Aerotech Machining

Aerotech Machining

“Today, we use Mastercam to program all our CNCs from 2-axis turning to 5-axis milling. Our advanced Mastercam capabilities have been instrumental in our ability to pursue and capture high-end 5-axis aerospace machining work.” Joey Jones, President, Aerotech Machining, Inc.

Challenge

Improve CNC manufacturing reliability, throughput and programming productivity.

Solution

Benefits

  • Mastercam is easy to learn and use.
  • Mastercam’s computer simulation identifies 5-axis work interferences.
  • Approved CATIA translator.
  • User-friendly toolpaths for high roughing throughputs.
  • Exceptional support from Mastercam Reseller.

Project Details

Aerotech Machining, Inc. relies on Mastercam for efficient programming and optimized throughput of all of its CNC manufacturing equipment. The advantages are most clearly seen in its effect on the 5-axis milling with trunion-based Mazak Variaxis and Integrex systems.

When the company took delivery of its first 5-axis system, Aerotech’s President, Joey Jones, put in a call to his Reseller representative at CAD/CAM Solutions in Atlanta. “Steve got in his car and drove down here to Savannah. He came in the next morning and used Mastercam’s postprocessor development tools to build a post for me from the ground up on my shop floor. The next day we were making parts,” Jones says.

Since that first 5-axis installation, Jones has identified many tools within Mastercam that improve 5-axis programming and machining productivity while reducing the risks of tool damage and scrap. Here are a few:

Approved CATIA Translator: Aerospace work most frequently comes in as CATIA files. Jones feels that this design and analysis software is too cumbersome to be of use for developing manufacturing processes. Mastercam has an approved and licensed translator that allows the model to be seamlessly imported into Mastercam where all of the 5-axis toolpaths are created.

More Productive Roughing: For monolithic parts, a high percentage of the machining time is dedicated to gross material removal. For 3-axis roughing work, Aerotech typically uses the Surface Rough Pocket toolpath. Jones says, “It is very, very simple. If you have a solid model, just window the model, give it a bounding box, select Surface Rough Pocket, and get out of the way. It removes massive amounts of material in a hurry.” Similarly, for 5-axis roughing, Jones typically uses the Curve 5-axis toolpath.

Reducing Interferences: The 5-axis machining process has a greater potential for interferences (i.e. crashes) that can damage tooling, equipment, or expensive parts. So Aerotech’s Mastercam programmers work very carefully, looking for mistakes as they go. After every section, the programmers typically check for interference problems with Mastercam’s Backplot feature, a computer simulation tool that identifies problems as fine as those involving the shape and size of a specific cutter body. Once interference has been identified, Mastercam gives programmers the ability to quickly jump into problem areas and make fine adjustments to clean them up as needed.

Jones is convinced that there is much more to learn. He admits to spending about an hour a week experimenting with the latest toolpaths in Mastercam to find ones that will allow him to compete more effectively in an arena that calls for high productivity and exceptional attention to detail.



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