World leader on the helicopter gas turbine market
SPRING Technologies, vendor of solutions that enable manufacturers to optimize the use of their NC machines, explains why Turbomeca chose NCSIMUL Machine.
Turbomeca, a SAFRAN Group company, is the world leader on the helicopter gas turbine market. The internationally acknowledged engine maker designs, manufactures, markets and maintains a comprehensive and unique range of engines for makers of civilian, parapublic or military helicopters.
With 75 years' experience in the field, Turbomeca has produced 70,000 turbines for 2,500 customers in 155 countries. The company has operations on five continents, with 16 sites, plus its Microturbo subsidiary, specialized in low-power gas turbines. With a workforce of around 6,320, it generated €1,126 M of revenue in 2012.
Turbomeca's philosophy is all about anticipating the future, designing, developing, certifying and supporting in order to stay one step ahead in technology. Adding core focuses on quality and safety, Turbomeca achieves the excellence it aspires to.
Turbomeca's organization is based on Centers of Excellence. Gilles Cazenave-Laroche, Head of engineering at the Excellence Center for rotating parts talks about his experience with SPRING Technologies solutions.
In 1995, Turbomeca, after an in-depth study of the two leading machining simulation solutions - one French, the other American - opted for SPRING Technologies' NCSIMUL Machine. "At the time we went for the better of the two products. It was the right choice because the solution is very well integrated into our specialty, spanning the whole machining process for our compressors, from CAM to the actual cutting of end parts on the machine. This is more than just realistically simulating ISO code", explains G. Cazenave-Laroche.
Their immediate need was for a solution that would significantly reduce lead times and eliminate risks in the production of parts with high added value. This included simultaneous 5-axis machining. Given the cost of programming for these 5-axis machines, "we were into payback as of year 2", enthuses G. Cazenave-Laroche.
Next comes the long-term value. This is all about making tool paths more robust and reliable, while offering Turbomeca a training tool for programmers. "Our task is complex", he adds. "With NCSIMUL Machine we not only train new employees, we use it to innovate. By simulating and testing, we can explore new, more efficient machining strategies."
Today, machining simulation and NCSIMUL Machine are operational throughout the compressor production process. This even became an obligation for Turbomeca's teams. "In our line of work, speed is everything. Speed and efficiency, of course", he continues. "Our parts have a high material cost so we have to get it right first time. Also, any downtime on our NC machines has a direct impact on our throughput and our R&D projects, and consequently on customer satisfaction. With NCSIMUL Machine we can anticipate all this securely in the virtual environment before taking a chance on reality."
Today's multi-purpose NC machines are increasingly complex. Even though CAM software comes with rendering capabilities "NCSIMUL Machine is a must-have", says G. Cazenave-Laroche. Using simulation also significantly facilitates the development of post-processors for this type of machine. "Our corporate culture and reputation are based on safety and a very demanding approach. This is what we are currently deploying for this type of new machine with the SPRING Technologies' machining simulation solution."
As NCSIMUL Machine continues to evolve, Turbomeca is looking at enhancements, including the optimization of cutting conditions, stress simulation to anticipate deformations, and vibratory phenomena. "In these areas, we are working in close collaboration with the innovation teams at SPRING. Our goal is the same as for any manufacturer, namely to constantly cut costs, and improve quality and productivity. With robust processes NCSIMUL SOLUTIONS makes all this possible. This is the challenge that we address daily with our high-tech technologies, notably those provided by SPRING Technologies."