Bärtschi Mechanik GmbH based in Switzerland, is a specialist in the manufacturing of very small milled aluminum parts, particularly for electronics and research component housings. On account of heightened market requirements, production needed to be made more efficient. An important step in this direction was their investment in the 3D CAD/CAM software: TopSolid 7. The team from Missler Software Switzerland AG successfully supported its deployment.
Soon after the company was founded, the company had already procured a CNC machining center. Yet it quickly became clear that a CAM system is indispensable for programming. Back then, a 2.5D CAM solution was procured. For several years, this simple CAM system gave good service, but was unfortunately unable to keep pace with the developments in the CAD/CAM field.
Soon it became clear that a new 3D CAD/CAM system was required. The choice was made for TopSolid 7, as this software offers a fully-integrated CAD/CAM solution. This means that you work on one and the same user interface: there is no interface between CAD and CAM. Since Bärtschi Mechanik also does design, this integrated solution offers enormous advantages.
TopSolid 7 with integrated PDM
Another major advantage of TopSolid 7 is the already-integrated PDM. Thanks to the PDM it is possible to adapt the system even more flexibly to the customer’s wishes, whether on the CAD or the CAM side. Through a combination of CAD/CAM and PDM, customer-specific templates, tool lists, set-up documents, etc., can be easily generated.
After installing Topsolid 7, Bärtschi Mechanik also quickly observed that the processes in setting up repeated parts were not optimal, or else that too much time was lost looking for tools. This applied in particular for very small tools, with diameters of less than 1 mm. With such small tools, unambiguous optical identification is no longer possible. This inspired Bärtschi Mechanik to create a tool list with the storage location of the tools. With the support of the Missler Software Switzerland team, tool administration including tool list could be established, enabling fast and clear tool set-up for jobs. The tool list is automatically generated based on data from the CAM program.
The tool lists are based on three libraries. Firstly, the tool holders: here are stored the precise CAD models of the mountings used, with the corresponding identification. Secondly, the cutting tools: here are stored all cutting tools, defined with geometric precision, with cutting lengths, corner radii, chamfers, etc., so that later the component corresponds in the CAM to the simulation, down to the finest detail. Thirdly, the complete tools: here, the "married" tools are stored, i.e.: assemblies of mountings and cutting tools with a defined extension. Each model of a complete tool is also pictorially represented in the tool list with the corresponding identification data. In addition, these models are used for machine simulation.
Building up such libraries is time-consuming, but the considerable reduction in time spent on setting up more than makes up for this. Furthermore, the clear tool definitions mean there are no misunderstandings, and this contributes significantly to the secure reproducibility of products.
"After discussions with our partners, who design using other CAD systems without PDM, and later incur major expense in buying a PDM to go with it and having to adapt to it, it was clear to us that the ready-integrated PDM in TopSolid 7 constituted an enormous advantage. Thanks also to this PDM it is possible to adapt the system even more flexibly to customer wishes, whether on the CAD or the CAM side. This was undoubtedly the right decision!”, Jean-Paul Bärtschi.
The strong points of the TopSolid Design 7 application at Bärtschi Mechanik :
- TopSolid 7 PDM: the key to increased efficiency
- Fully-integrated CAD-CAM-PDM solution
- Tool management of individual components
- Complete tool through to warehouse management