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Japanese company Tomco has chosen WorkNC for its three- and five-axis programming.

Tomco machines complex parts such as power-train components for the automotive industry and hard and brittle parts for industrial machinery applications.

Haruki Matsui, general manager of the operations department, explained the reasons for looking for a new CAM system: ‘The CAM software we had at the time sometimes took an enormous amount of time to create NC code and we also needed a new system for our complex 3D machining requirements.

‘Our main criterion was that the new system must be easy and intuitive to operate.’ The company evaluated several CAM systems, which included performing cutting trials, and chose WorkNC for its ease of use and quality of cutterpaths.

Matsui added: ‘WorkNC’s toolpath-editing facilities were first class, enabling us to get exactly the cutterpath we wanted.’ Tomco had recently installed a five-axis machining centre, so the automated five-axis programming capabilities of WorkNC were also an important benefit.

Not only did Tomco simplify its three and five-axis programming, but it also achieved some critical lead-time reductions.

Matsui said: ‘A job that took three hours on our old CAM system can now be completed in five minutes with WorkNC.

‘It has helped us to maximise our productivity and profitability by enabling us to handle more work faster.

‘We can also utilise our resources more effectively, spending extra time on other functions and on improving our operational efficiency.’ To demonstrate its technological capabilities, Tomco used WorkNC to machine a scale model of a Kabuto, the ornate helmet worn by Samurai warriors.

Collaborating with Sescoi, Tomco engineers commenced with a 3D scan of an original Kabuto, which was then manipulated in Catia V5 ready for machining in WorkNC.

Starting from a solid block they used the software’s powerful roughing, semi-finishing and finishing routines in three-axis and five-axis to reach deep inside the part with the shortest and most rigid cutters possible.

The finished helmet now often takes pride of place on Sescoi’s booth at leading industry shows, a testament to the power of the software and the skills of the Tomco engineers.

Tomco particularly likes the automatic toolpath creation and interactive toolpath editing in WorkNC.

Matsui said: ‘Prototype parts demand rapid delivery and the speed of program preparation has enabled us to cut lead times from one week to two days.’ Other features that Tomco finds especially useful include the analysis function, which colour codes radii so that the right tools can be selected from the tool library; the dynamic cross section and semi-transparent part views, which make it easy to examine complex parts; and the 3D stock model, which eliminates unnecessary retract and air-cutting moves.

Handling large and complicated CAD files is a daily task at Tomco, so WorkNC’s ability to achieve error-free import of data is very important.

Matsui added: ‘WorkNC manipulates even very large files, such as the one we imported when machining the Kabuto helmet, very rapidly and without any problems.

‘With other CAM systems we have had problems selecting surfaces and profiles.

‘This is not the case with WorkNC, which allows us to operate smoothly every time.

‘Since we installed it we have been able to greatly increase the amount and range of complex 3D machining we can undertake, it has definitely enabled us to win more business.’

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