OPEN MIND Forges a Top Team With Motorsport Aftermarket Manufacturer

Forge Motorsport & Engineering is a business that evolved from Forge Engineering, a subcontract manufacturing business founded in 1983. Down the years, the company developed what is claimed to be the world’s largest and diverse supply of aftermarket car tuning products – it is this evolution that led to the name change to Forge Motorsport & Engineering in 1996; and like many of the leading motorsport manufacturers, Forge relies on hyperMILL from OPEN MIND Technologies for the CAM programming of its components.

The company has offices in the US and Taiwan, retaining their R&D activities and manufacturing in Gloucester. Discussing the business, Peter Miles from Forge Motorsport says: “Forge Motorsport Engineering are manufacturers of performance products and aftermarket parts for a range of petrol and turbo vehicles. Forge Motorsport Engineering specialises in the production of CNC machining, turning, and fabrication of the largest range of performance aftermarket parts worldwide. The parts we produce at Forge are extremely complicated and very in-depth. For our engineers to get the best out of our machines, it’s vitally important that we have the best software on the market, to be able to drive our innovation and our designs.”

It is here the OPEN MIND plays a major role with its hyperMILL CAM suite. As Peter adds: “In 2019, we recognised that we’d been inactive in updating and improving our machining capacity. That led to us looking in detail at our CNC machining capability. Ryan Speck, our Chief Engineer, led us down the road of investment with the 5-axis machining capability and then the need for CAM software to drive our improving capability; our engineering ability was crucial. This brought the need for us to invest in the right kind of software to drive our engineering processes.”

Discussing the onboarding of hyperMILL from OPEN MIND, Forge Motorsport & Engineering Chief Engineer, Mr Ryan Speck says: “My role is to ensure our manufacturing operation is as efficient as it can be, and that we are as competitive as we can be within our industry. That led us to look at our 5-axis options and the software to drive that. We looked at various different products on the market, but we felt that the hyperMILL product from OPEN MIND Technologies was the right one for us.”

“What we need from a CAD/CAM system is the ability to program our parts accurately and in the most efficient way possible. Not only that, but to be able to post the programme, and when we get to the machine, having the trust in the program that’s been posted, for it to be able to run as its intended.”

“Everybody encounters problems, and we are no different. During the time when we’re programming our components, and we’ve come across problems, OPEN MIND has been able to support us really well in that aspect. Every time we call, they’ll do their best to put things right there and then. It also enables us to upskill our staff. OPEN MIND doesn’t just put things right and then not explain how it’s done – they continually involve our staff and make sure that we can stay up to date with all the changes within the software. For us, using hyperMILL means that we can hit our deadlines and our lead times don’t drift out.”

“A great example of the support is the Team Viewer function. This enables our programmers to view exactly the support that’s being given on the screen live right in front of them. This almost mimics an in-house training session. What is really interesting is that OPEN MIND’s hyperMILL has given us the ability to increase our efficiency by reducing our cycle times and enable us to program offline. This has made us more competitive within the subcontract engineering industry and we’ve actually re-launched our Forge Engineering brand.”

Looking at some of the components programmed and machined with hyperMILL, Forge Motorsport & Engineering’s Rich Rymer says: “There’s quite a lot that goes into these parts. We have one particular part that we actually do in one operation. We get the raw stock, hold it in the 5-axis machining centre, do the profiling or the pocket milling, and then we flip it over and just skim off the back, finally we snap it off in the vice.”

Alluding to another component, Rich continues: “These parts are DV37’s which is a dump valve. It uses quite a lot of trochoidal milling. I think if we were to use a longhand machining strategy, we wouldn’t be able to get into the gaps, as they are tight little gaps. Trying to get any cutter in there would take very, very light cuts in a horizontal plane. However, we use a trochoidal toolpath, so we go to the full depth of cut with light movements in a radial axis.“

Discussing specific features within hyperMILL and in particular, the merge function, Rich concludes: “It’s a very good function. There’s always model and drawing changes in engineering. This function allows us to update a model rather than re-program the whole part through hyperMILL. Effectively, you can take the old and new model and just merge them into one. Any changes can be edited by ‘cut and pasting’ the faces on. From there, it’s just a case of going through what you’ve programmed, selecting the new faces. It makes things a lot easier, and it allows you to just go on and continue with the programme, so you don’t have to restart from scratch.”

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