Precision machining - PCBA tooling solutions

Company Overview

Ascentec Engineering was established in 2001 by a team of process and manufacturing engineers all with a solid background in electronics manufacturing processes. The founders brought with them experience in designing innovative and productivity-enhancing tools and fixtures that held up to the technology changes within the industry. They gained an enviable reputation as an EMS industry leader for tooling solutions.

In 2007, Ascentec began a Precision Machining division focused on providing quick-turn prototype and short-run production contract machining, along with integrated assembly services.

Challenges

It's an unhappy day indeed when a CNC machine crashes and it may take days, perhaps weeks, for the damage to be assessed and repaired. During that time, the shop staff not only loses the machine's productive capacity but worries that it may not be possible to restore the machine to its previous ability to hold tight tolerances.

It is bad enough when a vertical 3-axis CNC mill crashes, but when it happens to a 5-axis system that costs many times more, the downside is more serious. With this in mind, Ascentec Engineering began researching the market for advanced machine simulation software when it anticipated the installation of its first 5-axis horizontal machining center in 2011.

After narrowing the field to two simulation packages, the company selected NCSIMUL Machine from SPRING Technologies Inc. based on the software's capabilities, ease of use and integration with its Mastercam CAM software from CNC Software Inc., Tolland, Conn., noted David Gilliat, director of manufacturing and machining technology for Ascentec.

Key Benefits

Ascentec's 4- and 5-axis manufacturing systems have grown to five machines. The equipment is used extensively for production and prototyping projects in support of the company's aerospace and semiconductor-manufacturing customer base. During this time, there has not been a single crash. After 2 days of training, the company's four multiple-access programmers had a solid working knowledge of the software and its primary features. NCSIMUL Machine is accessible to a programmer through a single click in the Mastercam programming environment. Ascentec personnel still use the CAM software's simulation features when programming, but they push the button and run it through NCSIMUL Machine before they post the code to a multiaxis machine.

NCSIMUL Machine analyses the machine-specific G code and how the machine will perform based on actual machine and controller characteristics. This analysis, which takes about 15 minutes, results in :

  • Detection of coding errors
  • Analysis of machine performance
  • Verification of the simulated part's geometry
  • Automatic flagging of unacceptable conditions

During the past several years, Ascentec's machining department has experienced substantial sales growth, nearly doubling each year for the past 3 years-much of it is attributable to the company's expanding 4- and 5-axis machining capabilities. Simulation software has positively influenced this expansion. In addition, customer service has improved.

"High-speed manufacturing has been one of the greatest strengths of our business, helping to produce higher-quality work and shorten turnaround times for our customers. The fact we are investing in things like NCSIMUL to protect the equipment that their products are running on is important to them. Our customers have taken notice, which will allow us continually grow in this direction."

David Gilliat
Director of Manufacturing and Machining Technology

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