TOMCO wins more business with SESCOI's WorkNC

September 10, 2009 - The Japanese company TOMCO Co Ltd based in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, chose WorkNC for its 3 and 5-axis programming because of its ease of use. Specializing in machining complex parts such as power train components for the automotive industry and hard and brittle parts for industrial machinery applications, TOMCO prides itself on delivering high technology and high quality components with the some of the shortest lead times in the industry. Founded in 1953, TOMCO installed its first NC machine in 1973 and moved entirely to CNC machining for all operations in 1980.

Haruki Matsui, General Manager Operations Department, explains the reasons for looking for a new CAM system. “The CAM software we had at the time sometimes took an enormous amount of time to create NC code, and we also needed a new system for our increasingly complex 3D machining requirements. Our main criterion was that the new system must be easy and intuitive to operate.

The company evaluated several CAM systems, which included performing cutting trials, and chose WorkNC for its ease of use, the quality of its cutterpaths, its reputation, and because of recommendations from other leading manufacturers. Haruki Matsui says, “WorkNC certainly met our expectations. It lives up to its claims that it is easy to use and implement, unlike our old software, which required a lot of adjustments to its cutting strategies to achieve a satisfactory result. We also found that WorkNC’s toolpath editing facilities were first class, enabling us to get exactly the cutterpath we wanted very simply indeed.” TOMCO had recently installed a 5-axis machining center, so the automated 5-axis programming capabilities of WorkNC were also an important benefit.

Not only did TOMCO simplify its 3 and 5-axis programming, but it also achieved some critical lead-time reductions. Haruki Matsui adds, “A job that took three hours on our old CAM system can now be completed in five minutes with WorkNC. It has helped us to maximize our productivity and profitability by enabling us to handle more work, faster. We can also utilize our resources more effectively, spending extra time on other functions and on improving our operational efficiency.

To demonstrate its technological capabilities, TOMCO used WorkNC to machine a scale model of a Kabuto, the ornate helmet worn by Samurai warriors. Collaborating with Sescoi, TOMCO engineers commenced with a 3D scan of an original Kabuto which was then manipulated in CATIA V5 ready for machining in WorkNC. Starting from a solid block they used the software’s powerful roughing, semi-finishing and finishing routines in 3-axis and 5-axis to reach deep inside the part with the shortest and most rigid cutters possible.

The finished helmet now often takes pride of place on Sescoi’s booth at leading industry shows, a testament to the power of the software and the skills of the TOMCO engineers.

TOMCO particularly likes the automatic toolpath creation and interactive toolpath editing in WorkNC. Haruki Matsui says, “Prototype parts demand rapid delivery, and the speed of program preparation has enabled us to cut lead times from one week to two days.” Other features which TOMCO finds especially useful include the analysis function which color codes radii, so that the right tools can be selected from the tool library; the dynamic cross section and semi-transparent part views, which make it easy to examine complex parts; and the 3D stock model which eliminates unnecessary retract and air cutting moves.

Handling large and complicated CAD files is a daily task at TOMCO, so WorkNC’s ability to achieve error free import of data is very important. Haruki Matsui adds, “WorkNC manipulates even very large files, such as the one we imported when machining the Kabuto helmet, very rapidly and without any problems. With other CAM systems we have had problems selecting surfaces and profiles. This is not the case with WorkNC, which allows us to operate smoothly every time.

He concludes, “WorkNC is the best software we have for 3 and simultaneous 5-axis machining. Our engineers prefer it by far, and it is used much more than any of the other CAM systems we have. Since we installed it we have been able to greatly increase the amount and range of complex 3D machining we can undertake, it has definitely enabled us to win more business.

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