Reflecting back on the early days of the business, Stewart says: “The business rapidly became successful in the 3-axis machining arena but a contract to design and manufacture eight mould tools for 5-liter Jerry Cans, meant we had to invest in technology. I previously worked at a prestigious company producing 5-axis F1 parts, so my ambition was always to evolve into the 5-axis market. This arrived in the guise of a Quasar 5-axis machining centre from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and high-end CAM software from OPEN MIND Technologies. I had a great relationship with ETG; and from previously working with an F1 component manufacturer, I knew hyperMILL® from OPEN MIND was the only option with regards to CAM software.”
Whilst surface finish is more critical than cycle times, Stewart is aiming to reduce the machining time by implementing OPEN MIND’s new hyperMILL® MAXX Machining package for rough machining. Marketed by OPEN MIND as the next generation in CAM software for cutting hours from machining cycles, NBM has run tests of hyperMILL® MAXX Machining and found the cycle time reduction to be extremely positive. Just one of the roughing cycles on the main frame has been reduced from 2 hours 20 minutes to less than 1 hour 30 minutes, a 40% reduction. It is estimated that if the part was run on a machine with a spindle speed in the region of 15 to 18,000 rpm, as opposed to the existing 8,000 rpm, the cycle time is projected to fall close to 30 minutes, a massive 80% reduction on the existing run-time.