CAD/CAM system proves perfect route to production

Bombardier Aerospace Belfast in Northern Ireland needed to replace an aging CAM system that ran the company's CNC routing machines.

Jetcam Expert links to Bombardier's routing-machine production-control system and allows inputting orders electronically, reduces programming time, saves material, and speeds part manufacturing.

Bombardier Aerospace Belfast in Northern Ireland needed to replace an aging CAM system that ran the company's CNC routing machines. The system's limitations had grown increasingly unacceptable, but costs quoted for enhancing it as required were prohibitive. In addition, the shop wanted to run a Shoda TR stack router in conjunction with a high-speed routing cell, which would have further increased the necessary enhancements and involve the cost of a new post processor.

After benchmark testing several CAD/CAM systems, Bombardier installed Jetcam Expert from Jetcam International. With batch processing and Automatic Form Nesting function, the system links to the shop's production-control system and allows inputting orders electronically, reduces programming time up to 90% as compared with the old system, saves material, and speeds part manufacturing.

Programming reduction comes mostly from the software's automation features. Complex parts that used to take 10 min to generate are now done in under 2 min, and NC code is immediately available for two routers as opposed to one.

Jetcam delivered system enhancements that, according to Drew McCoubrey, CAD/CAM leader at Bombardier, exceeded the company's expectations, especially in automatic auxiliary routing. Originally, the shop requested that automatic auxiliary routing eliminate manually placing each path on a part, which was required with the old system. Jetcam met the request and took it a step further by developing the logic so that auxiliary paths would not be placed around tooling tabs requiring subsequent removal. This upgrade saves Bombardier 30 sec/part for a 166-hr savings when the shop's total number of parts is considered.

Bombardier subscribes to an annual maintenance contract, which yields additional savings. As a result of this contract, the shop received an enhancement that lets it analyze each individual machining operation. Thus, it can uncover possible cost reductions by breaking down tool data to detail how many holes/inches have been cut and how much travel is involved for each tool. "One of the clearest benefits of switching to Jetcam is inexpensive maintenance," comments McCoubrey. "We're saving 50% annually."
jetcam.com

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