CNC and drive technology from the world market leader
Over the years that followed, BBS Motorsport has remained loyal to the manufacturer Matsuura. Production manager Francisco Serrano recalls: "For years we have been using machine tools with control and drive technology from FANUC, and we have had the best experiences with it. The products are of exceptional quality, which means that in all those years, we've never had any problems. In addition, the menu structure of the CNC is very simple. In 2007, we decided to order Matsuura machines with the FANUC Series 30i-A CNC." He also points out an advantage that results from the consistency of the CNC manufacturer in his production: Skilled workers who are familiar with FANUC can be easily assigned to other machines without any additional training. What's more, the reduced variety of controls avoids training costs and errors.
The machine operators are primarily responsible for the NC programs. They are supported by work schedulers who use an external CAD/CAM system, in particular for design elements with sophisticated shapes. For this, the worker receives completed subroutines that he combines with his own drilling and turning cycles to assemble main programs. In addition, he integrates the necessary measurement programs for in-process inspection. That sounds complicated, but with the FANUC workshop programming software Manual Guide i, it is easy to manage. The software, in essence, combines two programming worlds by enabling convenient dialogue programming on the one hand, and supporting programming in DIN ISO or with macros on the other. Thus each user – depending upon the requirement and individual knowledge – can choose the optimal programming method. What's more, the various methods can be readily combined amongst themselves. Existing DIN ISO programs can be easily inserted and further edited.
Helpful CNC Functions
When machining its wheels, BBS Motorsport seeks to find the optimal compromise between short processing time and high-quality surface finish. Support is provided by the FANUC CNC of the Series 30i-A, with which the Matsuura MAM72-63V machining centres are equipped and which is optimally designed for high-speed (HSC) and five-axis machining. This means it is not only very fast, but it also makes a number of software functions available for five-axis machining, in order to optimally utilise the existing potential of the machine. For HSC use, it offers the automatic feed control system AICC. Under this term – AICC stands for Artifical Intelligence Contour Control – FANUC has bundled functions that optimise the acceleration and braking routines, and which can automatically adjust speeds for corner machining or segments of a circle. Thus the AICC functionality to a certain extent takes over advance control, ensuring that the tool can follow the prescribed path with a high degree of contour accuracy.
This is an advantage, for example, when working with design studies that are difficult to implement, as production manager Francisco Serrano explains: "We recently had to follow the path of bore holes, the diameter of which started at 0.4 mm and grew increasingly larger. Even for the very small radii, the edges had to be razor-sharp, which in turn required intricate machining during milling. We were able to achieve perfect success with the FANUC-controlled Matsuura."
Generally the BBS manufacturing team tries to utilise rev speeds of up to 27,000 min-1 when machining light alloys. For aluminium, the system uses feed rates of 8 to 10 m/s, for magnesium 12 to 14 m/s – for an infeed of 5 mm. For easy parameter setting, BBS uses the Machining Level Condition Function provided by the FANUC CNC 30i-A, which enables the user to weight the factors of precision, speed and surface finish. The control then independently puts together the optimal parameter set. In doing so, it also harnesses the capability of the control to process splines and to optimise the surface finish quality by means of the Nano Smoothing 2 function. Francisco Serrano: "Together with the application technicians from Matsuura, we define the desired cutting data and surface finishes and, with the help of this function, set them up on all the machines. This ensures consistently good machining results."
He also appreciates the extremely high availability of all FANUC components: "Over the past 12 years, we have only required a total of four FANUC customer service calls. Of these, one was our own fault, two were caused by material wear, and only one due to a defective access card". The production manager finally summarises as follows: "Ultimately, whilst the machines and their performance are decisive, we have had such great experiences with FANUC controls and drives, that these components are co-determining factors in our decision to purchase a machine tool."
Wheels for international racing sport
Whether it be Formula One, the IndyCar series, 24-hour Race, rally racing or brand trophy series – numerous racing teams rely on the over 40 years of experience in development and production of high-end wheel models, made of aluminium or magnesium, that BBS Motorsport has to offer. The specialists, located as of recently in Haslach i. K., deliver completely forged or multi-part wheels that always pursue the objective of being utmost aerodynamic, at a minimum weight and offering ideal rigidity. The company, currently 26 employees strong, represents an annual capacity of some 12,000 light-alloy wheels. In addition to the racing teams, private motorists are among the most important customers. In all, some 40% of all orders come from this clientele. After an economically challenging period following the insolvency of the original parent company, the successful BBS Motorsport team gained a fresh start as a German "GmbH", or Ltd company, in 2012. The main shareholder is a Japanese company that for years has brought BBS forged wheels onto the roads of Asia.