The company has recently invested in new machinery to carry out milling of mould tools
A Northamptonshire-based precision engineering company says it is becoming a growing contributor to the niche market of supplying mould tools to the UK’s rotational moulding industry thanks to the use of a software programme for complex machining.
Turnell and Odell say the opportunities presenting themselves in the rotational moulding industry are giving rise to an exciting future for the company. However, it says that its foray into this complex world of rotational mould tools would not be possible if it wasn’t for the use of Edgecam software, a production CAM solution that combines toolpath generation with CAD integration.
CNC Milling Supervisor, Lee Billingham, says the company has recently created two-metre-long rotational mould tools for construction industry pipes, which required millions of lines of code. “We needed 1.2-million lines of code just for one operation. It would be absolutely impossible without Edgecam,” he explained.
The company produces rotational mould tools ranging from 200mm cubes to two metres, for a number of industries including construction, medical, food and, more recently, aerospace. Due to the complex nature of rotational moulding tools, where uniform wall thickness has to be maintained, the file sizes are considerably bigger than for normal machining.
Turnell And Odell’s Production Director, Kevin Rees, says Edgecam makes the task of machining rotational mould tools’ particularly complex features, an easy process. “This is because any shape within Edgecam becomes simple. Even with the most demanding shapes, the only complexity is how quickly Edgecam can process the information. It handles several millions lines of code just as easily as a few thousand – it just takes a little longer.”
The company has recently invested in two additional Haas VF4 SS machines for high speed machining at 12,000 rpm, which are perfect for their aluminium rotational mould tools, as well as a new, six dual-core computer capable of running 12 x 3.5 gigahertz simultaneously, which he says is vital to handle the huge file sizes. It also has a solid state hard drive, 31.9 gigabytes of RAM, and NVIDIA Quadro K4200 graphics card.
Managing Director, Clive Odell, says the company can look ahead with confidence, especially as it develops what he calls “homespun talent” through an apprenticeship scheme, having taken on Higher Level apprentices Layla Weaver and Ashley Easton this year. “The average age of our milling department is in the 30s, so we have a good succession plan. And with our growing role in the rotational moulding and aerospace industries, I believe Turnell and Odell has an exciting future.”