Manufacturers of heavy duty coupling components
Premier Manufacturing Company designs and manufactures heavy duty coupling components used for tractor-trailers and construction equipment. The company produces parts that link trailers to dump trucks and off road construction equipment as well connectors used between double and triple trailers hauled by over the highway trucks. The products include couplings, drawbar eyes, hinge assemblies, dolly jacks and accessories.
Multiple variables made it “very difficult to zero in on where the problems were coming from,” Gillin said. Some of the difficulties involved a machining simulation program that didn’t work well with Premier’s CAM system and post processor.
DECISION-MAKING FACTORS FOR NCSIMUL
NCSIMUL software detects the particular difficulties that can arise in simultaneous five-axis machining. For example, Gillin said, “Issues are likely to occur when using five-axis motion and trying to squeeze a tool into a very tight area on a part.“ Reliable machining verification also permits Gillin to make best use of his time. “Premier runs it lean and all of us wear a lot of hats… NCSIMUL allows me to set up a complex job with a lot of simultaneous motion, take it out to the machine, hit go and walk away, and not lose any sleep at night over it.”
BEFORE & AFTER WITH NCSIMUL
“The simulation software set up was not very intuitive,” Gillin said. The complex 3D machining programs for the patterns were large files that required extended verification time. “I’d set the software up to verify the CAM program and that sometimes would take a night and a day to complete. Then I would find out that something wasn’t set quite right, for example a fixture was not in the right zero.” However, the simulation software would not enable modification of the CAM program, so Gillin had to go back to the CAM package, make changes, and again output the program into the verification software.
To resolve the issues, Premier acquired NCSIMUL Machining simulation software. According to Gillin, “NCSIMUL allowed me to really start zeroing in on the issues that I was facing with the simulation software and the post processor. Once you have everything output into NCSIMUL, you can change things around. You can put in a different fixture if you want, you can move your clamps. That’s really valuable.”
NCSIMUL software detects the particular difficulties that can arise in simultaneous five-axis machining. For example, Gillin said, “Issues are likely to occur when using five-axis motion and trying to squeeze a tool into a very tight area on a part. In the CAM program it looks good, but I will send it to NCSIMUL and see a gouge.”
WHAT IS PLANNED NEXT?
Premier anticipates that the redesigned patterns will produce more precise castings that can be accurately and repeatedly loaded into a CNC machining center, thereby providing a way to finish components more quickly and accurately than via hand grinding.
To maximize productivity, Gillin envisions use of a horizontal machining center and pallet system with tombstone workholding to nest multiple parts and machine them lights-out. “So while using NCSIMUL for machining Premalloy parts is in our future, we are using it heavily now to help us get there,” he said.