Page 34 - MetalForming January 2015
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Precision Programming Enriches the
3D Laser- Cutting Process
No company feels the pain of shrinking lead times more than prototype shops. Case in point: Accu-Rite Industries, where the adoption of high-speed 3D laser-cutting technology paired with CAD/CAM programming software represent clear success triggers.
 Design and manufacture of seat- ing components and assem- blies represent some of the trickiest aspects of automobile pro- duction. Simply stated, seats challenge engineers as they must simultaneous- ly satisfy goals related to safety and health, as well as driver and passenger comfort. Seating components—includ- ing their many stamped and fabricated metal parts—must account for
ergonomic considerations, vibration suppression and strength.
Key to the remarkable advances made in automotive-seating engineer- ing is prototype development, the spe- cialty of Accu-Rite Industries, Shelby Township, MI. The firm works with sev- eral OEMs and Tier One suppliers to develop reclining-mechanism compo- nents, slide tracks, shells and frame parts, reinforcing brackets, hinges,
Accu-Rite programmer Mike Winkler explains how with just a few mouse clicks, programming moves from the CAD part model to cutting-fixture design (with supporting-rib geometry included), and on to cut-path formulation. The soft- ware considers cutting-machine and cut- ting-head kinematics and geometry to eliminate collision hazards.
latches and locks.
Amongst the tools in the firm’s
proverbial manufacturing toolbox are, of course, stamping presses (350- to 750-ton hydraulic models), as well as press brakes, machining centers and coordinate-measuring machines. The newest star on its shop floor: a five- axis 3D laser-cutting machine, a TLH- series model from NTC America, with a work envelope of 177 by 45 by 20 in. Equipped with a 2-kW fiber laser, the state-of-the-art workhorse boasts cut- ting and positional accuracy rated to 0.0015 in., and a pallet changer to opti- mize throughput. It takes Accu-Rite’s ability to trim stamped prototype parts to a new level of efficiency and quality.
“We need the highest levels of accu- racy available in the industry,” says Accu-Rite vice president John Loudon,
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