A move to five-axis machining, programmed with Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system, has led to huge increases in productivity at KIPROTO, a Korean manufacturer of prototypes and high-precision parts. The company has also seen significant improvements in quality, especially in the surface finish, and a reduction in the number of defects.
KIPROTO was founded five years ago in Korea’s Kyungi Province. The company, which has 30 employees, works mainly in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries.
Until last year, KIPROTO had manufactured all its parts by three-axis machining. However, faced with customer demands for faster delivery of more and more complex designs, In-Kyu Lee, President of KIPROTO, knew that his company needed to improve its machining processes. Since the company was already using PowerMILL, Mr. Lee approached Hankook Delcam and was recommended to change to five-axis machining. Mr. Lee realised that this change would require an upgrade to his CAM software so, having decided to invest in a new DMG machine, he began an evaluation of the various systems.
From the start, Mr. Lee made it clear that machining time and the quality of the finished parts would be more important than the price of the software. While he wanted to be sure that the system could support the new five-axis machine, he also needed it to provide efficient three-axis machining. Finally, he needed support from engineers with detailed knowledge and experience of machining so they could, for example, deal promptly with any requests for post-processors and help to customise the software for KIPROTO’s work.
During the various presentations, it became clear that the final requirement would be the hardest to meet. While all of the engineers from the other CAM companies could provide a standard demonstration, only the staff from Hankook Delcam had the levels of skill needed to meet the requirements of the CAM engineers at KIPROTO. They had detailed knowledge of the comprehensive range of machining strategies within PowerMILL for all five-axis requirements and so were able to propose more efficient methods to operate the DMG machine.
"We undertook a thorough evaluation between PowerMILL and a number of other CAM systems, which showed that PowerMILL had many powerful five-axis functions,” Mr. Lee commented. "Even more important than the software features was the excellent service provided by Hankook Delcam to support our machining requirements. We decided to choose PowerMILL for five-axis machining and our staff have been really satisfied with the results so far.”
The main effect of the change to five-axis machining has been much faster delivery times. Mr. Lee estimates that his productivity is now up to seven times higher, when compared to his company’s three-axis machines or to his competitors that are still working with conventional processes. In addition, the five-axis machine gives outstanding surface quality, has enabled the production of higher-precision parts and has reduced the number of defects.