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Proven Capabilities in AutoPRO

In the heart of Oklahoma lies a community called Broken Arrow. This is where RDS Manufacturing, Inc. is located. RDS recently responded to a mailer that was sent to 25,000 RDS gear imagemerchanical/manufacturing AutoCAD users. RDS was interested in the Intercim's AutoPRO CAM software that runs within ADS (AutoCAD Development System) of AutoCAD.


RDS is a very progressive job shop that specializes in complex manufacturing methods. They had just received a contract to manufacture a 5-axis turning vane. The turning vane was a prototype and was to be machined from a solid piece of steel. The best way to describe the turning vane is it had twenty vanes to be machined from the solid piece of material; all of the vanes were identical and were located on an inverted cone. When viewing the vanes of the turning vane in the plan view (XY plane) the pressure side of the vane as well as the suction side of the vane curved from an open angle to a closed angle with the base of the inverted cone. If this didn't complicate the machining process, the vanes and the surface of the cone had to be machined within .003 inches and a surface finish of thiry-two RMS.


The customer for whom RDS was machining the turning vane wishes to remain anonymous because of competitive sensitivity. However, the customer needed quick turnaround since this was a prototype part that required functional and stress analysis. Since RDS didn't have time to attend the Intercim AutoPRO training course before they needed to deliver the finished machined part, Intercim provided their consulting services to program the turning vane. Don Lackey, one of Intercim's senior consulting engineers, received an IGES file from the RDS customer and imported it into AutoPRO. After validating the data, Don created the tool path to machine the area between the pressure surface of the vane and the alternate vane suction surface. This step removed the bulk of the excess material between the vanes. The next step was to create a 5-axis tool path around the pressure side and the suction side of the vane. As part of Intercim's consulting services, Don spent three days on-site through the complete machining process. He built the postprocessor for the machine that was used to manfacture the turning vanes, using the AutoPRO 5-axis Mill G-POST, in a matter of minutes. The rest of the time he spent monitoring the machining process in case any changes were required to satisfy engineering specifications.


After the machining process was completed, the turning vane was transferred to the quality control department where it received first article inspection on the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). The project engineer for RDS was all smiles when the turning vane left inspection. The project engineer who had recommended the acquisition of AutoPRO was able to ship a quality part on time to his customer. Don Lackey commented, "This was one of the most difficult parts that I have seen programmed with AutoPRO; but because AutoPRO has sculptured surface mesh definitions, the programming was actually completed from start to finish in one day."

After RDS received their training, they increased the number of AutoPRO programming seats and are using AutoPRO for programming all of their twenty five machines, a variety of turning machines and milling machines. This is just one of the success stories for AutoPRO. AutoPRO is now available for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows NT and Unix. With this wide range of computer platforms to pick from, AutoPRO can work for you to solve machining challenges from prototype to production for lathes, mills, routers, plasma torches, water jets, and even tilt wire EDMs.