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Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam software protect margins
Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam software protect margins
Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam software protect margins
Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam software protect margins

Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam software protect margins

Added to MTDCNC by HAAS Automation on 30 April 2013

A precision engineering subcontractor servicing a large number of diverse industries uses a combination of unique workholding, precision Haas machining centres and Edgecam software to protect its margins as customers demand price cuts, and material and consumable costs rise.

Milltech Precision Engineering Ltd manufactures mainly low volume, high value components for industry sectors such as medical, aerospace, nuclear/oil/gas, marine, mechanical handling, packaging, automotive and motor sport.

Operations Director Darren Osborne says because of the nature of their work, absolute precision is vitally important. 'Without precision we don’t have a business – and the combination of Haas Machining Centres and Edgecam gives us that precision.'

Components are used in applications such as connectors for robot arms that inspect the inside of nuclear cores; oil and gas subsea equipment for down-hole drilling and well-head control; suspension assemblies, braking systems and prototypes for the development of fuel efficiency and emission controls for the automotive industry; packaging equipment; camera parts along with stainless steel ventilator tubes and CT housings for the medical industry, and rear wing parts for Formula 1 cars.

Mike Ottolangui, Managing Director of the Norwich-based company, which turns over £3.5m with 38 employees, says the greatest threat to their growth was the nationwide shortage of skilled craftsmen. But since installing Edgecam in 2012 on the advice of a major customer who are long-standing Edgecam users themselves, just one manufacturing engineer, Daniel Clements, undertakes programming work that would have previously needed eight people.

Their 21 Haas machining centres including two 4-axis horizontal mills are driven by Edgecam, and plans are well advanced to bring it in for their 18 lathes.        

'We thought our way of working with horizontals was common to the industry because it’s so efficient,' says Mike Ottolangui. 'But we discovered that no-one else was doing it the way we are.” The complexity of Milltech’s specific requirements meant it took Edgecam developers around five months to finalise their post processor.

Darren Osborne takes up the story from a shop-floor perspective: 'Traditionally horizontals are aimed at the medium to high volume industry, but the way our specially-written post processors, and how we’ve modelled our fixtures and workholding, means we effectively use those machines for one-offs and very small batch sizes. Thanks to our post processor it’s now easier to set the horizontals than the verticals.'

Having designed their own workholding system, Milltech now produce a program for one component, and then answer dialog prompts from the post processor, including ‘how many components do you want to run on a tombstone?’ ‘how many datums do you want to use?’ and ‘how many faces on that tombstone do you want to run?’ Then datums and programs are automatically generated for the other components. 'It means we can run up to 32 components on four faces of a tombstone, but we actually only produce a program for one component.'


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