AR-EL is a big machine shop that supplies Swiss-Type machining, precision turning and milling of components & assemblies in high volume production. The company serves multiple strategic industries, such as dental, medical, aerospace, irrigation, Hi-Tech and more.
AR-EL has been working with 3 SolidCAM stations for about 20 years, mostly for basic milling but also for turning and for simple mill-turn with XZC kinematics.
Most of the parts they manufacture are simple, small and accurate. Mass production is common for each part and any savings in machining of a part can be extremely substantial. Most of their machining is based on turning and complementary milling.
The owners of AR-EL have had interest in iMachining for a long time and wanted to try it out and use it in their factory, but they procrastinated, giving different claims, such as that their milling operations are simple, or that they are using the best tools, so no need to improve and so on.
At our recent Technology tradeshow, the AR-EL team visited our booth and watched the live iMachining cutting that took place at the booth. They were very impressed with what they saw and asked that we set a meeting at their factory to discuss the Mill-Turn module for their new milling centers and renewing their subscription contract.
A meeting was held to discuss purchasing the Mill-Turn module for their new Nakamura and Mori Seiki with 2-3 turrets, 2 spindles. One of their requirements for purchasing was that we supply a solution for simultaneous synchronizing of 2 and 3 turrets.
We again discussed our iMachining technology, but the team claimed their milling machines are too old and don’t have enough memory for such technology, even if we were able to save milling time.
When reviewing the machines, the milling machines were older as they had stated, but it was explained to them that they can use the external memory card which exists in the machines instead of using the machines’ memory.
They asked SolidCAM for a test cut of a small titanium part they machine on these machines. When asked how long it takes to manufacture it, they said around 12 minutes, but stated its manufacturing consists of only 10% roughing.
The part was examined and it was determined iMachining can save time only in one of the operations, and it was thought that we can save around 1 min of machining time for this part.
The factory owner heard this and said that since we are talking about batches with thousands of parts, which they manufacture regularly throughout a long period, even one minute of savings in the machining time, will save them a lot. Saying that, he challenged SolidCAM to prove the claims by cutting the part with iMachining.
SolidCAM Reps arrived at the factory for a second meeting, and in half an hour changed their program and replaced the roughing operation with an iMachining operation.
In the first try, a machining time of 11:30 minutes compared to 12 minutes was achieved. After working on the program a bit more and running a second cut, the machining time was cut to 11:15 minutes, i.e. savings of 45 seconds per part!
In the one roughing operation the part had, SolidCAM saved 70% in cycle time, which saved 7% of the overall machining time.
Even though it was only 7% savings on the whole machining time, it was this small-big difference that was needed to help AR-EL get great results and ultimately increase profit margins.
AR-EL made the decision to upgrade to the Mill-Turn module and add the iMachining module along with renewing their subscription contract to ensure excellent service and support going forward.
The AR-EL programmer has since learned how to use the iMachining technology and has already discovered additional parts that they have manufactured in the factory for years, but with iMachining they will be able to save on them even more to increase profits for the future!