“We had considered verification software before, but I never really saw the whole picture until the presetter came into play,” Carper explained. “It was like, ‘wow,’ if I was going to do this without this piece of equipment it would be extremely time-consuming.”
Pat Cratty, BIG Kaiser’s assistant product manager of tool measuring systems, worked with the Peterson team to standardize this process and others by making the relatively simple adjustment from negative to positive offsets on some machines. In other words, the machines measure the tool in terms of gage lengths instead of from the tool to the part.
With that simple change done, the software can now take a 3D model of the tool generated by the presetter, the planned G-code, and the machine specifications to identify coding errors, potential crashes and travel limits. Previously, tools would either not be modeled or Carper would sit down with a pair of calipers and draw them out.
“Now, we just drop the tool in the presetter, hit scan and it creates a model for us in about 10 minutes,” Carper explained. “Before, it would take three to four times longer to draw the tool by hand. I didn’t realize how much it was going to help and save until we got it up and going, especially as we get into more advanced five-axis work. We can start working things out way before it’s out on the machine, taking up time.”
As discussed earlier, the presetter introduced time savings in some creative ways, including eliminating resets and touch-offs altogether with some tools, as well as expediting delicate five-axis setups and processes. It’s also accomplished the main thing that machining professionals expect of presetters: move setups offline.
“Before, it would just be me or the setup person with an indicator and I’d take up 20 or 30 minutes of machine time dialing in my tools. Now I can get that all done offline,” Carper said. “I just load the offsets in, press ‘go’ and it just runs.”
Added Ronda Peterson, “We have always dialed in the tools between one and two-tenths runout. You can only imagine how much time that took, and the fact that we’re doing that outside of the spindle is definitely a big advantage for the shop.”
It was, in part, Peterson Machining’s investment in high-end machinery that inspired the addition of the FUTURA. Its biggest yet is planned this summer: a 46,000-lb DMC 85 FD RS6. The DMG Mori mill-turn machine will use HSK 63 tooling. As with the other five-axis machinery at Peterson Machining, the intent is for the Speroni presetter to play a big role in making the most of the new addition.
“The presetter is really going to come into play because we do a lot of lights-out production,” Peterson said. “The presetter will allow us to set up sister tools and designate setups in such a way that we can be confident.”
The precision and capability of the FUTURA has already proven critical, and with one eye always on the future, Peterson trusts that the pearlitic class 40 cast iron build of the presetter will pay off too. “We like the construction of the machine because longevity is important to us,” Carper said. “Since we buy high-end machine tools that we plan to last 20 years, we needed something really solid that would last as long as the machines.”
For more information from BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., go to www.bigkaiser.com or phone 888-866-5776.