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Expert Tooling and Automation, part of the Expert Tooling Group, has invested in WorkNC CAM/CAD software from Sescoi to ensure trouble-free machining of 3D tooling.

Expert Tooling and Automation is a specialist in producing various tooling and automated special purpose machinery for the production of automotive, machine tool and aerospace products.

One area where Expert Tooling and Automation has been successful is in the development of interior trim panels for low-volume luxury vehicle manufacturers in which complex 3D tooling is required for the accurate location of the veneer laminates prior to bounding onto a substrate, and to also hold the component during the trimming of apertures and excess material.

Expert Tooling and Automation has the skills necessary to produce a complete solution for these applications at its Coventry factory.

These include designing and machining of its tools and fixtures, specialisation in pneumatics to build the clamping and operating mechanisms, and expertise in electronic technology to ensure the overall control and safe operation of the special-purpose machines it supplies.

All the tools produced include 3D shapes, which need to exactly match the surface forms of the panels its customers have designed.

WorkNC accepts native CAD data and quickly translates car line designs to the desired machine datum ready for machining.

Just one seat of WorkNC keeps Expert Tooling and Automation’s six Hurco machines running 24 hours per day.

As part of its turnkey service to one particular luxury vehicle manufacturer, the company supplies multi-cavity trimming fixtures and the associated five-axis WorkNC trimming program for finishing the parts on the customer’s own machinery.

‘The vacuum fixture we supply contains a complete set of panels for one car, which suits the customised nature of the vehicle and the relatively low volumes,’ said Simon Doleman, manufacturing manager.

‘Sescoi worked with us to optimise the five-axis trimming programs, enabling us to deliver a complete and proven solution to our customer,’ he added.

Expert Tooling and Automation organises its WorkNC programs to maximise its machine utilisation and minimise risk.

Programs are written so that roughing operations are completed during the day shift and the long finishing operations overnight and at weekends, when the factory operates on a skeleton staff.

‘Roughing is higher risk as tips may need to be changed, while the finishing operations produced by WorkNC never give us any problems,’ said Doleman.

‘The latter can be successfully run unattended out of normal working hours.

‘Operators already manage more than one machine during the day, so the unmanned working means we achieve nearly 100 per cent machine utilisation while eliminating the majority of our labour costs, which makes us very competitive.

‘We have set up all the feeds and speeds for hard steel, aluminum and wood, which makes it easy to select the right cutting conditions.

‘We have also noticed that WorkNC produces smooth cutting trajectories with very little wasted movement, and its graphical toolpath editing is fast and efficient and ensures that we are always climb milling.

‘When we visit our customers we sometimes see our competitors tooling; the surface finish on ours is far superior,’ he added.

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