Flying High at Aerostructures, Hamble, Ltd.

Aerostructures (Hamble), Ltd. is an aerospace contractor that was formed six years ago when it split from its former owner, British Aerospace. Located on the south coast of England, AH still provides components for British Aerospace, and has major contracts with Airbus and Boeing.

AH has used VERICUT for many years to check their CATIA and Anvil tool paths. Over the last two years, AH has used Machine Simulation to speed the implementation of several new 5-axis machine tools. To date eight machines have been modeled in VERICUT including a three machine Makino cell, a Hermle vertical 5-axis machine and a Rye bridge type router.

The models were built using a combination of simple primitives and more complex parts (imported from CATIA VERICUT via the CATV interface). Engineers at AH were able to achieve all the goals they set out to, including: reducing programming time, speeding transfer of programs to new machines, ensuring programs were within machine limits, and proving-out programs before installing machines.

There was also an unexpected benefit. The Rye router was purchased for machining composite and sheet metal components. After modeling and testing the machine, it became clear that the bridge height required adjustment in order to machine some parts. The increase in bridge height was made to the model – which in then indicated modifications were needed to the holding fixtures.

They inserted a 50mm riser block to raise the bridge before installing the machine. This ability to check, and if necessary alter, a machine specification prior to purchase was not anticipated but has now become standard practice at AH.

Bill Taylor, production engineering manger, commented, “The use of VERICUT Machine Simulation has been a critical factor in the successful implementation of our new 5-axis machines.”