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julio 9, 2005

ZEDES – winning all the way with WorkNC Automatic CAM/CAD

French Group Zedes has specialised in the design and production of plastic and thermoplastic injection moulds for over 20 years. The company sets itself apart by offering turnkey solutions for the design and production of highly complex technical products for automotive, telecom and many other hi-tech sectors including the medical industry.

Zedes has three production sites and one engineering office. Being divided into three small units means the company can be more flexible, innovative, and responsive to meet the diverse requirements of its customers. Regular contact between the technical team at Zedes, its customers and also the engineers at original equipment manufacturers is very important to the company. It often participates in the design of the finished plastic part, and is frequently required to undertake full design study, production, and testing of tooling and equipment. Being able to respond quickly and positively to demands and provide a complete and error-free solution is of paramount importance.

A major factor in the growth of Zedes’ business over the past 10 years has been its use of CAD/CAM software. The company’s engineering office initially used several CAD/CAM systems to enable data exchange with its main contractors, but finally opted for WorkNC and WorkNC-CAD because it was able to handle all the different requirements in one system. Zedes found that WorkNC’s neutral interfaces (STEP, IGES…) proved to be exceptionally reliable, ensuring efficient data exchange. Additionally, the company realised that WorkNC CAM/CAD provided the high level of reliability and performance essential for its business activity, and the bonus of its ease of use meant that all the company’s operators soon adopted the software.

Zedes has one 4-Axis machining centre and several HSM machines. In 1999 it needed to find the best software for its High Speed Machining activity – not only did WorkNC prove to be the best technical solution, it also delivered the best value on the market. The company has never regretted its decision - WorkNC’s developments continue to keep pace with the latest machining technology, and the reliability of its toolpaths remain second to none. Zedes has several CAM operators dedicated to programming with WorkNC. By concentrating on the software they have become highly proficient, enabling them to get the optimum performance from it and produce highly complex parts with shorter and shorter programming times.

Each WorkNC station drives between two and three machining centres, and by using the 3D machining strategies in WorkNC, Zedes has experienced significant savings in producing high speed machining programmes for its steel and copper components. The company is also able to prepare parts for machining including tasks such as part analysis, surface repair and automatic electrode generation using WorkNC-CAD, achieving significant productivity gains from the software tools supplied by Sescoi.

Zedes is particularly pleased with the impact of WorkNC in two specific areas of its business. Firstly, Zedes praises the quality of WorkNC’s toolpaths for its everyday machining activity - roughing, semi-finishing or re-roughing and finishing. Secondly, with the help of WorkNC, the company has developed a complete electrode management system covering electrode creation through to manufacturing which includes automatic generation of the technical documentation.

Having used WorkNC for the past 6 years, Zedes Managing Director Pierre Gauthier can cite some impressive results, “We have halved the time required to create an electrode, and with WorkNC’s HSM strategies we save the same time again when machining”. The number of errors has also fallen, freeing up operators to work on more important tasks. With WorkNC, Zedes can now rough machine with bull-nose cutters, which had previously been impossible. Furthermore, cutter breakage rates have plummeted due to the toolpath reliability and collision prevention in WorkNC.

Zedes views its adoption of WorkNC as a resounding success as it has enabled it to implement efficient production processes within its engineering department, and to make important advances in its battle to improve productivity and quality. According to Walter Neuveux, Zedes’ Engineering Department Manager, “WorkNC is, above all, a solution dedicated to the needs of manufacturers like us. It allows any operator to exploit the software and quickly generate a programme because WorkNC is written with machinists in mind. That isn’t often the case with this type of application and that’s what we appreciated right from the start”.

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