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DIE & MOULD Tackling greater challenges with CAM solutions

Feb 19, 2019

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) has allowed the manufacturing industry to increase the precision and speed of production. ESPRIT is one such CAM system, which can be used in the entire production process, from design to manufacturing. This article explores the benefits of investing in a CAM software solution, and how it has helped improve programming and manufacturing at Robin Technologies.

Founded in 1980 by Damien Robin, Robin Technologies is based in the county of Chantonnay in the Pays de Loire region, which is the third largest industrial region in France. The company focussed for several decades on manufacturing moulds. After the mould market became less profitable due to intense global competition, Robin Technologies began to apply its skill in Wire-EDM and 2 to 5-axis milling to subcontract machining of complex parts. The Pays de Loire region is home to major manufacturing companies such as, Airbus, Total and the Saint Nazaire shipyards. Robin Technologies became a contractor to these and other manufacturers, providing precision machining services.

The company currently uses 15 numerically controlled machine tools, mainly from ONA and Mazak, to manufacture aeronautical maintenance tools, dyes for the agro-food industry, gearbox parts for the automotive industry, and various parts for the robotics and cosmetics industries. The managers at Robin Technologies continuously invest in the latest CNC machines, new manufacturing technologies and employee training. Speaking on this, Tony Jourdain, Production Manager, explained, “My priority is to give our teams everything they need in order to be as productive as possible, including the latest production technologies and training in equipment and programming. The right CAM solution is a key part of achieving these goals.”

A smart CAM investment

Robin Technologies selected ESPRIT because its complete functionality in milling, turning, multitasking, wire EDM, Swiss-style and B-axis machines enables the company to run its entire machine shop using only one CAM software package. After purchasing ESPRIT, Robin Technologies successfully took the leap to 5-axis and 3D machining, a strategic choice that enables the company to meet the demands of the multiple industries that sustain the Pays de Loire region. “ESPRIT helped us improve our multitasking skills on our Mazak Integrex centres, making it possible to take on more complex projects and expand our manufacturing capabilities,” summarised Frédéric Allard, Turning-Milling Programmer for the company.

ESPRIT allowed Robin Technologies to minimise configurations, tools and maintenance. The time, not devoted to cutting on its Mazak Integrex machine tools, each of which includes two turning spindles for all-in-one machining and a lower turret, has also been reduced. Another strength of ESPRIT is its post-processors, which are tested and certified by the machine tool manufacturer and are open source so that they can easily be modified by the user. “ESPRIT gives us great flexibility,” says Sébastien Giraud, Head of EDM. “Currently, we have three EDM machines of different brands. The postprocessor provided by ESPRIT lets me move programs from one machine to another without difficulty.”

ESPRIT also allows one to maximise the capabilities of its ONA Wire-EDM machines. “It has allowed us to produce sophisticated parts on our ONA 4-axis Wire-EDM machines to high levels of precision,” Giraud said. Also elaborating on the advantages was Damien Roure, Head of ONA France, who claimed, “ESPRIT and the Usiprog distributor help our machines handle with increasingly complex wire cutting. The fast response of the ESPRIT teams is, along with the performance of the software itself, the strongest point of our partnership with ESPRIT.”

Meeting new challenges

Soon after Robin Technologies implemented its new CAM solution, Airbus consulted with the company about producing a very complex gauge, which could only be machined using 5-axis milling. With the help of their sophisticated machine tools and ESPRIT CAM, the team was able to deliver the part on time, and met the quality and cost requirements of the customer.

Advanced training courses enable the company’s programmers to accept even more difficult challenges. For example, they were recently contracted to program a competitive mountain bike wheel hub, which required milling and turning many complex faces. It involved complicated operations like the Z-level roughing and composite spiral finishing. The ESPRIT support team helped Robin Technologies programmers to further develop their programming skills and programme the part in one day. “With the help of ESPRIT reseller, Usiprog, we can overcome all obstacles,” said Damien Berthelot, CAM Manager.

Speed and precision

Thus, CAM technologies have revolutionised the industry, endowing it with speed and precision. By adapting its company strategy to changing market conditions and choosing reliable and experienced partners such as, ESPRIT CAM, Robin Technologies is positioned to succeed in the highly competitive contract machining marketplace.

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  • CAM technologies have revolutionised the industry, endowing it with speed and precision

  • Hélène Horent

    Marketing Specialist EMEA

    DP Technology Europe

    Montpellier, France

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