Delcam adds extra five-axis facilities in Birmingham
Delcam has always been unique among international CADCAM software developers in having its own in-house toolroom. The value of this facility has been increased recently with the addition of two Huron continuous five-axis machining centres, a KX200 and a K2X8 five, both fitted with Siemens 840D controls.
"Although smaller than our software business, the Tooling Services Division still turns over around ₤1 million annually," explained Division Director, Brian Hawkshaw. "While we aim to operate at a profit, the main benefit is the ability to test our software in circumstances similar to our customers, on real jobs with real deadlines."
Furthermore, the manufacturing expertise within Delcam forms an important part of the comprehensive support given by the company to all its customers. It allows users to be given advice on all areas of their work, including aspects like the best choice of machining strategy and cutter selection, as well as the operation of the software.
The new machines will give the toolroom larger capacity for continuous five-axis machining. "The KX200 is the first machine of its kind in the UK," claimed Mr. Hawkshaw. "It offers high-speed, five-axis machining of larger parts, within its 3.3 x 2.3 x 1 metre working envelope. It combines a 12,000 rpm spindle with 70 kilowatts power. This provides a good balance for the range of materials, including aluminium, titanium and high-tensile steel, that we need to machine."
While the KX200 provides all five axes of movement through its head, the smaller K2X8 five incorporates a three-axis head, coupled with a tilting and rotating table. "These different configurations will enable us to work with both Siemens and Huron to optimise our PowerMILL CAM software for continuous five-axis operation, especially for aerospace applications where the Siemens control is widely used," claimed Mr. Hawkshaw. "They will also allow us to continue our pioneering work in the development of the on-machine verification version of our PowerINSPECT inspection software."
Being able to test such developments on-site obviously gives Delcam a major advantage in proving out its software. "Many CAM programs generate data that is mathematically correct but that is often impossible to machine in practice," explained Mr. Hawkshaw. "The toolroom has played its part in establishing PowerMILL's leading position for high-speed machining and shop-floor programming. With the new machines, we expect similar progress in its five-axis machining capabilities."
"When potential software customers first hear about Delcam, they often ask why we operate the toolroom," concluded Mr. Hawkshaw. "Once they have seen our facilities and we have explained the benefits, both in the reliability of the software and in the quality of our support, they find it difficult to understand how other CAM developers expect to develop and sell software without a similar resource."
For further information on Delcam Tooling Services, please contact: -
Direct phone: 44 (0)121 683 1082 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Heath Business Park,
Birmingham, B10 0HJ, UK
Caption: Five-axis machining with the new Huron K2X8