Vortex in Delcam for SolidWorks cuts machining time by 90% at Promolding
Delcam’s Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy produced a saving of 90% in the time needed to machine the core plate for an injection mould at Dutch company, Promolding BV. Vortex was the main addition to the latest release of the Delcam for SolidWorks CAM software used at Promolding.
Promolding (www.promolding.nl) is an innovative company that transforms high-performance polymer technology into industrial applications. It offers its customers a complete service from product design, via material and process development, to manufacturing, including automation. The company is very active in the use of new and high-tech materials, such as biodegradable materials and technical plastics with extra properties including electrical conductivity and heat conductivity, as well as new technologies for mould production.
Promolding is partner in the EU-funded project FaBiMED (Fabrication and Functionalization of BioMedical Microdevices), and one of its tasks within the project is to manufacture several experimental test moulds. Promolding manufactures its moulds in-house using a five-axis DMG DMU 60 monoBLOCK machine and has used Delcam for SolidWorks to program the machine for several years.
Vortex was first introduced as part of Delcam’s PowerMILL software for high-speed and five-axis machining. With the latest version of DFS, the strategy also became available to DFS users, a development that had been awaited by CNC machinist at Promolding, Arjan Markus, since he saw the first release of Vortex in PowerMILL.
He felt that the core plate of an injection mould would be a perfect test for the new roughing strategy. The mould plate was to be machined from tool steel and featured the two cores each 48mm high. The cutting tool chosen was a Seco/Jabro tool of 12mm diameter.
Mr. Markus was able to program the part without difficulty using the knowledge of Vortex he had gained at a recent Dutch Delcam user meeting hosted at Seco/Jabro. The 48mm height was machined in two layers, although Mr. Markus felt confident that it could have been machined in one go if the cutting length of the tool had been long enough. Machining was completed without coolant; only air was used to remove the swarf out of the way.
The plate was roughed in 45 minutes, whereas conventional area clearance would have taken close to nine hours, a saving in the machining time of 90%. The same afternoon Mr. Markus reported his experience back to Delcam: “Today, I machined roughed about 2,750 sq cm of tool steel in 45 min using Vortex in DFS. In one word: unbelievable! I am definitely going to use this method again! The cutting sounded beautiful, the swarf was perfectly consistent and the tool looked unused.” Subsequently, he machined the core and several other components of the mould using the same technique.
The machined mould plate is part of an injection mould for the EU project FaBiMed. The aim of FaBiMed is to improve and develop new manufacturing techniques, based on micro-moulding, specifically for biomedical micro-devices. The project aims to reduce the cost of mass production of diagnosis and therapeutic micro-devices which have common problems of small batch sizes, frequent demands for customisation, and micron-scale geometric features. Promolding is a work-package leader and responsible for the mould design and manufacturing as well as for the injection moulding of the micro-devices.