Iscar’s partnership with SolidCAM UK goes back to 2002, when it found that it was increasingly being asked to provide turnkey solutions for its customer’s machining problems. Iscar’s projects team examines machining methods, fixtures, and tools to achieve a reduced cost per part, proving out the proposed methodology by demonstrating the technology to the customer and offering ongoing technical support.
Derek Styles, Engineering Manager at Iscar says, “We chose SolidCAM to support our project work as there is a synergy between our two companies which enables us to optimize the solutions we offer.” Originally, after evaluating several CAM vendors to integrate the Iscar Turn-Groove Tools, SolidCAM was selected, initiating the collaboration between the two companies. Since then there have been many innovations in the system culminating in iMachining which forms a major part of the latest SolidCAM 2011 release.
iMachining is a breakthrough in CAM technology, enabling pockets and components to be machined with the full depth of the cutter in one pass while maintaining a constant tool load, reducing cutting times by up to 70%. The knowledge based system uses Technology Wizards, which consider the geometry of the part, the material, and every aspect of the tooling to optimize feeds and speeds and eliminate over engagement of the cutter.
Geoff Shore, Iscar Project Engineer says, “The machining problems we have to resolve nearly always involve hostile material and the quality of the cutterpath, which can make or break the tooling. Many CAM systems are hard on tooling but with SolidCAM iMachining we can show companies a better way of working, which we demonstrate to them on our Mazak Variaxis 730. For us the results we achieved with iMachining represented a ‘Eureka’ moment which has led some of our clients to replace their existing CAM systems with SolidCAM or to add it as a complementary system.”
Gordon Drysdale, Managing Director of SolidCAM UK says, “Engineers are quite skeptical about claims made for productivity improvements, but the benefits generated by Iscar tooling and iMachining have been proved to work even better in the real world of the shop floor - not just in laboratory conditions.”
Geoff Shore continues, “We have just completed a project with a major aerospace supplier. It was suffering from a lack of productivity and high tool life wear on some of its critical components. By utilizing our FiniShred and Chatterfree range of tools in both solid carbide and Multi Master configurations together with iMachining, we have been able to elevate the cutting speeds through managed cutting conditions, machining with the full length of the tool and not just the bottom 5mm.”
A spokesperson from the aerospace supplier says, “The combination of the cutter and the programming technique reduced the cycle time by over 40% and doubled the tool life, with the added advantage of a superb surface finish on the base of the feature, requiring no manual finishing after machining.”
Derek Styles says, “The close relationship we have developed with SolidCAM benefits from the great levels of service and support we get, which has helped us to expand our own skill set and offer a better service to our customers. Working together opens more doors and helps in awareness of the importance of the cutting tool and CAM software interface. This allows us to be more authoritative about the advantages of our tools, differentiating ourselves from our competitors.”