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A manufacturer of high-integrity, high-precision components has demonstrated how it uses Edgecam CNC machining software to handle components from order to completion.

As part of a presentation to Rolls-Royce and Babcock about its 21st Century Supply Chain (SC21) processes, Swiftool Precision Engineering highlighted how important Edgecam software is to its business.

Managing director Stuart Handley said that as an SC21 company, Swiftool committed to achieving a revised working culture to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the supply chain, focussing on accreditation, development and performance.

‘Our continual sustainable improvement plan showed we needed to reduce machine setup times on the shop floor,’ he said.

‘We had operators using a number of systems including G-code programming and Edgecam.

‘When we moved to our new factory we set up a dedicated offline programming department and Edgecam was the natural choice for our standardised CNC system.

‘Previously, we had several occasions when a job would be programmed in G-Code on a Hardinge, and the next time that job came in the Hardinge was in use, so we had to reprogram the job again on a Haas.

‘But with Edgecam we only have to produce a CNC program once and it can be post processed to any machine we wish,’ he added.

Swiftool has a variety of four-axis milling machines and a mix of two- and three-axis lathes – machines with live tooling that can turn and mill – and a wire eroder.

They are all driven by Edgecam and are from a number of manufacturers, including Takisawa, Nakamura, Mazak, Haas, Hardinge, Elgamill and Charmilles.

And the latest addition is an 11-pallet horizontal Matsuura.

CNC programming supervisor Jon Hayle said that when he moved to Swiftool they were programming manually, online, on the machines.

‘I had used Edgecam in my previous job and chose it to take us forward here,’ he said.

‘We now use Edgecam Part Modeler, four-axis strategies and the mill/turn module.

‘The fact that we can use a four-axis simultaneous program instead of programming four features on four faces, one at a time, is extremely beneficial.

‘Some complex components could take two to three weeks to program manually, but using Edgecam saves 90 per cent of that time.

‘If I receive a basic 2D drawing from the customer, I model the part using Part Modeler.

‘If it requires four-axis milling Edgecam enables us to mill from all four faces on the component at once.

‘Before Edgecam, we had to target one face at a time.

‘Now we’ve got total consistency, using toolpaths created by the geometry on Part Modeler, and Edgecam’s simulator enables us to see any wrong moves or collisions at a glance before we start production.

‘Edgecam is a tool that gives us total control over inputting and outputting programs to the machines,’ he added.

Stuart Handley said that creating the programming department when moving to the new factory was a radical change.

‘But being able to post process an Edgecam program to any machine on the shop floor is much better for us; it saves so much time,’ he said.

‘The fact that Edgecam can drive all manufacturers’ machines across the full range of cutting technologies is absolutely vital for our shop floor efficiency,’ he added.

The company’s presentation to its clients included a number of slides featuring Edgecam screens, showing how Swiftool processes a component from order to completion using Edgecam.

It showed how the parts are modelled, how the toolpath is created, how it’s all checked to make sure everything works, the set-up sheets and then how it goes back to the office as proven.

Swiftool produces parts on a made-to-order basis, often backed up by long-term agreements, for the aerospace, defence, nuclear and oil and gas industries.

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