Omron Develops Micro-Milling Techniques with Cimatron CAD/CAM software
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of precision parts and devices for a wide range of industries
- The shrinking size of electronic parts, particularly in mobile phones, requires higher accuracy and precision in molds.
- A competitive market means a need to reduce development time.
Cimatron NC Solution, 3X-MILL, DI
- Faster and higher quality mold creation
- Significantly improved toolpath quality
- Dramatically fewer mistakes, leading to lower man-hours and costs
- Exploring potential to make high-precision steel molds without EDM
Omron Micro gets smaller and faster with Cimatron
Omron Micro develops and manufactures electronic parts and devices, with a focus on digital home electronics, mobile terminals, and office and automation equipment. As these are all fields in which devices are shrinking as rapidly as time-to-market pressures are growing, Omron recognized that to maintain its market position, it needed to upgrade its mold machining capabilities.
Pushing the limits of high-precision micro milling
“We have recently seen a marked increase in the need for micro milling,” said Kyoichi Okamoto, the manager of Omron’s engineering and micro machining center. “Our engineers are always trying to break through the limits of micro machining in order to give us a competitive advantage.”
Omron’s micro machining center had been utilizing a CAD/CAM system for designing and making molds, but some time ago it became clear that it was no longer adequate.
Noritaka Tanabe, the engineer in the engineering and micro machining center, said: “In addition to the inherent difficulties of making high-precision molds, our customers are imposing increasingly tighter lead times. So, we looked for an efficient CAD/CAM system that would enable us to make extremely high-quality molds in a very short time.”
“For example, to make a 0.3 mm pitch connector, the shape of the mold that makes the small hole of the connector is like a needle. We chose our new CAD/CAM system based on its ability to make such a small needle effectively. In addition, it was important that the CAD/CAM system support the 50,000 rpm machining system that we recently installed.”
Cimatron earns top marks
Omron compared numerous CAD/CAM systems, carefully benchmarking the contenders. In the end, only Cimatron made the cut.
“I believe Cimatron is the ideal system for high-precision machining,” says Mr. Tanabe. “It is easy to make the cutter path, which gives us a high degree of flexibility. In addition, with the template functionality of Cimatron, it is easy to set up the CAM parameters, and this function is also useful for standardizing the know-how of the team. These were decisive factors in our decision to install Cimatron.”
The combination of speed and quality enabled by Cimatron’s advanced algorithm helped bring the solution to first place on Omron’s list. Mr Tanabe notes that numerous Cimatron functions impressed him, including its optimization function for recognition of stock, the constant control of cutter load, the rounding motion for sharp corners, and the holder gauge check.
Fewer mistakes means time savings
Since Omron began using Cimatron, it has dramatically improved path quality, reducing the number of times paths need to be corrected, and hence reducing man-hours needed to make each mold.
“With our old system, there was a risk of failure at the final milling, creating an improper cutter path that could damage the machine and tools,” recalls Mr. Tanabe. “Now, we have dramatically reduced that risk. Moreover, with our improved milling capabilities, we have eliminated copper electrode burr. Overall, we have drastically cut the time for these machining.”
Future plans inspired by Cimatron capabilities
Looking forward, Omron has ambitious plans for micro machining. “I would like to make a hard steel mold without EDM,” says Mr. Tanabe. “This is dependent on us being able to make minute cuts with high accuracy, but I believe that Cimatron will enable us to overcome this challenge.”
“Cimatron offers the best performance in Z direction control, which gives us finer, free control of the cutter path. The advanced high-precision machining capabilities we have gained with Cimatron open great potential for us to produce a greater variety of parts.”