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Idle time eliminated thanks to CG Tech's Vericut collision detection software
Idle time eliminated thanks to CG Tech's Vericut collision detection software
Idle time eliminated thanks to CG Tech's Vericut collision detection software

Idle time eliminated thanks to CG Tech's Vericut collision detection software

Added to MTDCNC by CGTech Ltd on 24 March 2015

As a young company that was only founded in 2008, Pentaxia in Derby offers a total service in the design, manufacture and supply of advanced composite components and tooling. With a fresh approach that sees the company employ a lot of young engineers, the shop floor staff have historically programmed the machines and then stood machine side to watch the machining process. This idle time has now been eliminated thanks to CG Tech's Vericut collision detection software.

Providing an insight into the business, Managing Director of Pentaxia Ltd, Mr Stephen Ollier, says: 'We machine large patterns and moulds for the composite industry, using very large and expensive machines, so utilisation of those machines is fundamental. To optimise our machines we use Vericut as it gives us confidence that the machines are going to do exactly what we expect, so we don't get unexpected and expensive collisions. Furthermore, it gives a number of other spin-offs such as predicted run-time. We call Vericut 'machine tool path verification' and the key issue is that we program our machines using Delcam PowerMill, which is a standard package to generate our programs.'

'Once this has created a program to drive the machines, this then has to go through a post-processor that tailors the software to work with the specific type of machine. We run three different types of machine and we can run the program on each type of machine in confidence with the Vericut package. What Vericut does, it takes the code that is programmed into the machine and verifies that the code will not cause a collision with the component. If you get a collision with a large machine, it can cost from £25,000 to £50,000 to repair. Whilst you may be insured for that, you won't be insured for the cost of lost production.'

The shop floor staff were apprehensive that the collision detection feature within its CAM software was good enough to prevent an accident, so the staff stood at the side of the machine. Highlighting this, Mr Ollier continues: 'This was very logical but very inefficient as we didn't want skilled engineers to watch a machine all the time that it is running. We looked at solutions, a number of competitors were using Vericut and spoke very highly of it. They looked at our business and we felt it would be a worthwhile investment. Now, it is a requirement that no part goes onto our 5-axis machines without previously being proven out by Vericut. The benefit is that now, more than one machine can be watched by a single operator. Furthermore, it gives us the confidence that we can run our facility lights out and not come in to a collision the following day. The longest unmanned period was 14 hours and that is credit to Vericut. Lights out is also something you have to do nowadays to be competitive.'

This ability to run lights-out has seen Pentaxia evolve from a company that rented its first machine and facility to a business to a business that now employs 45 staff. It now runs five large 5-axis machine tools that gives the company a great footing in the aerospace, motorsport and luxury automotive. 'We have to have the best people and equipment to be competitive on the global composite component sector. We are very buoyant about the future and our investment in technology is key to this as is our support from Vericut,' concludes Mr Ollier.

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