CNC machined flight cases are at the heart of our manufacturing
Three Multicam CNC machining centres are installed at the Cambridgeshire site, two 5000 Series and one 3000 Series. All of which have 12-way automatic tool-change to ensure quick tool selection, vacuum hold-down table coupled to high-volume pumps which 'suck' the material to the bed. This negates the need for time-consuming fixture jigs and clamps. All feature a 10' x 5' machining area for larger panel dimensions and have moving gantry design, as opposed to our previous centres which had moving tables which took up more real estate in the cutting shop.
Materials commonly machined include faced plywood panels for flight case carcasses, plain plywood for internal flight case structures such as loom-boxes and support 'cheeks', foam of various types and densities, plastics including polypropylene Astroboard for flight case panels and even in-house requirements such as safety signs and workshop items.
Normally, two fully-trained operatives tend the three machining centres, so whilst one machine is running, the other is being prepared for the next job. All machines are linked to the server for quick retrieval of job files, many of which have been saved pre-nested and pre-tooled for repeat orders. With a bit of design flare, simple panels of plywood can be machined into visually appealing additions to flight cases, by incorporating logos, enhancement details and radius edges, using different tooling and tool-path generation such as engraving and pocketing. These plywood structures will then be filled, sanded and finished with a Polyurea coating.
CNC file preparation is carried out away from the shop floor in the CAD/CNC office. 'Nesting', a function of laying out many parts onto the plywood or foam sheets to ensure minimal wastage is produced within the CAD software.