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Delivering CNC automation in Production

Client: Edwards

Location: West Sussex, UK

VinZero Partner: Cadline

Industry: Manufacturing & Data Management

Autodesk Solutions: Autodesk Fusion 360 Manufacturing Extension, Autodesk PowerMill

OVERVIEW:

Edwards, which is part of the Atlas Copco Group, is a leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated vacuum products, abatement solutions and related value-added services. Its products are integral to manufacturing processes for semiconductors, flat panel displays, LEDs and solar cells. Today, they are used within a diverse range of industrial processes including power, glass and other coating applications, steel, pharmaceutical and chemical, and for both scientific instruments and R&D applications.


Technology and services provider, Cadline, has a longstanding relationship with Edwards stretching back 20 years and has successfully delivered multiple projects with them over that time. Cadine has been Edwards’ main partner for the provision of Autodesk mechanical, electrical and data management solutions that are integrated across Edwards’ design teams in the UK.


SCOPING THE CHALLENGE:

Within the computer aided manufacturing (CAM) side of the business, Edwards had been looking for a way to meet project deadlines more consistently and deliver projects more efficiently. So it started to look for a solution and began working with Cadline to fully understand the challenges it was experiencing in its production facilities.


Platinum Autodesk Partner Cadline had previously typically engaged with the design and engineering functions at Edwards rather than the shop floor. This was now starting to change. In the early days of this new engagement, Cadline worked closely with Autodesk to understand Edwards’ specific requirements. This process includeds a full review of their computer numerical control (CNC) production facilities to establish what machining was being utilised and the manual tasks that were being performed. This included gaining a detailed understand of their existing software being used at the time, their production set-up and machining workflows.


Working in partnership with Autodesk, Cadline’s Advanced Manufacturing team began the process of helping Edwards automate the programming of its turning and 5-Axis CNC machines. For the turning work, Cadline supplied Edwards with the cloud-based 3D modelling tool, Autodesk Fusion 360, a solution capable of automating CNC machine programming, and providing the flexibility for Edwards to work with automated tools and still input legacy data based on its own CNC code, which has been perfected over the years. For 5-Axis work, Cadline provided Edwards with the 3D CAM solution, Autodesk PowerMill®, which can automate


OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS:

Cadline has helped to transform the CAM process at Edwards. As Scott Woolven, Commercial Director, Cadline stated: “One of the big areas of benefit we identified was that Edwards was spending a lot of time taking parts and manually programming them into machines. This involved extracting the part information directly from a CAD file and generating the NC code on the machine tool controller which is now provided automatically as part of that workflow. This has significantly shortened the process for Edwards, saving the company many person-hours in the process.”


“It also allows them to repeat the process so if they reproduce that part in the future, they can just call up the code they used last time. They don't have to reprogram it again,” added Woolven. “So there's lots of downstream efficiencies from them using that particular application.”


LOOKING AHEAD:

Moving forwards, Edwards is looking at how it can best leverage Autodesk software to support other functionality such as 3D generative design and 3D printing. It also has plans to expand the use of Fusion 360 CAM to other countries outside the UK, including to global production facilities, where it has potential to be used to standardise working practices across the group.




Edwards - Manufacturing & Data Mgmt
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