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noviembre 1, 2004

Technologico de Monterrey carries out research and training with WorkNC

WorkNC and WorkNC-CAD from Sescoi are playing an important role in research and training at Centro de Sistemas Integrados de Manufactura - Technologico de Monterrey, Mexico (ITESM). Dr. Ciro Rodriguez, Profesor Investigador at the Monterrey campus, is responsible for devising the research and training programmes. His investigations have revealed that, although the production of motor vehicles and consumer goods is well represented in Mexico, the majority of the dies and moulds used in this sector are produced outside the country. Mexican tooling imports were running at more than 700 million USD and exports at a little over 100 million USD in 2003. One of the key reasons for this discrepancy, shown up in his research, is a limitation in human resources. In order to close the gap, ITESM introduced a project based learning initiative where the requirements faced by the students and the available facilities resemble those encountered in a mould making factory that is equipped to provide worldclass quality dies and moulds.

«WorkNC is used widely in die shops in Mexico and the USA. This strong industrial reference and the willingness of Sescoi to work in partnership with us were important factors in selecting it for our project.», Dr Ciro Rodriguez

The projects cover a wide range of applications including hot forging dies, shearing and sheet metal forming dies, injection moulding tools, composite hand lay-up tools and blow moulding tools. In each case WorkNC has been used by the students to prepare the high-speed toolpaths required to drive ITESM’s Huron KX10 and Milltronics VM16 machining centres. The projects have used a wide range of technology in some cases starting from reverse engineered data, and included mould flow analysis, CAD and CAM.

«WorkNC is a process orientated CAM system. For high-speed machining it has an intelligent understanding of the machining process itself.», Dr. Ciro Rodriguez

In particular, WorkNC-CAD was used extensively in a cell phone project to create the injection mould design from the product design. Tasks successfully completed in the software included core and cavity separation, repair of surface data, creation of parting planes, and design of runners, cooling channels, and ejector pins for the tool utilising WorkNC-CAD’s specific mould design features. The ease with which these tasks were completed was important to the design teams as it allowed them to concentrate on solving technological problems associated with the tool rather than concerning themselves with software useability, enabling them to get the maximum benefit from the project.

WorkNC was also used by Dr. Ciro Rodriguez in the research he carried out on the evaluation of machining centres for high-speed machining, presented at the manufacturing conference at IMTS 2004 in Chicago.

Toolpaths created in the software were used to find the effect of surface complexity and its distribution on the performance of high-speed machine tools. Being able to quickly vary the density of the surface pattern and reapply a standard toolpath helped to speed up the research. WorkNC’s ability to automatically create a common cutterpath on each new set of geometry made the results compatible between each of the cases being tested. This enabled Dr Ciro Rodriguez to accurately compare and analyse the factors affecting the difference between programmed feedrate with achieved feedrate on a range of high-speed machine tools.

Working in a project based environment and using industrial software and machines has helped the students to obtain a realistic view of all aspects of tool manufacture. Industrial designers at Monterrey are now using WorkNC for their projects to enable them to get an understanding of how their concepts affect the toolmaking process, further cementing ITESM’s four year relationship with Sescoi.

«WorkNC provides the user with visual aids for every step of the machining process and simulates the toolpaths and their trajectories. It is user friendly, and anyone can programme complex machining operations with only a few hours of practice - highly important when students have little experience and demanding time constraints. It also recognises a wide variety of CAD files which makes it easy to reliably import files from other software.», Dr Ciro Rodriguez, about WorkNC’s ease of use

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