The market for medical devices has grown at a considerable rate in Europe, representing over €20 billion in revenue. In 2013, France had more than 1 000 ISO13485-certified manufacturers, compared to only 144 just ten years earlier.
The Rescoll entity was founded in 2001 as a private research laboratory providing chemical and mechanical analysis and testing of materials. Most of their work involves the certification of materials for Airbus aircraft. In the medical field, Rescoll tests many polymers, especially for implants.
In 2012 they created Rescoll Manufacturing and became ISO13485 certified as a dedicated manufacturer of medical devices. Today, the Rescoll Manufacturing team dedicates most of its production time to the medical industry and the rest to the aeronautics and robotics sectors. The company's manufacturing activity primarily focuses on dental or spine bolting, stems, maxillofacial, and cervical plates. They are also in the process of developing highly crafted medical parts such as intravenous implants or cages.
The essential move to CAM software
Over the years manufacturers turned to Rescoll Manufacturing for projects that were becoming increasingly complex. The projects they were receiving not only included simple turning operations, but also the machining of complex parts, requiring more 5-axis milling and surface finishing operations - and making part programming increasingly difficult.
In 2014 the managers at Rescoll Manufacturing decided to invest in Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. "Our wish was to integrate a reliable CAM solution that could be adapted to our entire range of Swiss and 3-5 axis machines. We knew ESPRIT’s potential and the distributor UsInConcept reinforced our choice," explains Fabien Guillaume, Methods Manager at Rescoll Manufacturing.
A rapid rise in productivity
To keep pace with the constant advancements in the medical market Rescoll Manufacturing managers chose to implement ESPRIT CAM and immediately began training their programmers on ESPRIT’s turning, 5-axis milling, and multi-tasking modules. "After we began using ESPRIT we quickly realized that the software offers us a lot of flexibility and possibilities when programming parts,” says Guillaume.
Rescoll’s programmers quickly began programming various 5-axis parts on their own and optimized the full use of their workshop's CNC machines, rapidly increasing their productivity. In addition, the Methods department also created a library of standard machining processes using ESPRIT to automate, facilitate and improve the generation of CNC programs.
Process archiving and automatic shape recognition helped cutting tool managers fully utilize ESPRIT CAM’s functions for intelligent machining. With production in the shop on the rise, Rescoll Manufacturing faced a new challenge that involved programming a cervical plate with complex 3D surfaces, which required 5-axis machining on a milling lathe. With the help of ESPRIT CAM, the Rescoll Manufacturing team was able to machine the part in just one operation while meeting all of the customer's expectations.
Capturing Evolving Markets
For Rescoll Manufacturing the integration of ESPRIT CAM software solved many machining difficulties related to tight tolerance intervals, weak machines, and refractory materials. "We had problems completing a grooving operation on a 3-axis machine, and ESPRIT allowed us to simply program the machine using trochoidal cutting movements, which solved all our problems," says Frédéric Combarnous, head of Rescoll Manufacturing.
The growing experience of Rescoll’s programmers also made it possible to diversify the typology of its parts and extend their use through improved quality. Moreover, the simulation features integrated within ESPRIT were another advantage for Rescoll Manufacturing, enabling them to visualize everything from the machine environment, to the machining of the part, to any possible interferences.
This allowed them to accurately program parts more quickly and easily. "ESPRIT is a very reliable tool that allows you to anticipate errors and optimize the set-up times on the machine," says Guillaume.
After using ESPRIT CAM for just a few months, Rescoll Manufacturing dramatically reduced its programming time and enhanced its production capabilities.
"With ESPRIT, we can optimize toolpaths, test manufacturing processes, and reduce programming and cycle times," summarizes Combarnous.
Rescoll Manufacturing had faced a choice between continuing to produce basic parts or taking the necessary steps to grow their production capabilities to capture evolving markets. They chose the latter. Today, using ESPRIT CAM software, programmers at Rescoll Manufacturing can respond rapidly to customer requests and successfully meet any machining challenge from the medical and aeronautic markets. "Without ESPRIT, we would have missed out on many opportunities," says Guillaume. Looking ahead, Rescoll Manufacturing plans to acquire new 5-axis machines to produce even more complex parts and to increase their presence in Europe with ESPRIT CAM at the heart of their manufacturing process.