Triune Precision Engineering was established in 1974 by Paul Davies and Graham Beech. The company now employs 33 people, working day and night shifts in its Malvern, UK, factory, equipped with some of the latest CNC machining technology. Triune specialises in the design and manufacture of high pressure dies for aluminium, magnesium, and zinc for motor industry customers, including BMW, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen and Rover.
Triune’s customers require just-in-time delivery and there is a constant need to reduce manufacturing lead-times. In late 2000, Triune decided they needed an additional CNC system and one which would speed up production. A key requirement was to increase speed and efficiency by introducing shop floor programming, partly because Triune had invested in high speed machine tools and to make the most of high speed machining, they wanted to optimise the CAM programming side.
The company investigated several suppliers and drew up a short list of three for evaluation. The criteria for a shop floor programming system were ease of use, speed and the generation of efficient toolpaths. Each supplier was invited onsite to machine a steel block as a benchmark. NC Graphics’ machining STRATEGIST was chosen because of the greater ease of use, savings in programming and cutting times, and the high quality of the moulds machined from it. “This was a highly practical test in which machining STRATEGIST came out well in front,” said Paul Davies, Managing Director, Triune Precision Engineering. “But we let the shop floor guys make the final decision, as they are the ones who have to use it and be happy with it.”
Since adopting machining STRATEGIST, Triune estimates productivity has improved by 15-20 percent, which stems directly from the savings in time spent programming the machines.
“We have been using machining STRATEGIST for 14 months,” said Paul Davies. “It is easier and more friendly to use than any other CNC software we have seen, and we can use it on the shop floor rather than have it in the design office, so any changes that do have to be carried out can be made very quickly.”
The cad operators can spend more time on other work, because the machine operator can now do the programming. When it was carried out in the CAD office, the code was sent down to the shop floor and there was a delay before it was used. If there were any problems requiring re-programming this would introduce further delays. With machining STRATEGIST the computer is running the machine on the current job, while the operator programmes the next job.
The operators remain enthusiastic about machining STRATEGIST in particular reduced cutter breakages and toolholder gouge protection. “The shortest route retract feature is very good” said Paul Davies “the cutter will rapid to another area and then with a circular arc, it will feed on to the work piece. Also machining STRATEGIST will not try to machine areas that we have already machined. It is highly intelligent, it knows what it has previously machined and it will jump to areas that have not been machined.”
Some of the machining is carried out on hardened die steel in excess of 50 Rockwell. The aim is to minimise the amount of Electro Discharge Machining and electrode manufacture therefore improving delivery times. machining STRATEGIST has helped with this by cutting with smooth toolpaths, so minimising cutter chatter and cutter breakage.
Paul Davies thinks NC Graphics’ training is very good. He likes the fact that it is shorter, at one to two days, than the training for other software the company has used. This he sees as a useful saving on time and a further indication of how easy machining STRATEGIST is to use.
Triune is now looking to buy another CNC system and Paul Davies expects to order an additional seat of machining STRATEGIST to run three or more machines.
NC Graphics (Cambridge) Ltd, Silverwood Lodge, Ely Road,
Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB5 9NN, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 861539
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 440249
Contact: Mrs Estelle Dunsmuir, Marketing Co-Ordinator