Related: Automotive Production
With aluminum forgings increasingly being used in vehicle suspension systems, part suppliers are under pressure to increase their component output. To maximize production efficiency for customers including Nissan, GM, and Honda, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (KAAP) invested $80-million in its Bowling Green, KY, facility. One of its challenges was generating the CNC programs for producing closed forging dies. For example, according to Victor Steel, Tool Shop manager at KAAP, “Roughing operations were relatively slow because the tools spent much of their time cutting air.” So based on a recommendation from the Japanese operations of one of its parent companies, Kobe Steel, they switched to PowerMILL CAM software from Delcam. The results: a 40% reduction in machining cycle times and a 50% reduction in hand finishing thanks to a better as-machined surface finish (a Mazak FJV-3580 vertical machining center is used for roughing and a Mazak Nexus vertical for finishing). This is because PowerMILL configures toolpaths for multi-axis high speed machining by decreasing air cutting time, which thereby decreases production time. Its toolpath simulation capabilities also help predict axis reversals and surface quality, while identifying other areas for cycle time improvement.