The PSA tool shop in Mulhouse adopted CNC very early on, just as it did centralised programming of the machine tools. “To facilitate the programming of repetitive geometries, we developed the macro instructions ourselves in parallel with the application of the CAD/CAM software that we were using then, and independently of it,” a programmer, Serge Locher, explains. But the versions of the software have been superseded as part of a normal development, making it more and more difficult to integrate these macros.
In their search for a solution, Laurent Sifferlen, head of the process group at PSA (tooling, CAD/CAM, quality) and Serge Locher met with Jorge de Carvalho, application engineer at OPEN MIND and writer of the CAD/CAM software hyperMILL®. The management was won over by hyperMILL®’s functionalities, ease of handling, its ability to manage complex paths, as well as its options for recording personalised macro instructions easily, and saving them. An initial programming trial on the machining centre DMG DMU 80 was carried out for a lattice work foundry mould core using hyperMILL®.
“We have been pleasantly surprised by the results in improving machining flexibility,” explains Serge Locher. A complete programming approach was then finalised with Jorge de Carvalho using hyperMILL®. “By automating the loading of CAD models from Catia, we found that we were eliminating every source of error when automating the casting operations,” says Serge Locher. Furthermore, doing away with manual introductions previously required makes it possible to achieve gains in terms of programming security, time and reliability.
One other of the major satisfactions of PSA Mulhouse’s tool shop programmers lies in the facility with which postprocessors have been implemented for each machine. As translators of the instructions programmed in the right language for each machine and based on its kinematics, the postprocessors form a crucial interface between the software and CNC. “With OPEN MIND, we know that what we are programming and simulating will actually be implemented in production,” emphasises Serge Locher.