SOMAB and NUM, a successful, long-standing partnership

Five-axis machining, three-axis turning, trimming, grinding, slotting and much more: when SOMAB decided to equip its flagship machine, the Genymab, it was only natural to turn to NUM, its long-standing partner. Founded in 1985, the SOciété de Mécanique d’Automatismes du Bourbonnais has inherited the expertise of Ernault Somua whose machines are known around the world.

Genymab is based on a simple concept: To pass directly from the blank to the finished product regardless of the operations involved. For this reason, two additional axes, Y and B, have been added to the classic X, Z and C axes. Many options allow for adapting this machine to specific needs: a number of tools available in store, various touch-sensing probes, a second mobile head and a machining surface, to mention just a few. These components are installed on a reconstituted granite base which naturally dampens vibration. The boundaries were pushed even further thanks to the NUMDrive C servo drives with their high performance control loop algorithms.

Often, the best solutions are recognized by their ease of application. Genymab is no exception. Originally featuring Axium Power, this multi-function machining center has been remodeled to use Flexium CNC and take advantage of its most advanced features. The change of the C-axis spindle from turning to milling and vice versa, and the validation of an inclined surface are done naturally through a simple G code which validates the structure changes and authorizes the corresponding features.

Let’s take a closer look at the trimming aspect. NUM added an ’electronic speed drive‘ to its standard software which allows for synchronization between the main milling cutter and the piece to be cut; the many parameters for straight or helical gears for trimming, with different options for shifting, are also taken into account. Linked to its design, the rigidity of the tool head enables these operations to be carried out with the required machining quality. Safety hasn’t been forgotten. The synchronization process is constantly monitored in order to signal an emergency in the case of an unexpected event. The drives store enough energy to keep the machine going in the event of a power outage.

This machine does not have the classical trimming structure; it features the necessary assets to produce all kinds of structural shapes. Here, the workpiece is on the main turning spindle rather than on a specific axis - the X (pass engagement) and Y (shifting) axes are inverted. It was a simple matter of adapting the algorithm’s parameters to this feature. Programming a trim is done in a single line which gives the number of gear teeth to trim, the number of threads on the main milling cutter, and the angle of the helix. Different depth cycles allow the final product to be obtained.

Flexium’s increased power allows performance to be improved even further; benefits include a shorter selection time and more efficient automation, whilst maintaining complete programming compatibility –excluding the new functions of course. The HMI customization options, particularly in terms of graphics, will simplify the machine’s operation. The FX3D simulation allows a 3D model of the workpiece to be created (milling is in the process of being developed), but even more importantly, it prevents any serious consequences by detecting potential collision problems, which are sometimes hard to foresee when it comes to complex structures.

The programming at the heart of the machine has not been forgotten. Genymab is equipped with specific ergonomics programming which is supported by the FXCAM.

However, even the best system cannot function without human input. This is another area where NUM offers customers a choice to help secure the optimum solution for each project. There are three options: 

  • Active participation: NUM offers its expertise in automation and guarantees assistance and advice.
  • Active co-operation: Sharing of know-how between the client teams, and production in partnership with the client.
  • The global solution: NUM becomes the project manager and takes care of everything from the project specifications to the commissioning, training and maintenance.

In this case, participation and co-operation strategies have been developed to help familiarize SOMAB with the new aspects of the equipment, such as simulation and trimming.

This co-operation certainly proved efficient but let’s hear what Mr Jacquard, Director of SOMAB, has to say: “Genymab is a machine that can do almost anything if it’s coupled with efficient digital control. NUM proved to be the supplier that is able to efficiently operate this type of machine. The proof is that the integration of the gear trimming function has been done quickly and without problems.”

Once again, NUM’s slogan applies perfectly: Offering advanced digitalization solutions to our partners in order to develop a competitive advantage that’s in everyone’s interest.

(September 2014)