Ansini, based in Mansfied, Nottinghamshire, is a thermoforming manufacturer with expertise in project management, tooling design, thermoplastic forming, CNC trimming, product development, testing and assembly. Their portfolio also encompasses a comprehensive range of additional services including CNC routing, ultrasonic welding and leather and fabric trimming. Ansini can supply anything from a single molded part, trimmed components, and complex assembled products – packaged and ready for distribution worldwide.
The company uses Tebis CAD/CAM solutions in design and NC programming. Jason Brickles knows the process chain inside out. As the chief engineer in the Engineering department, he is responsible for training the CNC operators and for all the tooling and fixture design. In addition, he bears the main responsibility for keeping the 5-Axis Maka milling machines running at the highest possible capacity and ensuring that the NC programs are running problem-free.
Before using Tebis, Brickles and his team relied primarily on the teach-in method, just like other companies in the industry. Every product underwent several modification iterations during this process. He explains: "At the time we didn’t know any different, and we thought we were quite efficient with our processes. But the advantages offered by implementing the Tebis system have far exceeded our expectations. In some cases, manufacturing components using Tebis is 75% faster than using conventional methods. Products assembled from multiple parts now just click together perfectly the first time, because we’re using the customers' own CAD data. Another obvious benefit is that we don’t have to stop the machines to program them any more”.
Brickles adds: "In the old days we would always question the accuracy of the end product, especially if it was a very complex component. There was a lot of trial and error in generating a perfect NC program, which meant that there could potentially be a lot of scrap. Invariably, we would courier a product to be inspected by the customer and await approval to continue. Sometimes we would wait a week to receive the product back with the modifications required. This would play havoc with tight deadlines. All of these headaches have gone away since we’ve started using Tebis: now we just take the CAD data from our customer, generate the vacuum clamping device using the Tebis wizard and clearly define the component position. This produces a perfect toolpath the first time, every time. We trust our end product. And our customers share this trust. Using Tebis has made the whole process easier, faster, more cost-effective and more accurate, and we are gaining new business from large Tier 1 OEM suppliers based on our reputation for quality work. These customers would not have used us in the past.”
Nick Mills, managing director of Ansini, is also enthusiastic about the benefits that Tebis has brought to the company. He is excited about the latest developments announced by the software developer: "We believe that we can improve our processes even more with Tebis. For example, Advanced Surface Design contains some features that will help us design our tools even more easily. I’m thinking, for instance, of the function for automatic gap filling. We’re also very interested in the 3-to-5-axis converter that enables the automatic creation of collision-free 5-axis toolpaths."
Mills describes the cooperation with Tebis as a "truly refreshing experience": "There was no initial hard sell or pressure to complete a sale. The Tebis personnel were very thorough when they first visited. They took the time to carefully evaluate our company and our processes before presenting us with an appropriate software solution. The installation was very successful, and the ongoing support and relationship with our contacts are excellent.”