Watch enthusiasts are already familiar with IWC, the International Watch Company. In the case of the CAM division, it is the Missler Software TopSolid'Cam system, that supports the creation of all the necessary NC programs used in the manufacturing of parts, casings and production resources.
|Address:||IWC Schaffhausen, |
Branch of Richemont International SA Hauszentrale Baumgartenstr. 15 8200 Schaffhausen,
Watch enthusiasts are already familiar with IWC, the International Watch Company: Schaffhausen chronometers are known all over the world. Even beautiful objects, such as IWC watches, need precise technology to give them their real value. In the case of the CAM division, it is the Missler Software TopSolid'Cam system, that supports the creation of all the necessary NC programs used in the manufacturing of parts, casings and production resources.
For many people, this name stands for the Rhine Falls , Europe 's largest waterfall. For watch fans however, Schaffhausen stands for IWC, one of the best known and most renowned manufacturers of watches in the world. IWC watches have achieved cult status! Why is this the case?
If one thinks about it, the answer can already be found in the title. IWC watches are very precise. Anyone who wears one can proudly state that their time-pieces do not need to be adjusted for weeks, or even months, as the divergence from real time is simply insignificant. Watches manufactured by IWC have a very long lifespan. Time and again, one meets people proudly displaying their IWC watches from the 1950s on their wrist. They still do their duty after all this time.
In addition to this, IWC produce watches of high durability, for example the”Ingenieur“. A Nuremberg watchmaker put it like this: “If you buy this watch, you won't have to buy another one for the rest of your life! “ This speaks for itself.
Nowadays, IWC produce watches in a variety of models, which represent the elements of earth, water and air. Thus, the Aquatimer clearly belongs to the element of water, the Ingenieur to the element of earth and the pilot's watches, which were reworked thoroughly only this year, to the element of air.
Apart from regular watches, IWC also produce some with more or less elaborate intricacies, such as power reserve, moon phases, chronographer functions, minute repetition and perpetual calendar. Launched in 1993 to celebrate the 125 th anniversary of IWC, the Il Destriero Scafusia, the war-horse from Schaffhausen, a so-called great intricacy, surpassed everything created up to that point.
The Company was founded in 1868 by F. A. Jones, an American from Boston . He laid the foundations for the career of this watch factory. Now, with approximately 500 employees, IWC is owned by Richmont, the group of manufacturers of luxury goods, such as A. Lange & Sons and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Apart from the casings, which are shown here, IWC also build a number of clockworks and additional modules, according to the rising trend. Among them are also the Caliber families 5000 and 8000.
NC programming and real time simulation
Top of the range technology is necessary for construction and development, for NC programming, as well as for production itself.
IWC uses the CAM software, TopSolid'Cam by Missler Software. For processing machines, they strongly rely on Kern and Mikron among other companies. The post processors come from NCDATA, official TopSolid reseller in Switzerland.
In the past, IWC used to work with what we would now consider a simple NC programming system by DLog. “Once we started to work with a 3D Cad system on the one hand and modern processing machines with 5 axes on the other, something also had to happen regarding NC programming“, says Beat Pletscher, the head of Casing Manufacturing. “A market analysis was carried out, in which four to five system providers were considered“, adds Christian Graber , Executive of NC DATA of Schlieren near Zurich .
After an intensive system presentation, Graber and his team from NC Data got the contract. IWC decided in favour of TopSolid'Cam for the following reasons:
- TopSolid'Cam was the only NC programming system with which one was able to work (and is still able to now), ”as if one was standing directly in front of the machine“(Graber). The logic of the operation is the same as the logic of the machining mechanics. This was convenient for IWC as the four TopSolid'Cam jobs are located directly on the workfloor.
- Furthermore, simulation is possible, not just for operations on the cutting edge but for the entire area of work.
- TopSolid'Cam has a direct interface with Solidedge. Therefore, the data can be obtained directly by the NC programming system.
- TopSolid'Cam offers the option of saving methods and customer specific processes, hence productivity is significantly increased.
The NC programming system is currently used for the processes of turning, milling and wire erosion in the departments of Parts Production, Casing Production and Production Resources Manufacture. Programming is carried out with 2, 3 and 5 axes.
“In Casing Production, we increasingly work with 5 axes simultaneously“, Beat Pletscher explains, “for instance, the casings for the current “Ingenieur“, and the “Aquatimer“ was produced using simultaneous 5 axis machining“.
IWC watches made with TopSolid'Cam
TopSolid'Cam is an NC programming system for the production and the calculation of tool paths, particularly for the processes of turning, milling and drilling, as well as all combinations of the above. The system works on the basis of solids. All tool paths are generated by constantly matching two geometric models, the blank and the machined part. By doing this, the blank is updated after every processing step, so that work continues on the current geometry. The benefits of this method are:
- The prevention of collisions
- The generation of the best tool paths possible as the relevant amount of material is always known.
When generating NC programs, one has three “convenience levels“ to choose from:
- A topological analysis only of the model of the part
- Semi-automatic programming based on 2D contours
- Automatic NC program production, using feature technology, whereby the features are also recognised automatically by imported models.
The importing of data is carried out via standard interfaces, such as IGES, STEP, Parasolid, DXF/DWG, SAT or via direct interfaces available for Catia V4/V5, Pro/Engineer, ME10, Solidworks and Solidedge. The system comes, in addition, with a comprehensive library of tools.
TopSolid'Cam has a modern simulation system, with which one can inspect the quality of the tool paths. Conveniently, the entire machine tool with all its processes can be included in the simulation to avoid collisions and reduce the subsequent start-up time.
TopSolid'Cam continuously supports HSC machining. Of course, extensive functions for simultaneous 5-axes machining are available. That's all regarding the software itself.
50% time gains with TopSolid'Cam
The first huge benefit, which TopSolid'Cam has brought to Schaffhausen, was that it saved time. “When the post-processors function perfectly, we save 50% of the time previously used on NC-programming“ explains Joerg Demmerle, who programs the casings on the system.
The second point is feasibility. The current casing designs could not be realised economically without 5-axes technology; for the programming itself, one simply needs a high end system like the one introduced here.
The extensive possibilities for simulation have also proven their worth. Among other things, IWC use multiple clampings for the casings. For this, it is no longer possible to simply perform guess estimates regarding the absence of collisions. Now, only a precise simulation will help.
What also speaks in favour of TopSolid'Cam is that, up to now, every aim of the programming activity has been reached. No project had to be abandoned or even had to be processed with conventional means.
Due to the perfect work in the interplay of programming systems and the machine, the proportion of manual work carried out on the casings is reduced. Another money-saving benefit.
At the end of the day, what else is there to say?
IWC and Missler Software seem to be an excellent match. Standards and possibilities agree. Precision and availability are on both sides.
One can look forward to new developments …
- Karl Obermann -
- IWCDe.pdf743 K