22 | COVER STORY | Aerospace
and a balancing machine. There were also some challenges with how to
process parts. Used to programming a gantry mill, where the workpiece is
supported along its entire length, Caron says he has to pay close attention
to the distance between the Modig’s two workholding spindles—if they’re
too far apart, or feedrates too high, workpiece vibration may result.
The right decision
“It was a good challenge, but we made it,” he says. “The biggest hurdle
for us was getting to know the capabilities of the machine, and the correct
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programming methodology. But working with the
people from Modig, and our simulation software
vendor CGTech, we were able to complete all of the
parts by Christmas.”
Paul Stafiej says purchasing the Modig was
the right decision for Sonaca. “For stringer work
especially, the extrusion mill is far more efficient than
our gantry machines. On a gantry, you need some
pretty elaborate tooling, and you can’t mill all the part
faces in a single setup. You have to work around the
clamps, and when one section is complete you have
to stop, flip the workpiece around, and clamp it again.
Granted, the Cincinnati gives us three parts at once,
but the handling is very time consuming. With the
Modig, raw material goes in one end of the machine,
and finished parts come out the other.”
Stafiej says the new machine has generated a
lot of interest, so much so that Sonaca has already
won three new stringer programs as a result of its
purchase. He says laughingly, “being responsible for
business development, it’s made my job a lot easier.
There are only so many wing panel programs out
there, and we already had most of them. We really
needed to add a new capability to the operation, one
that would allow us to market ourselves better and
possibly open the door to different kinds of business.
The Modig did that for us.” SMT
Machine operator alfonzo Digregorio at the machine's control. the
biggest hurdle for sonaca and its team was to learn the capabilities
of the machine and the correct programming methodology.