Jul 11, 2011

WorkNC CAM software gives China’s biggest bus manufacturer a 20% speed advantage

The Yutong Bus Co in Zhengzhou China has dramatically cut its programming times with Sescoi’s WorkNC CAM software. Yutong Bus is one of China’s 500 top enterprises and has the capacity to manufacture 180 buses per day from its 1.12 million sq m industrial park. It can trace its roots back to 1963 and is now China’s biggest bus manufacturer, and in sales volume is second in the world to Mercedes-Benz. 2010 was marked by the 40,000th bus rolling off the production line, and in 2011 its new hybrid bus won the ‘Best New Energy Bus’ award at the Beijing International Exhibition for Buses, Trucks and Components.

The company focuses on providing a high quality vehicle while maximizing profitability and it has optimized its manufacturing processes with this in mind. Mr Chen, Manager of Yutong’s mold production facility realized that by introducing advanced CAM software he could raise the productivity of his CNC machinery, optimize the performance of the cutting tools and cut program preparation times, making the manufacture of highly accurate mold tools simpler and faster.

The company uses WorkNC to produce tooling for body panels, doors, and plastic injection molds for other bus components, and it continually monitors the performance of the software to ensure maximum productivity. Before the introduction of WorkNC, preparing and calculating the CNC toolpaths used to take up more than half of the production time, so the time savings produced by WorkNC not only greatly improved efficiency, but also significantly cut labor costs. Mr Chen says, “With WorkNC, the pressure on our CNC programming resources has been eliminated, thanks to its logical and automated programming steps. The software has saved us a considerable amount of time and gives us an opportunity to further optimize our manufacturing processes. When compared with other CAM software, we found that WorkNC’s calculation speed was on average 20% faster.”

Yutong Bus also discovered that the quality of WorkNC’s roughing and re-roughing toolpaths and dynamic stock model set it apart from other CAM systems available in the Chinese market. By updating the model as cutting progresses, the system automatically knows the exact location of excess material enabling it to minimize duplicated and wasted cutterpaths. The same applies to WorkNC’s finishing toolpaths which keep tool loading low and constant. Mr Chen says, “WorkNC has enabled us to improve the surface finish and quality of our molds. Not only is it fast, but it controls cutter loading with techniques such as climb milling and spiral feed movements. We are very satisfied with the machining and remachining strategies it produces, which reduce tool wear and breakage and shorten the overall machining times.”

The ease of use of WorkNC and its ergonomic interface has produced further benefits for Yutong Bus. Mr Chen adds, “With the other programming software we use, the training required is one or two months before our engineers are fully proficient. This is very expensive and involves a heavy investment in human resources. With WorkNC new employees can be trained to a high standard in just one or two weeks. This saves us a considerable amount of time and cost, enabling more people to use the system, greatly increasing the flexibility of our workforce.”

The company appreciates the intelligence built into WorkNC. High quality postprocessors, tool libraries and fast and efficient toolpaths have maximized the efficiency of the Yutong Bus’ CNC machinery. These improvements have added value to the company’s products and have helped it to offer its customers even better vehicles.