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octubre 17, 2005

WorkNC helps to halve downtime at Sermo PM India

Sermo PM India, previously known as Perfect Moulds, was established in 1995 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Voltas Ltd, and became a joint venture company in 2001 between Sermo France, and Voltas. Sermo France has a turnover in excess of €45 million and produces 250 moulds per year. It is now a wholly owned ARRK Group company with a turnover of more than €1.8 billion. Perfect Moulds, (now Sermo PM India), originally specialised in the white goods market but moved into the automotive sector in 1999.

Based in Pune, India, the company includes Tata Motors, General Motors, Ford, Honda and Suzuki amongst its Indian customers, and since 1999 has concentrated exclusively on the automotive market, manufacturing complex medium size moulds for parts such as fenders, trim, gear shift consoles, and glove boxes for European manufacturers.

About 50% of Sermo PM India's production goes to Sermo in France, which also supplies technical support. Initially, French engineers would spend one week in four at Sermo PM India, but now this is much reduced as a result of a successful technology transfer programme, and the development of appropriate skills in-house. In many cases, Sermo France still helps with the optimising of mould performance and the final tool trials with the customer.

Initially, Sermo PM India started using an integrated CAD/CAM package with the aim of simplifying the flow of design and manufacturing data through the factory. Gibson Manthopil, Chief Technical Manager for Sermo PM India said, "Although our existing system had very powerful mould design capabilities, as our requirements became more complex we found that the performance of our integrated manufacturing software did not meet our expectations." Sermo PM India needed specialist CAM software capable of generating toolpaths, which would quickly and efficiently remove large amounts of material. "WorkNC is Sermo's preferred system. Engineers at Sermo France advised us that it was the best system, so it was unnecessary to repeat the evaluation process."

Sermo PM India has another CAM system it uses alongside WorkNC, but Gibson Manthopil says that WorkNC is superior, "The CNC code is right first time and we do not experience any problems with gouging. Additionally, WorkNC's calculation speed is much faster, it considers the stock model between operations, and its graphical toolpath editing is very powerful." The company now uses CATIA V5 for mould design, which works well with WorkNC by transferring only the surfaces that require machining from CAD to CAM, thereby optimising manipulation of the model by keeping file sizes to a minimum.

Down time on the machines has seen a large reduction since the introduction of WorkNC. Gibson Manthopil commented, "Before we had WorkNC it was 30%. Now, where we use WorkNC on steel jobs, down time has been reduced to 12-15%." The company uses tools ranging between 120mm and 1mm diameter, and spindle speeds up to 20,000 rpm. The programmers treat each job individually. Gibson Manthopil continued, "WorkNC is a very productive tool for CNC programmers, enabling them to produce good results by combining their experience and skills with the machining routines and capabilities of the software - intelligent programmers can do wonders."

Sermo PM India is continually striving to improve productivity. Delivery of its tools, which can weigh up to 12 tonnes, being achieved within 8 to 12 weeks. Martin Pinto, Planning Manager, emphasised the benefits of WorkNC, " The way in which the software considers the stock left for machining between programmes is a very good feature. It helps us to eliminate air cutting. Manual editing of the toolpath is also particularly valuable. If the programmer finds a duplicated toolpath he can highlight and remove the duplication very quickly and easily, making the most of our engineering skills and optimising the machining process." Gibson Manthopil concluded, "WorkNC serves it purpose well. We are very happy with the features in the software. These have helped our engineers to produce good results, especially now that moulds are becoming increasingly complex."


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