Product Details Supplier Info More products

Delcam’s Featurecam machining software has played a part in helping Vacuum Technologies (VTI) to supply the quality electromagnetic shielding on a wide range of plastic enclosures.

The software is used both to make components for VTI’s metallising process and to manufacture fixtures for the company’s cured-in-place gasketing service.

For over 15 years, VTI, which is located in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, has specialised in providing shielding for plastic enclosures, mainly for demanding military and medical applications.

The company uses a vacuum process to apply a thin aluminium film to the surface of the part.

This coating provides the electrical conductivity that is required and also gives good design versatility at a competitive cost.

An increasing number of the enclosures now come with display windows that are moulded into the part.

These need to be covered with masks during the metallising process to ensure that no metal gets onto the window.

Some years ago, VTI switched from metal masks to PVC.

The benefits are that the material is lighter, cheaper and can be machined more easily with no need for cutting oils.

At around the same time, the company started using Featurecam to program the machining of the masks.

The ease of use of the software was the most important attribute when it was chosen.

Scott Nicholson, fixture and tool design engineer, has been using Featurecam for three years.

He didn’t know much about machining or the software itself, but when he first started using the system, he was proficient in its use within three months.

The accuracy of the software was also essential.

‘The masks need to be very precise to ensure metal doesn’t get onto the window,’ said VTI president, Wil Fernandez.

‘A lot of cleaning up is needed if you get the metallising where you don’t want it.’ The programming speed that is possible with Featurecam is also important.

‘Every customer wants something different, so we need to make new masks for every project,’ added Fernandez.

‘They also want a quick service, especially because the metallising usually comes towards the end of the manufacturing process.’ Some of the components need multiple masks to cover over holes or caps on several tools for a larger run of parts.

In these cases, it is easier to mould the masks in an air-cured silicone resin than to machine them all individually.

Featurecam is an important part of the process as all the moulds are machined in PVC using programs generated in the software.

More recently, VTI added a gasketing service for its clients.

‘One of our metallising customers was sending our parts out for gasketing, so we decided to set up a sealing unit in-house,’ said Fernandez.

‘We use a special silicone filled with nickel to create the seals.

‘This material is applied onto the parts by robot.’ The fixtures that hold the parts exactly in position during this process are all produced with Featurecam.

Delcam supplies software and services that help manufacturing companies to maximise their profitability by increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing lead times. The company is the world's largest specialist supplier of computer-aided machining software, with its PowerMILL, FeatureCAM, Partmaker and ArtCAM programs making up the most comprehensive range of CAM systems from any developer.

This broad selection allows Delcam to offer a CAM system capable of machining virtually any product, in any material on any type of equipment. Delcam also develops product design, tooling design and quality control programs. The unique Tribrid Modelling approach to design incorporates solid modelling, surface modelling and triangle modelling in a single program, enabling complete design and reverse engineering projects to be undertaken without transferring data between software.

Delcam's Powerinspect offers fast, reliable comparison of parts, prototypes and tooling against CAD data on all types of inspection equipment and even on machine tools. This versatility has made it the world's leading hardware-independent inspection software. Related programs are available for checking machine tool set-up and part location. Delcam software is used in over 80 countries worldwide by around 40,000 organisations, from large multi-nationals to small sub-contractors, in industries including aerospace, automotive, dental, engineering, footwear, medical and toolmaking.

View full profile