Simulation Gets Real
Meloche Group has four facilities. Three of them, totaling 72,000 sq ft, are in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The first handles CNC milling, CNC turning and engineering. The second covers surface treatment and assembly. Inventory management (with room for future expansion) is in the third facility. The fourth facility in Bromont is 16,000 sq ft and focusses exclusively on CNC turning.
To maintain flexibility in such a complex environment requires the right software.
“We have created very representative 3D simulations of our machining, which is typically used more often in our front offices,” says Desrochers. “It decreases the time spent on the shop floor.”
Meloche has 25 CNC turning and machining centres,including five axis machining, with every part prepared by its CAD system. The part is programmed, with the final check done with a simulation driven by VERICUT software. All of Meloche’s NC programs need simulation in order to be approved for production.
“Of course, we check the program for collision detection,” says Desrochers. “However, the main advantage for us is the over travel detection.”
VERICUT, which is owned and distributed by Irvine, CA based CGTech, is a popular solution in the Quebec aerospace market–of the company’s 15 technicians, two of them are in the Montreal area.
“More than 15 schools in Quebec, from trade schools to universities, are using VERICUT in their curriculum,” says Serge Viau, a sales representative at CGTech. “All told, 90 percent of all aerospace companies in Quebec are using VERICUT.”
In Meloche’s experience, VERICUT has allowed the company to spend less time on the pre-production process, because the load on the shoulders of the NC programmer is decreased.
“They don’t need to spend time to figure out the kinematics of the machine,” says Desrochers. “VERICUT will do the final check.”
By removing all of the testing and proving from the shop ahead of time, simulation allows for machines to always be in production. Viau from CGTech estimates that VERICUT can provide about a ten percent time savings for these machines–which can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.