Persico Group automotive division
Persico Group’s automotive division uses WORKNC automation tools and specialized toolpath to create unique production solutions for auto suppliers
As a secondary tooling supplier for the auto industry, the Persico Group’s automotive division creates solutions that ensure vital finishing touches.
Keeping production efficiency and part-quality at the forefront of solution design, the company produces complete tooling and fixturing packages that bridge the gap between production and assembly, and meet the efficient cycle times required by customers.
“Suppliers hire us to create the solutions needed to make the parts completely ready to be put into cars,” says CNC Programmer Steve Schick, who is tasked with handling all of the automotive division’s programming duties. “When a plastic part comes out of a mold, it still has appendages and often needs to be wrapped in fabric before it’s installed in a car. We create the machines to make those parts ready for assembly.”
Founded in Italy in 1976, Persico Group operates several divisions — among them marine, aerospace, agriculture, healthcare and mold-production — and is in the midst of making processes within its automotive tool shop independent from those of its Italian headquarters. Based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, the automotive division was created to serve industry needs in all of North America.
The division has grown from a staff of fewer than 50 employees to about 75 since Schick came aboard in late 2016. Since Schick’s hiring, the company has also added two CNC mills to its machinery lineup, in addition to a night shift.
Schick was hired specifically due to his proficiency with the WORKNC computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) system, by Vero Software, which was initially implemented at Persico’s production facilities in Italy. While a different CAM software was formerly used in the automotive division, Persico management found that the system did not fulfill all of the company’s needs and opted to make the switch to WORKNC. Having used the solution as a manufacturing professional since the late 1980s, Schick was an ideal choice when the time came to hire a CNC programmer for the division.
“The job is fun for me because I’m the guy operating WORKNC,” Schick says. “I came to Persico with enough efficiency to help them with not only making toolpath, but with improving the way things are made.”
Among additional development duties, Schick was charged with developing the techniques to manufacture the details. “Once the design gets to me, I’m required to find a way to hold onto it, cut it, hold tolerance, and find a way to get it back to the guys who work in assembly.”
Schick notes that the specialized toolpath is a huge advantage in going from art to part with little to no additional handling. “What WORKNC has done for me in a big way is it’s given me a lot of different toolpaths that are very efficient in removing material and making a superior finished product,” he says. “I’m thankful that WORKNC is good enough to give me all of the toolpaths I need to machine so all that the builder has to do is deburr, paint it and put it where it belongs in the design.”
WORKNC’s specialized roughing cycles include Waveform Roughing, which is designed for rapid material removal, basic global roughing and re-roughing, flat-surface roughing and re-roughing, plunge, adaptive trochoidal, spiral core, and parallel roughing.
Schick, who produces details as large as 2’ X 2’ in size with 3 and 5 axes, must take care when programming roughing cycles because his mill cannot handle aggressive material removal. As such, he utilizes specialized toolpath, such as global roughing and re-roughing, to achieve desired results while maintaining the company’s machinery.
“I really need to use some of the specialized toolpaths to do all of the things that I’m required to do for my job. WORKNC is good at automatically applying all of the necessary parameters, like speeds and feeds, to ensure that the tool is not broken.”
Schick also takes advantage of WORKNC’s ability to use a realistic stock model to update and graphically render stock remaining on the part throughout the machining process. By assigning a specific color to remaining stock, he is able to easily spot material that must be removed. This is especially helpful when multiple setups are performed to ensure that a cusp, or “widow’s peak” isn’t left behind after machining from two different sides.
“That has helped me to make sure that the toolpath overlaps enough that I’m not leaving a cusp when I have to do multiple setups. That stock model rendering has helped me so much be able to see that.”
For further help with removing remaining material, Schick uses WORKNC’s re-machining function, which identifies material remaining after roughing operations and automatically selects consecutively smaller cutting tools to remove the material left behind.
“I’ll use the re-machining based on the stock model and the size of the last tool that I use,” he explains. “Those toolpaths have smaller and smaller stepovers because there are smaller and smaller cutters.”
For hole machining, Schick uses a combination of automatic tools, including feature recognition — which automatically identifies holes to be machined — and hole machining. Automatic hole machining eliminates the need for multiple, separate operations to drill holes of varying depths and diameters.
“I’m not only automatically drilling holes, but I am tapping them also,” Schick says. “We’re using a combination of the hole manager and feature recognition a lot to identify holes by size, and the computer automatically applies what’s necessary to finish that hole.”
Schick notes that using a combination of WORKNC automation tools in tandem, including the customizable tool library, feature recognition and hole machining, cuts programming time while ensuring a greater quality and standardization across the board.
WORKNC sequences, which are specific “best practice” processes that can be saved and reused for designated operations, are yet another customizable automation tool that helps companies set and enforce standards while boosting efficiency.
“I set those sequences up in such a way that I know what is generic for a certain operation and then, when that operation is unique, I have to change certain parameters to make it work in my unique application.”
When programming hits inevitable snags, Schick says, he can always rely upon WORKNC’s support team to quickly resolve the issue. The combined quality of the solution and support staff truly sets the system apart. “I wouldn’t want another software,” he says.
About the company
Name: Persico Group Automotive Division
Business: Manufacturing of production solutions for auto suppliers
- Automatic application of vital CNC machining parameters
- Specialized toolpath creation for rapid material and superior finish quality
- Ability to easily see remaining stock with an automatically updated stock model