SolidCAM and iMachining take part in the manufacture of Škoda Fabia R5

...after only two months, iMachining had returned its investment! The main savings were in machining time, which were cut in half in many cases, compared to standard milling strategies....

...after only two months, iMachining had returned its investment! The main savings were in machining time, which were cut in half in many cases, compared to standard milling strategies....

Zítka-motorsport is located not far from Mladá Boleslav. It has seven employees and is engaged in the mechanical production of prototype parts, jigs, modification of existing components and small series production of parts for racing vehicles.

The head of the company is Marek Zítka, who is a former rally cross representative and current CNC machine programmer that did his mechanical training at Škoda MB. When his racing carrier was terminated by a wrist injury, Zítka decided to focus on design and production of components for racing cars.

The exclusive customer and buyer of the parts made by Zítka-motorsport is Škoda Auto for which they machine racing car parts. The assortment of products is variegated, and can include parts such as gearbox housings, connecting rods, gear levers, drive shafts, cardans, filter holders, arms, skids, shock absorbers, anatomic levers, pedals, etc.

Marek Zítka supplied parts for the Octavia, Octavia WRC, Fabia WRC, Fabia S2000 racing specials and currently makes components for the Fabia R5 racing special. Most of the parts are made of aluminium for the aerospace industry (7075 and 7022). Some parts comprise components from corrosion-resistant alloy steels and a few parts are made from titanium alloys. Zítka utilizes his long-term experience in the design of parts for racing cars during consultations with engineers at Škoda Auto.

SolidCAM’s iMachining changes the face of milling at Zítka-motorsport

Zítka-motorsport started operations in 1998 on a three-axis milling machine. In 2003, the requirements for production precision, speed and quality raised the need for renewing the machinery. The company decided to switch from conventional milling machines to CNC machines and they purchased their first five-axis CNC milling centre Mikron UCP 600.

After purchasing the machine, Zítka realized that the processes involved in a production with the new machine, requires new solutions, specifically when it comes to modifying the models in CAD and CAM. After searching the market and looking for recommendations, Zitka decided to go for the full solution of SolidWorks and SolidCAM.

At the beginning Zítka used simpler strategies with 2.5 axis and after a while, the company started accepting more complicated parts with emphasis on geometrical precision, which required quick and efficient rough machining. In order to be able to supply complicated parts in a feasible time table, Marek Zítka tried out SolidCAM’s revolutionary technology of iMachining.

iMachining is a real breakthrough in CNC milling tool path technology that enables extremely faster and deeper machining by optimizing tool cutting angles and feed rates throughout the tool path. In addition, iMachining‘s Technology Wizard provides optimal feeds & speeds based on tool path, stock material, type of cutting tool and CNC machine specifications.

With iMachining and its patented Technology Wizard, Zitka was able to reach unbelievable savings and increase efficiency in all CNC milling operations. This resulted in extremely high profits.

Quick return on investment

Zítka-motorsport greatly appreciated the advantages of iMachining technology when they realized that after only two months, iMachining had returned its investment! The main savings were in machining time, which were cut in half in many cases, compared to standard milling strategies.

Another important iMachining advantage is the savings in tool life. Using the optimal feeds and speeds calculated by the Technology Wizard helped increase tool life by 5 times and more. Being able to use the full depth-of-cut ensured that the entire tool was being used rather than only the bottom part. This also eliminates the cost of premium and specialty tooling for hard materials.

Over time, there’s another advantage that is not obvious at first glance - iMachining technology avoids machine downtime. This means less wear and tear on the machines, which results in higher machine up time, reduced machine maintenance costs and extended machine life.

Now, with iMachining, the typical machining conditions at Zítka-motorsport are a speed of 13,000 RPM and a feed rate of 8 meters per minute with full width engagement of the cutting tool‘s edges.

In addition to iMachining, Zítka-motorsport uses SolidCAM’s 5x module where due to lower production precision, they use indexation of the fifth axis. The reliability of production, setting of the semi product and continuous control during the machining process (e.g. control of a broken drill bit in a hole) are verified by programming of the probe using SolidCAM’s Solid Probe module. The full investment in SolidCAM including plug-in modules according to a qualified estimate, was recovered after the first year of usage. 

Zítka-motorsport uses the SolidCAM as a full solution for their machining needs. Their machines include five-axis CNC machines such as Hermle C400 and Mikron UCP 600. Turning operations are performed on CNC machines with turret heads such as Kovosvit 54/1500 Masturn and DMG Mori 310 Ecoturn 310. All machines are controlled using the Heidenhain control system.