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WorkNC CAD/CAM software from Sescoi has formed an important part of the process chain optimisation at Babilon, based in Breuberg, Germany.

The company specialises in the manufacture of injection moulds and die casting tooling for the automotive industry, as well as the machining of pump impellers.

Babilon realised that urgent productivity improvements were required in its electrode programming and graphite milling operations.

Jochen Babilon, director, said: ‘To meet the deadlines and quality requirements of our customers we need a continuous flow of data through the factory.

‘Starting with the imported 3D CAD models, we add draft angles, create documentation and detailed drawings, and follow the process right through to the finished tool.’ To manufacture mould inserts, Babilon needs roughing and finishing electrodes for each shape as well as mirrored versions for each opposite hand.

Babilon added: ‘Our existing CAM system required us to write four similar programs to machine each mirrored pair of electrodes.

‘We wanted to be able to automatically extract the four programs directly from the CAD model.’ Within two days of the installation of WorkNC, Babilon was generating its own programs.

‘The software is easy to use and we were able to create roughing, finishing and mirrored versions of each electrode with little effort, including the associated machining toolpaths,’ said Babilon.

The company produces around 400 electrodes every month, so the time saving in programming alone is considerable.

On the strength of WorkNC, the company invested in high-speed machining centres with pallet handling for graphite cutting, and used WorkNC’s multi-part machining (MPM) capabilities to optimise productivity.

MPM considers a complete pallet load of electrodes as one part, using each tool across all the electrodes on the pallet.

The software ensures collision-free cutterpaths as it moves across the job, and eliminates the many tool change operations that would otherwise be required.

Safety is paramount for Babilon, as operators cannot react quickly enough to prevent a collision on a high-speed machine.

MPM automatically determines a safe retract height above the tallest electrode, and the clear graphics enable the programmer to identify the slightest potential problem.

Jochen Babilon has expanded the use of WorkNC within his company.

‘I never need to concern myself about collisions with WorkNC, toolpaths always run safely,’ he said.

‘We now program all our graphite and steel machining with the software and we have recently started using it for our five-axis toolpaths.

‘Our machine operators can be assured of an error free cutterpath as long as they comply with the tool length specifications associated with the job.

‘All our collision avoidance is handled by WorkNC.’ Babilon has increased the level of its unmanned operation and can start a 40-hour machining operation during the weekend.

Since the installation of WorkNC, Babilon has been benefiting from Sescoi’s continuous software development program.

Improved stock handling and rest material detection, new scalable surface finishing toolpaths, and new CAD tools for plugging and extending surfaces have been particularly useful.

CAD model manipulation allows the user to measure features such as draft angles, radii and heights, while the single user interface makes it possible to edit both geometry and toolpaths, and simulate the results in the same environment.

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