Software investment beefs up Mollart Engineering's response to mould and die order surge

2 min read

Investment in software to generate NC programs for its deep hole drilling and milling machines has boosted Mollart Engineering’s ability to cope with a surge in automotive die and mould contracts, mostly from North America.

The specialist multi-axis deep hole drilling software has increased application and programming capability for multiple side approach, compound angle and specific interconnecting hole and feature targeting. It also increases Mollart’s Chessington operation’s capability to work directly from 3D models, access the data and write programs more efficiently and with high degrees of accuracy, while also allowing more easily the incorporation workpiece elements such as porting features.

Operations can involve drilling, counterboring, reaming, threadmilling and small feed hole drilling as well as the production of sealing faces in addition to milling and profiling. These are carried out by Mollart Engineering on its installed Matrix DHD, Prismabore PRB40 and Centeplex multi-axis, dual-spindle special-purpose drilling and milling centres, plus a range of Mazak Integrex turn-mill centres.

Says operations director Mike Pragnell: “We have enhanced our processing capability to include one-off manufacture of moulds and dies in steel and aluminium, incorporating multiple cooling and venting holes with complex intersections. Our new software provides highly accurate program data to ensure we maintain specific geometric relationships and we are currently building our library with tooling and application data linked to material types.”

Mollart success in the automotive sector in North America has been achieved through its ability to offer a complete package of machining with strong internal application team support, based on a successful deep hole drilling machine tool background, plus its own specialised toolroom service.

This has led to current orders for the rough and semi-finish machining, plus multiple hole drilling, for up to 30 dies a month in sizes up to 2.5 m by 2.5 m by 300 mm, with its programming, application and machining capabilities sitting behind that.

** Machining capability in detail - Mollart Engineering's Prismabore PRB40 deep hole drilling machine was developed to provide a machining centre approach to deep hole drilling operations. A 5-axis, two-spindle machine, it supports a single-cycle production capability that can combine milling sequences with deep hole drilling and boring capacity for holes between 6 mm and 40 mm diameter by 1,500 mm deep on components weighing up to 8 tonnes. Typical components machined, apart from moulds and dies, include multi-feature Inconel and titanium parts, and the combined drilling of cooling holes needing extended depth with the same components requiring milled feature.

The Mollart Matrix DHD is a 4-axis deep hole drilling centre with 3 to 30 mm diameter by 1,000 mm drilling specification and is targeted at meeting deep hole drilling requirements via high levels of versatility. The Matrix machine is ideal for a number of applications such as the production of water- feed cavities in die and mould bases, off-centre hole and pattern hole drilling under CNC control, as well as lighter duty secondary features, such as counterboring and threadmilling. Table dimensions are 2,700 by 1,200 mm with a maximum loading up to 15 tonnes.

Mollart’s capability to combine deep hole and conventional machining centre-type applications within a single cycle has also been served through its 6-axis Centeplex. The Centeplex can undertake milling, drilling, boring and threading, and extends the conventional horizontal spindle approach by inclining both the gundrill and milling spindles by 25°. These are mounted under/over (shotgun style) and the +/- 15° programmable swivel action creates an additional compound angle production capability. The machine has a deep hole drilling capacity between 6 and 80 mm diameter by up to 2,000 mm in depth. The ISO 50 taper milling spindle is powered by a 22 kW motor with automatic toolchange. A 14 tonne table capacity will accept work up to 2,000 mm by 2,750 mm.