At the heart of the cutting shop are our three CNC machining centres. Although 5 Star still employs a manual cutting facility, the majority of cases are produced by CNC methods. The first CNC, or Computer Numerical Control system was installed at 5 Star in early 1993, but this machine was in the extrusion department. This machine, still in operation today, is a V notch sawing system used for notching aluminium extrusions. More of that later.
However, it’s the three Thermwood Model 40’s that are really the heart of the cutting shop. The first Thermwood was installed in mid 1999 and followed by the second machine in 2005 and a third in late 2009. All three systems feature 8’ x 4’ moving tables with high volume vacuum hold down. This allows full panel sheets to be held securely to the table while cutting takes place, without the need for any clamping devices. The panels are literally ‘sucked’ to the table.
Each machine is equipped with Auto Tool Length sensor which is a simple device that allows the programmer to automatically measure the length of cutting tool. In effect, this is the length from the top of the machining table (sacrificial spoil-board) to the tip of the cutting tool. This is done by the operator at the console.
This is required after each manual tool change, for example installing a replacement cutter. At the heart of the system is Supercontrol 91000, a PC based controller linked to high spec Siemens drives. This PC based control allows for easy maintenance and configuration.
To compliment the Thermwood CNC Machining centres, 5 Star have a number of extrusion cutting systems, two of which has CNC control. As mentioned earlier, the first one of these was installed back in 1993 and is still in operation today. It features double blade pneumatically powered automatic cutting, providing a ‘V’ notch as the blades are mounted at 45 degrees to the horizontal. This machine was adapted by 5 Star’s technical and engineering departments to include full CNC control. A motorised ‘end-stop’ is controlled by a PC based system, completely designed by 5 Star and features touch screen input. Software allows the operator to input extrusion cut parameters and execute the program which guides the profile through the saw and makes the necessary ‘V’ notches.
Other machines installed in the extrusion shop include....
As well as CNC machinery described above, the shop still employs manual panel cutting. For this, a Striebig ‘Standard II’ vertical panel saw is installed. This is predominantly used for plain panel cutting, or panels where no recessed fittings are used. This ensures valuable time on the CNC machining centres is not taken up. Cutting of panels for all Mossman Trunks is a key example of this