company ramped up its five-axis machining, a third Hypermill seat followed in January 2008 and this immediately worked with the company’s second Matsuura, a MAM72-63V five-axis machine with a twin-pallet facility that arrived shortly after.

The Matsuura was soon followed by a fourth Hypermill seat in May 2009 with full five-axis machining elements.

According to Druett, Hypermill’s collision detection function prevents mishaps.

The latest version of Hypermill has refined tool paths and ISO global orientation, keeping tool-path movement in one direction to deliver good surface finishes while generating the optimal tool path.

Peter Foskett, Atlantic Precision’s production engineer, said: ‘Hypermill allows me to insert fixtures and fittings into the program and this provides excellent visualisation and eliminates any possibility of collision to give 100 per cent confidence in the tool path and machining cycle.

‘Hypermill also has an “arbitrary roughing stock” cycle that takes a billet to near net shape with 2mm of stock left on the job.

‘This has been a saviour in terms of programming time in the office and cycle times on the machine,’ he added.

Open Mind Technologies

OPEN MIND Technologies AG is a leading developer of CAD/CAM software and postprocessors for designing and manufacturing complex moulds and parts. OPEN MIND offers an extensive range of products, from 2D feature-oriented solutions for milling standard parts through to software for 5axis simultaneous machining. With their hyperMILL software, which is used in the automotive, tool and mould manufacturing, mechanical engineering and aerospace industries, OPEN MIND Technologies AG is represented in all the important markets in Asia, Europe and North America.  

OPEN MIND’s solutions feature a user-friendly interface and the largest range of 2D, 3D and 5axis modules available to users. In addition, the company delivers a fully integrated product concept encompassing CAD solutions, plug-ins, interfaces and postprocessors that cover the entire manufacturing process from design to manufacture. We take our innovative ideas, long-time CAD experience and milling expertise and create technologically sound CAM strategies. OPEN MIND has made a name for itself internationally as a pioneer in innovative 5axis technologies. What makes OPEN MIND and its products special is the unique blend of computing and production expertise, experience and vision, and international character and individual service. This combination of qualities results in a constant stream of new ideas that help companies optimise their production processes.  

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