5-axis Machining at Sea
Gianoplast SRL | Fabriano (AN), Italy
A high-class instrument panel created as a result of the synergy between the skills of a Mould-maker and the advanced performance levels of CAM software.
When making Moulds for large-sized and high-precision parts the use of CAM software is inevitable. In the case of style components, like those earmarked for the marine industry, where the design of the shapes includes sophisticated geometries and high quality surfaces, it is indispensable to choose an advanced performance CAM, that is able to help the user with adequate processing and machining strategies in complete safety. To make an instrument panel for an innovative yacht from the Wider shipyard, Gianoplast made full use of the powerful tools found in hyperMILL®, CAM software from OPEN MIND Technologies which can be used to programme the complete process, also for more complex parts, using just one CAM program.
“As always. The decision to use hyperMILL® provided the right strategies to solve all the processing problems.”
“When we started using hyperMILL® – pointed out Claudio Fioroni, the owner, along with Antonio Baroni, of Gianoplast – we did so in an almost ‘surreptitious’ way: when the production period was over, we then experimented with the possibility of using the 5-axis milling machine with CAM software to make models which, up until then, had previously been made by hand out of wood. For a company like ours, which specialises in thermoforming and making parts out of fibreglass, working with complex geometries and in the most difficult positions is par for the course, therefore, we needed a form of software that could effectively support 5-axis machining. As a result of working very well with hyperMILL® over many years we decided set up a sort of alliance with OPEN MIND which ended up with us also buying the latest hyperMILL® MAXX Machining module for hi-performance roughing. We mainly supply large-sized parts and the use of hyperMILL® MAXX Machining prevents any downtime, so considerably speeding up the production processes: an important factor if you want to remain competitive on the market”.
A model ‘dashboard’
“A lot of thought went into the instrument panel that we made for the Wider shipyard. – Mr. Fioroni went on – Besides being a considerably large part (approx. 1,630 x 4,50 x 3,80 mm) it also had to be made out of just one block of stratified resin, which was then coupled with a component made out of carbon fibre supplied by another company that also had a number of different openings in it to house all the yacht’s control instruments. Therefore, the level of precision had to be spot on, an aspect which we had to take into consideration as early on as the initial mould design phase. This meant assessing any possible material shrinkage and its behaviour during the production process, to ensure that the finished part had the same measurements as those specified in the customer’s design and was a perfect match for all the other parts of the yacht. What’s more, unlike many other instrument panels, the design by the Wider shipyard also included a ‘visible’ component both at the front and the back. So we positioned the part in such a way so as to be able to work on it from all angles, also reaching the most hidden areas and leaving just a few support points. By doing so, we created an exact copy of the production components, which, in collaboration with one of our associates GR Composites, a cast was taken from that was used to make the final parts. This decision was made because it involved making a limited number of parts, which, however cheap, did not justify using thermoforming. Without the help of 5-axis milling we would have had to cut the part in half to be able to work first on one side and then on the other. However, with 5-axis milling we managed to reach the entire surface of the part with continuity and, once removed from the block, create a finished part that needed no further attention”.
The advantage of a reliable partner
“As always, the decision to use hyperMILL® provided the right strategies to solve all the processing problems. In particular, the automatic collision check and avoidance function stops the tool or spindle affecting the parts of the component. This enables us to use ‘standard’ tools also for complex processes like this, without having to buy any expensive tools that are tailored to suit specific situations. Furthermore, given the high level of reliability of this collision check function, with the exception of certain processes carried out at the limit of feasibility, the milling machine can operate unmanned with a big advantage in terms of timesaving. Before going home at night, we load the workpiece and set the process in motion and, in the morning, when we turn up for work, we find the finished product.
Unlike other CAM software packages, we also noticed how hyperMILL® can be used to create 5-axis machined parts with minimum machining signs. This aspect is decisive when it comes to manufacturing parts made out of fibreglass where the surface quality has to be impeccable, as in the case of the instrument panel we have just made.
But, above all, the most important thing for us is the assistance guaranteed by all the staff at OPEN MIND. If any problems arise, and in our business almost every job is a case in itself, they are always there with the right solution. These are functions that are found in hyperMILL® but, given the numbers, it’s not easy to remember all of them: the effective collaboration on offer from the staff at OPEN MIND enables us to find the right function and successfully apply it. When we bought hyperMILL® MAXX Machining, for example, Giovanni Scarfato (one of the technicians at OPEN MIND who, together with the Sales Manager, Renzo Roccetti, is based at the new branch in Falconara Marittima), wanted to check the actual improvement in productivity obtained by introducing the new roughing module. One of the main advantages of using hyperMILL® MAXX Machining is precisely the ability to remove large volumes of material and dynamically optimise both the movements and the speed so as to ensure machining rapidity and evenness. This is just one example of the scrupulosity of the service provided by the staff at OPEN MIND – concluded Mr. Fioroni – who are committed not only towards selling solutions that improve productivity levels but also towards supporting you in any way they can so that you, thanks to these solutions, get nothing but the best”.
(Source: PlastDesign: L.C.)