Cosworth Racing Integrates Walter TDM Tool Management into Manufacturing Systems
Case study/Application note from Walter GB
Date: 26 October 2004
Not only is the installation of Walter GB’s TDM Tool Data Management system at Cosworth Racing forecast to help rationalise tools, but by being the first automotive manufacturer in Europe to fully integrate the system with Unigraphics CAD/CAM and VERICUT NC program verification, this renowned motor sport manufacturer will also generate further valuable savings in production engineering lead times and resource.
In addition to closely integrating manufacturing systems, the world-class automotive manufacturer is also planning to utilise TDM’s additional Internet access functionality (myTDM.com) to enable other company departments – in particular design – to have real-time access to comprehensive tool data, to thus streamline the design-for-manufacture process.According to Nigel Powell, senior R & D engineer at the 550-employee Northampton site and whose role within the Manufacturing Development Centre focuses on investigating, and where appropriate implementing, improved manufacturing systems and processes, improved tool management was clearly a prime candidate for scrutiny.”The former tool management system had been in use for around 10 years and it was old technology that was isolated from the business – it really didn’t offer our production engineers any benefits other than being a simple, albeit capable, inventory control tool,” he reflects. “Using the system we couldn’t, for example, quickly find enough information to know which of the available tools was best suited to a certain machining operation.
“Coupled with that, we needed to rationalise our tool inventory which had grown out of proportion over the years.
“Importantly, too, we wanted a system that would offer a central database of tools and could ‘communicate’ and integrate seamlessly with our CAD/CAM and machining program verification systems. This would eliminate the need to continually enter specific tool data at varying intervals throughout process planning – from design through CAM programming, tool selection, cutting process selection, tool path generation, post-process and verification.”
Cosworth Racing’s impeccable motor sport pedigree spans from 1958. Its first race win, in 1960 by Jim Clark at Goodwood, was followed seven years later by the first Formula One win (Jim Clark again) and to date embraces a total of 176 Formula One wins (including driver and constructor championships), over 200 CART and Indycar race wins, and 45 World Rally Championship event wins.
The Northampton site manufactures most of the major engine components for a wide number of customers in F1, WRC, Champ Cars, USA Speedworld, Moto GP and MotoX – including heads, blocks, cranks, cams, rods and pistons using a comprehensive range of three-, four- and five-axis machine tools.
When it is known that a typical F1 engine comprises anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 components, it is no surprise that the tool inventory had grown to around 20,000 items though, says Nigel Powell, “when it comes to the rationalisation of our tool inventory, it is hard to put an exact figure on the expected savings. For instance, we don’t know exactly how many
tools were duplicated or how many were redundant since, in the old system, analyses were difficult to perform and data was inconsistent and unreliable”.
He continues: “Sometimes the role of the Manufacturing Development Centre means making step changes rather than evolutionary progression, and the technology and functionality on offer with TDM will allow us to do just that with our tool management system.”
While a main benefit of Walter’s TDM Tool Data Management system is its ability to reduce tool variety/stock and gain cost savings of up to 30 per cent, the software can also:
Reduce planning times by up to 35 per cent;
Minimise machine set-up costs by up to 30 per cent;
Cut machine downtimes by up to 80 per cent; and
Control and manage orders, again reducing costs.
Planning – for the management of tool components, complete assemblies and tool kits;
Technology – cutting data via the Tool Light functionality;
Tool crib – cost centre management of tool stocks as well as tools in use;
Measuring products organisation – an essential component of any QA system, the module can be applied to every measuring/inspection device to meet the requirements of DIN ISO 9000-9004;
Ordering – based on purchasing proposals generated by stock control;
Tool circulation – dialogue specifically designed to support production in terms of tool commissioning, assembly and pre-setting;
Bar code – for the efficient and effective management of a large number of tool movements; and
Pre-setting – tool assemblies and master data can be sent to or read directly by pre-setting equipment.
The system features a Windows-format overlay that simplifies operating functions such as cut, copy and paste. Users can adapt the overlay to their own special requirements. An integrated explorer bar clearly presents all modules, while with the ‘viewer’ (a graphic indicator) both 2- and 3-D tool graphics can be displayed, with 3-D graphics being delivered to existing simulation systems through integrated interfaces. All other document types such as doc, xls, ppt as well as media files can be stored and accessed by the user.
In addition to being integrated with the complete Walter Tool Catalogue, which contains more than 4,000 CAD graphics, TDM can also interface with catalogues from other suppliers, giving users access to over 250,000 supplier parts.
If these features alone weren’t enough for Cosworth Racing, Nigel Powell says it was certainly the software’s ability to be integrated with the company’s Unigraphics CAD/CAM and VERICUT NC program verification systems that gave TDM the advantage over other tool management solutions. This, combined with the additional myTDM.com Internet Explorer-based ‘viewer’ that effectively delivers the database via an Intranet to any number of simultaneous users, made the decision easy.
“Few tool management system providers talk openly about achieving integrated links with other systems,” says Nigel Powell. “But we knew that enormous savings are on offer through streamlining our production engineering process by using a common, centralised tool database that feeds information into both CAD/CAM and verification systems.
“In addition to the obvious time savings gained by not having to re-enter tool data at varying stages of the production process, the utilisation of a central databank also eliminates the ‘guesswork’ of tool selection – users can view a drawing or 3-D model of the proposed tool in an instant.”
With a scheduled ‘go-live’ date of the full-blown system early in 2005, Cosworth Racing is including the myTDM.com functionality in this timeframe. “Long term we also want to make seats of TDM available to our purchasing department as well as our tool and gauge stores teams, and manufacturing. MyTDM will allow anyone in the company access to tooling data without leaving their desks, making everyone even more efficient,” concludes Nigel Powell.
“Motor sport component lead times are continually being squeezed. In this business, responsiveness to changing demand is vital, but at the same time any cost savings we can make effectively benefit the bottom line!”
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