Jul 08 1999

Deneb/Virtual NC now serves as the pre-production validation tool for all NC programs at British Aerospace Engineering

British Aerospace Engineering has now determined that all NC programs will be validated by Deneb/Virtual NC prior to release to the shop floor. Achieving this new paradigm involved commitment to training, quality model building, understanding processes and simulation tools, upgrading computer hardware and creating a library of British Aerospace Engineering machine fixtures and cutting tools. This investment has had a payback period of less than one year.

Brough, United Kingdom, July 8, 1999--"This program (Virtual NC) is ideal for simulating complex machining cells," stated Neil Hathaway, VNC Engineer, Internal Supply Engineering for British Aerospace Military Aircraft and Aerostructures. "It utilizes 3D models of machining tools, and emulates the machine tool controller and numerical control (NC) program to simulate and help eliminate on-the-floor manufacturing problems related to fixturing, tooling, program errors, and process setup. It identifies areas that are wasteful, which saves our company money and time."

Workcell simulations are used by British Aerospace Engineering to prevent catastrophic program errors. Data collected from the simulations enable the optimization of machining processes. The result is significantly improved "Right the First Time" ratings; reduced collisions from programming errors to zero; reduced the total number of shop floor process prove outs by 60 percent; and reduced the total number of Engineering Queries by 30 percent.

"Through the use of Virtual NC and application of SPC (Statistical Process Control) techniques to the data we collected from the digital analysis, we were able to catch problems related to NC processes, and to find areas within our own engineering processes that could be enhanced, " said Hathaway.

Cost reduction targets for British Aerospace Engineering’s machining facilities included machine tool repairs, damaged and/or scraped work in progress and Engineering Query Notes (EQN). All of these problems are addressed in the Digital Manufacturing environment of Virtual NC, and the detailed reports it provides allows British Aerospace Engineering to analyze important SPC issues.

Virtual NC capabilities allow British Aerospace Engineering to target cost savings areas that include reduction and elimination of the need for "Fresh Air" test runs. It also eliminates the need for feeds and speeds test runs, and it reduces the maintenance of the NC equipment. Furthermore, the software has the ability to reduce the costs of EQN and catch problems with the NC program and/or job set-up prior to production.

To evaluate production goals, British Aerospace Engineering tracked nine areas of their NC Engineering Process. These included: Data Sheet Errors, Job Setup Errors, Feeds and Speeds Programming Errors, NC Process/Flow Errors, JIT Billet Errors, Tooling Errors, Collisions, Probing Errors and Origin Setup Errors.

"Much of the savings and improvements made to the machining facilities are based on their use of Virtual NC. Deneb is honored to be included as a partner in British Aerospace’s SPC program," said Rakesh Mahajan, CEO, Deneb Robotics, Inc.