NC Graphics ToolMaker and DEPOCAM have helped Engtec to machine specialist motor sport parts quickly and efficiently. Located in Langley near Southampton, John Bartram, the owner of Engtec, purchased his first NC Graphics software in 1999 as part of his expansion plans. His aim was to become a technological leader in his field and provide niche solutions to his customers.
Well known around the world by motorcycle aficionados for their Bartram Ariel motorbike frames, Engtec also make pistons for high performance and historic cars and motorbikes, including Jaguar, Maserati and Benelli. High performance vehicles require high strength materials. A normal cast piston requires extensive tooling, and will not be able to withstand the stresses imposed. For these very demanding and low volume applications, Engtec machine the pistons from solid. For touring car racing, Engtec have made many patterns, tools and components including bumpers, light pods, brake cowlings and roof vents which are used by leading race teams. NC Graphics ToolMaker and DEPOCAM enable Engtec to import and manipulate CAD data for these very complex shapes, ready for the production of CNC code for their Hurco Hawk 30 and Bridgeport VMC 500 machining centres. They can also construct this data from scratch where none exists, something that is quite common with historic vehicles.
“We now have the ability to respond very quickly to our customers, going from a drawing to a completely machined model within one day,” said John Bartram.
“Motor Sport is very demanding and delivery times are crucial to them,” he continued.
To achieve this Engtec frequently programme the first toolpath on their DEPOCAM system and start the machining immediately. While the machine is cutting they can continue programming the second and subsequent toolpaths, reducing machine idle time to an absolute minimum. On finishing operations they are happy to do �lights out’ machining as they have complete faith in the quality and reliability of the toolpaths.
“DEPOCAM produces absolutely brilliant toolpaths which minimise air cutting, and it produces particularly elegant cycles on hard materials,” said John Bartram.
The quality of the postprocessed CNC code created by ToolMaker and DEPOCAM is important to Engtec, as it ensures that cutting can start without delay and removes the need for detailed knowledge of the differences between the machine tool control systems.
Engtec find that ToolMaker provides them with increased flexibility, as its macro language gives them control for specialist applications, particularly when machining model board.
John Bartram commented, “We can work at the physical limits of our machine tools, and build up large models in sections easily with ToolMaker, while for a family of parts application, creation of a new programme only takes a few minutes.”
The accuracy of ToolMaker ensures that, when the individual models are assembled, they fit together perfectly, making it possible to build large patterns right first time.
Originally, Engtec chose ToolMaker and DEPOCAM because they provided an integrated and complete solution to their requirements for manufacture of complex components and tools. Ease of use was important, as was the fact that NC Graphics develop the software in the UK, thereby providing expert local support for their customers. Engtec has such confidence in NC Graphics that they are a beta test site for ToolMaker and DEPOCAM.
“I find that NC Graphics are very responsive to suggestions for software enhancements,” said John Bartram.
For Engtec, ToolMaker and DEPOCAM have been pivotal in the development of the business.
“We have been able to take on work which would have previously been impossible for us to manufacture, enabling us to grow our business. We are delighted with the service NC Graphics has provided – I can’t praise them enough,” said John Bartram.
NC Graphics (Cambridge) Ltd, Silverwood Lodge, Ely Road,
Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB5 9NN
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 861539 Fax: +44 (0) 1223 440249
Contact: Mrs Estelle Dunsmuir, Marketing Manager