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A CAM system for all applications
A CAM system for all applications
A CAM system for all applications

A CAM system for all applications

Added to MTDCNC by OPEN MIND on 31 March 2015

As an innovative subcontractor, HF-Zerspanungstechnik GmbH is serving different industries with increasing success whether its mechanical engineering and component manufacturing, tool and mould manufacturing or motorsport. The success can be somewhat credited to NC programs for 2½ D to 5-axis simultaneous machining that are created with hyperMILL CAD/CAM software from OPEN MIND Technologies. The integration of hyperMILL with state-of-the-art machine tools is interlinked through iTNC 530 CNC controls from Heidenhain to ensure the perfect combination of software and hardware. 


What began in 1996 in Saaldorf as an individual enterprise on a farm, now presents itself as an efficient supply business occupying a 1300sq/m light-filled hall.  The owner Fritz Huber perceptively invested in the right technologies and conveys his own vigour and enthusiasm to the team spirit of the 14 member workforce. In a relaxed, performance-oriented atmosphere, the team works a two shift schedule on machines such as a DMU50 and DMU125P from DMG and B300 and C42U from Hermle. There are also various lathes, such as a Gildemeister CTX410V6 with driven tools, Y-Axis and counter spindle as well as a DMT Kern CD480 and a Wenzel LH87 3D CMM. Huber procured all milling machines with the iTNC530 control from Heidenhain: ''For me they were exemplary in quality and user-friendliness from the beginning”. Equipped with an automatic switch off function the machines can be left to run by themselves.


Competent in multiple fields

HF-Zerspanungstechnik (HFZ) supplies welding electrodes for welding foil, from which blood or infusion bags are made. These high-precision tools are completely measured, recorded and mounted. A portion of the turnover is generated as a supplier to the motor-racing industry with self-designed moulds for carbon fibre parts such as structural components for monocoque racing cars and components and assemblies such as wishbones and lateral control arms for GT3 vehicles. Other focal points are the parts for mechanical engineering and mould making - where high demands apply to the surface quality as well as the accuracy. In terms of materials processed 80%.


Universal NC programming is required

In the past this broad range of tasks was handled with two different CAM systems: ''In many assignments the preparation work takes as long as the machining on the machine'', said Fritz Huber. In 2011, new customers in the mould making sector triggered a growth spurt and 5-axis simultaneous milling became increasingly in demand, forcing the company to take a good look at their CAM strategy. Besides the two existing systems the company evaluated the CAD/CAM system hyperMILL/hyperCAD from OPEN MIND. In demonstrations it quickly became apparent that the different requirements could most efficiently be met with this system.


''In addition to the wide range of functions and the good price/performance ratio, we also saw an advantage in the well-matched products from OPEN MIND and HEIDENHAIN'', commented Fritz Huber. Meanwhile, the two CAM workstations are now manned over two shifts. This is because at HFZ, there is no distinction between machine operator and NC programmers. ''Here every employee has the time and the know-how to write the programs for his machine on the CAM workstation and make changes on the control. As a result knowledge of current tool technologies and possible cutting speeds and feed rates always feeds back into the NC programs''.


Comprehensive tool management

Experienced employees discovered the first advantage of using a single CAM system through the common tool management offered by hyperMILL. The system was populated with all of the existing tools and references to the respective machines. ''We aim to reduce the set-up times by using large capacity tool magazines on the machines, automatic tool removal and automatic zero point clamping. The use of a central tool database has taken us a large step forward,'' said Fritz Huber.


Two partners for five axes

HFZ sees further benefits from the leading functions in 5-axis milling, which have been introduced with hyperMILL. 3D strategies that are converted to 5-axis tool orientation by the 5-AXIS module. ''We were given approximately 15 different cycles and we could try them all in direct use. This enables us to always find an efficient path to the required surface finish,'' reported Hermann Thanbichler, NC programmer.


The high feed rates inevitably require higher axis acceleration on curved workpiece contours. For each machining task, it must be ensured that there is no deterioration in quality due to machine vibration. Even during highly dynamic tool movements. Motion control for 5-axis machining places particularly high demands on the machine control. The automatic tilt smoothing of the HEIDENHAIN CNC is controlled by an internal function to check contour deviations. This function allows the user to define the permissible contour deviation. Without tilt smoothing the desired path data, the axes of the machine would suddenly accelerate at the interconnection points. The resulting jerk would subject the machine to increased vibration.



Accuracy requirements are becoming increasingly stringent, particularly in the area of 5-axis machining. Complex parts are required to be manufactured with precision and reproducible accuracy even over long periods. The KinematicsOpt function helps HF-Zerspanungstechnik to meet these demands. During a probe cycle the feature automatically measures the rotational axes of a machine with a touch probe and determines the statistical tilting accuracy from the measured values. The software minimizes the spatial error arising from the tilting movements and it automatically saves the machine geometry in the respective machine constants of the kinematic table.


Cutting-edge technologies intelligently combined

Everything runs smoothly at HFZ in Saaldorf-Surheim and in particular the hyperCAD data acquisition where all customer 3D models have now been uploaded and prepared for milling. ''We are very pleased with the interaction of OPEN MIND and Heidenhain. We are able to optimize our processes to respond to the challenging conditions of competition. We have made good progress in shortening programming and machining times. And tool management using a single CAM system has enabled us to significantly reduce our set-up times,'' concludes Fritz Huber.


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