July 18, 2012 - Bharat Forge Limited (BFL), the flagship company of the $2.4 billion Kalyani Group, is a true world leader when it comes to delivering innovative auto-component solutions.
Since commencement of operations in India in 1966, BFL has achieved several milestones and is today among the largest and technologically most advanced manufacturer of forged & machined components. As one of India’s emerging multinationals, the company has manufacturing operations across nine locations and six countries – 2 in India, 3 in Germany and one each in Sweden, Scotland UK, USA & China. Its customers include the top five Passenger Car & top five Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers in the world. The list includes virtually every automotive OEM and Tier I companies.
BFL uses advanced CADCAM software for designing, modeling, toolpath generation, and to constantly review and optimize their tooling manufacturing process. In 1994, it conducted numerous benchmark studies with various CADCAM solutions before selecting WorkNC. During the evaluation studies, WorkNC was able to reduce the programming times for roughing toolpaths by half and, with the quality of its roughing and 3D contour machining, to significantly reduce overall machining times. In 2010, BFL introduced WorkNC’s Auto 5 module for the 5-axis machining of turbine blades.
WorkNC has drastically reduced roughing program preparation times at BFL and, along with its automatic documentation generation, has saved the company a significant amount of effort. According to BFL, the savings in administration, programming and machining times have produced numerous benefits and cost savings.
WorkNC’s efficient toolpaths, powerful toolpath editing tool and its tool library are features that BFL’s Expert Tooling & Automation department greatly appreciates. A department spokesman said: “ We have set up all the feeds and speeds for different steel materials, 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”.
The Expert Tooling & Automation Department organizes its WorkNC programs to maximize machine utilization and minimize risk. Programs are written so that roughing operations can be completed during the day shift and the longer finishing operations overnight, “ Roughing is higher risk as tips may need to be changed, while the finishing operations produced by WorkNC never give us any problems. 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 80% to 90% machine utilization while reducing our labor costs, which makes us very competitive.”
BFL has a big set up of CNC and HSM machines with around 15 CNC and 30 HSM machines. For such a large capacity, every day toolpaths for a minimum of 35 elements were needed to be prepared daily and these kinds of volumes were achieved only with WorkNC.
According to BFL, “ WorkNC is always able to machine parts without any gouges or dig marks. Toolpaths are also optimized as shorter cutters can be used, instead of long overhangs. This increases tool life and improves the end quality of tooling. WorkNC has proved to us how simple it is to use, how easily it can mill cavities with numerous surface features, and the high quality of the toolpaths it produces.”
WorkNC’s reliable collision detection and avoidance are important features for BFL, particularly when programming complex jobs.
BFL describes the WorkNC CAD-CAM system’s strengths as follows:
- Fluid and progressive tool paths designed for High Speed Machining
- Dynamic 3 and 3+2 stock management (real time updating of toolpaths)
- Complete tool and holder collision check with automatic stock update
- Powerful toolpath editor • Powerful tool and holder library (holder components managed)
- Automatic HTML workshop documentation • User predefined machining sequences for automatic machining
- Machining from STL files and point clouds
- Batch mode calculations
- Auto 5 strategy to automatically convert 3-axis tool paths into simultaneous 5-axis tool paths making the toolpath generation process very simple
- Powerful and optimized CAM tool paths.