Product: NX CAM
Industry: Aerospace y Defense
CAD/CAM integration optimizes production data creation
Manufacture of high quality and precision parts with simultaneous and multi-axis machinery
Heiwa Sangyo Co., Ltd. (Heiwa Sangyo) manufactures products that require high quality and precision, including aircraft engines and structures, high-speed rail transport components and rocket parts. The company specializes in simultaneous and multi-axis machinery, in addition to the manufacture of molds. Heiwa Sangyo has a diverse set of machinery tools. In this context, NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software, has become indispensable as a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) main system.
With operations in Funabashi and Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture, as well as Komagane in Nagano Prefecture, Heiwa Sangyo uses two other systems besides NX: one exclusively for computer-aided design (CAD) and the other for CAM only. The use of NX as an integrated CAD/CAM system is on the rise.
NX (formerly known as Unigraphics software®) was initially implemented in Heiwa Sangyo in the late 1990s. At the time, the company used a very expensive numerical control (NC) programming system that did not offer a favorable cost-benefit ratio. Heiwa Sangyo had many heavy industry customers and considered expanding his businesses and moving on to manufacturing energy-efficient molding tools. The company chose NX for its lower cost and because it was widely used in the energy-efficient molding sector.
At the time of its introduction, NX was used for mold manufacturing, but also helped Heiwa Sangyo acquire new businesses. “NX is the leading CAD/CAM solution in the field of aircraft engines,” explains Yasuhiro Yao, president of Heiwa Sangyo. “Previously, design work was done in 2D, but from 2000, motorcycle companies switched to using 3D and the tool used was NX. That’s why the use of NX generated new orders for our company.”
CAD/CAM integration accelerates production data creation
Heiwa Sangyo manufactures parts based on design data provided by its customers. Customers usually provide only the model of the finished part with some machinery instructions and other documents. Heiwa Sangyo engineers must create additional data for the manufacturing process, including the design of fasteners and fasteners. “The modeling process for creating manufacturing data is quite complex,” explains Shinichi Ohara, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Heiwa Sangyo. “With CAD and CAM linking, NX is extremely effective in solving this challenge.”
Heiwa Sangyo uses NX in all processes, from the moment customer data is received until machinery tools are put up and running. In many projects, Heiwa Sangyo must create drawings from designs by using NX’s sketching resources. When machinery involves so many steps and various types of machinery tools, engineers use NX to create work instructions and processing plans. “NX is a complete CAD/CAM solution that we use when we need to move from design and drawing to plant production,” says Ohara.
Working with customer data
In many cases, customer-supplied design data is not in the native NX format. In such cases, the company imports data into NX in common intermediate formats such as the Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP) or the Parasolid® software format.
NX synchronous technology modeling resources are particularly useful when working with imported data. “We lose the original parameters when importing the provided data and end up with a model that we can’t review with conventional modeling,” says Ohara. “In that case, the use of synchronous technology allows us to resize holes or move surfaces in models that have no history, so we use it a lot.”
Heiwa Sangyo also uses NX modeling features for troubleshooting when there are incidents when converting data from other systems. Translation problems require additional time to clean up and repair data and can affect the production schedule. Data conversion issues become even more serious when 3D data is provided without blueprints, as the company must work only with the shape data. “Depending on the system used to create the part model, problems such as lack of surfaces can occur when importing data,” Ohara explains. “NX is able to easily read and edit that data, even if there is a problem. NX is very useful for repairing data when conversion problems occur.”
Post Builder achieves maximum performance in machinery tools
Because Heiwa Sangyo is in the real product manufacturing business, the company must be able to create NC code for a wide variety of machinery tools and controller configurations. More than 15 types of postprocessors are needed for the operation of the company’s machinery tools. Creating these processing-res can be very difficult and Heiwa Sangyo engineers use the built-in NX CAM Post Builder resource to improve this process.
Prior to NX CAM, Heiwa Sangyo leaned on other companies to create postprocessors. “With the CAM system we used before, we outsourced the development of the necessary postprocessors for each machine tool,” Ohara says. “We had to buy the processors for each machine tool, but we couldn’t add or change anything for them. One thing we love about NX CAM is its ability to quickly customize postprocessors. It gives users dedicated features in an easy-to-use user interface that responds to requests from CAM users.” Yao sums up the merits of post-processing with NX: “the postprocessor was a black box, but with NX Post Builder we can now create it and adjust it ourselves”.
Reduced to half the training time
In an industry where CAD/CAM usage increases every day, NX helps reduce the cost and time required for staff training. “Other systems are hardly dedicated to CAM or CAD, so you have to learn two tools to use them as a CAD/CAM system. NX is an integrated CAD/CAM solution, so it only requires half the training time,” says Ohara. Features that enable intuitive creation and editing of models, such as synchronous technology, are effective when used by engineers with some CAD skills.
Confidence in system development and support
Prior to NX, Heiwa Sangyo used another CAM system as the primary solution. The other system was considered easier to use for simultaneous multi-axis machines, which is the company’s specialty. However, changes in the continuous development of that system focused more on design functions than cam and the system lost its previous advantages.
“The direction of development (furthest from production) is evident in the characteristics of each system,” Yao says. “At that point, I think NX is a tool that has developed constantly over a long period of time.”
Heiwa Sangyo also values support as one of the key reasons for using NX as its main system. “NX provides valuable tool libraries and tool holders, even for tasks we perform on other systems,” says Shinichi Ohara, who manages the NX operation at Heiwa Sangyo. “In addition to CAM’s core features, NX also supports peripheral technologies such as templates and design libraries used in CAD. I think full support is the most important reason why we’ve been able to use NX our way. We can talk directly to the developer and, for a company of our size, direct communication becomes personal and reassuring.”
Finding the future of manufacturing
Heiwa Sangyo sees many advantages in NX, for example, software compatibility with the advanced resources of the latest machine tools. The company is also attuned to NX’s potential under Siemens, which also manufactures industry-leading machine tool controllers and has a reputation for being a facilitator for complex, high-performance machinery. “Siemens is an established leader in the field of CNC controllers for simultaneous, multi-axis machine tools,” says Yao. “NX is part of the same Siemens brand. From the user’s point of view, this technological integration lays the foundation for solving next-generation problems.”
Heiwa Sangyo is independently expanding the use of NX by linking it to quality control systems. Quality is an important element for companies involved in the manufacture and delivery of real products that meet high consumption standards. Currently, the company uses NX to create customers’ production NC data and send it to machinery tools. Heiwa Sangyo is developing a system to support high-quality manufacturing throughout the process, which will represent a significant competitive advantage. “We want to be able to take a manufacturing result and elevate quality to a higher level by accumulating and analyzing those results,” Yao says.