Siemens NX CAD and CAM at Tooltec
Products face their toughest tests when used in extremely hostile environments such as outer space or the inside of a gas turbine.
To address the growing demand for quality and reliability in these contexts, and to stay competitive, today’s manufacturers need powerful IT system support.
But what should such a system look like?
Sweden-based Tooltec has its own answer. The company is a specialist firm producing advanced components for multiple industries. These include parts for the European aeronautical industry, production tools for Volvo Trucks and large combustion chamber components for Siemens turbines. They produce these components through milling, turning, grinding, sparking, and drilling complex materials.
“In this context, PLM tools such as CAD and CAM play a critical role, and we invested in Siemens PLM’s CAD-CAM software NX as our primary solution,” said Tooltec’s vice president Kristian Lindahl.
Tooltec is at the forefront of IT tools and highly advanced processes as, “The result of an early decision to bet on simultaneous 5-axis machining capabilities,” claimed Lindahl. This was a wise decision, as it turned out; today the 5-axis machine is the heart of the company’s business.
“We saw a trend in the industry that you needed five-axis simultaneous machining to be competitive. We were looking for a system that could cover these requirements and it turned out that Siemens NX could deliver a complete solution adapted to our needs,” said Lindahl, and added, “In retrospect I can say that we made a good choice. Many of our customers have even followed us in our choice of CAD-CAM systems, and this is something that we are very proud of.”
State of the Art Machinery
The preparation work at Tooltec typically begins with a customer request, which usually has a very detailed description of all the customer’s requirements.
“We then try to solve this in the best way possible, creating effective production tools which are prepared with state of the art machinery,” explained Lindahl, adding that, “The preparation process continues with dividing the parts into the various stages of operation.”
Tooltec uses NX to describe each step of the operation with their own 3D models, which they create based on their customer models. “We then use these models to prepare our NC paths. This is also done in NX and includes both turning modules and cutting modules, including simultaneous five-axis machining.”
Furthermore, the Tooltec VP concluded that great and advanced machines are fine, but combined with the right software this fleet of machines can make a quantum leap forward when it comes to competitiveness.
So it’s no surprise that Lindahl points toward the value of a seamless CAD-CAM system: “A complete system, such as NX, brings many benefits to the table. As an example, we use a component variant environment to create a wide variety of rings with similar geometry. In this environment we can also be sure that the NC programs are working correctly, and that the engineers can create drawings with the correct tolerances, without doing much manual work.”
Responsiveness to Customer Demands
An important aspect of production at Tooltec revolves around proper measurement.
This is a guarantee that ensures customers such as SKF, Volvo, ESA and Siemens are getting exactly the quality that they want. Customer demand for precision reflects the growing importance of quality.
Achieving dimensions in the neighbourhood of a hundredth of a millimeter is common, in order to ensure that customer requirements are met.
In addition, the 3D model has an important function in the quality assurance process because the physically produced part is measured in comparison to the customer’s 3D model.
This means that being responsive to customer requirements is a fundamental tenet of Tooltec’s business, and an important part of being able to do this is constantly looking forward.
So what is the next step?
“Next is to introduce tool management with a module called MRL Connect, which aims to reduce the number of tools used in production, to simplify the process and to create integral tools that also can also be used for simulation and collision detection,” said Lindahl.
The installation of Siemens PLM Software’s solutions at Tooltec is being done by its Nordic partner Summ Systems.
Summ Systems’ CEO Dick Nyström concluded that: “Clients such as Tooltec are operating in industries that really put our systems to the test. The seamless processes offered by solutions like NX CAD-CAM are important cogs in the machinery. This allows us to succeed in the competitive industries that we operate in.”