MESURE has chosen ESPRIT CAM software to make the production of high-performance parts for Airbus easier than ever before. Véronique Albet reports.
Founded in 2003 at Saint Brévin les Pins, near Nantes, by Maurice Herblin, Mesure is a company created to cater to the three-dimensional control needs of Airbus.
Just over one decade later, the Mesure Group is the recognised specialist for high-precision, emergency-unit parts for Airbus and its subcontractors. Essentially, it works for the aerospace industry, but also in the petrochemicals, medical, automotive and nuclear fields. With revenues in the area of €17 million, the Mesure Group’s staff is distributed across various sites.
In Morocco, near Casablanca, the staff count at the Mesure facility is 117. This entity was created to cater to customer demands for low-cost services, as well as to provide local follow-up for customers in the region. Mesure has put in place an organisational setup and resources for the production of parts, including design, programming, machining, control, and tool-setting and assembly. In order to offer its customers additional 3 and 5-axis machining services, the group expanded by taking over the Usimeca company based in Challans, France, in 2010.
At the request of Airbus, Mesure embarked on a special project that entails the creation of drilling templates machined from solid aluminium block used in aircraft assembly. As a result, the company cornered 70 percent of the market in drilling grids for the A350 aircraft as a supplier of critical aeronautical parts for emergency breakdown repair. Mesure is also a “technical emergency” specialist for the Airbus production lines and supplies parts within a maximum of 48 hours. There are currently 95 staff members at the company headquarters in Saint Brévin, as well as 30 at Usimeca. Mesure plans to eventually expand services to include Germany and Spain.
The keys to success
Organisation is a key element in a company’s development, and all the more so when it works for the aeronautical sector, with the high demands and stringent documentation that the job entails. Having founded the company in 2009, Maurice Herblin created a sales department and project division for “Airbus drilling grids.”
His objective is to focus on the design and production of emergency parts. The boss has surrounded himself with experienced managers, particularly in the industrial and quality departments. A recently appointed operational director visits Morocco once a month to monitor the business of the Casablanca entity, which is starting to attract its own customers.
Mesure machines all kinds of materials, including composites. Most of its work entails 5-axis machining, with 3-axis machining carried out in Morocco, except for when the customer’s delivery lead-times are extremely short. The Moroccan site has 20 machining centres and at Saint-Brévin the machine pool was completely revamped. The company invested in nine Mori Seiki NMV5000 and two NMV8000 machining centres for continuous 5-axis machining. The unit based in Challans has 10 large-scale (up to 12m) 5-axis machining centres.
MESURE has been using ESPRIT CAM software since 2009. At that time, the group invested in two Mori Seiki NMV5000 machining centres. The ESPRIT solution is embedded within the Mori Seiki MAPPS control, or the Mori Seiki operating system. A floating license enables ESPRIT to be used on a PC, as well as directly on the machine.
Thierry Loiret, method and control manager, explains: “We chose the machine-tools from the world’s number one manufacturer, equipped with ESPRIT CAM. Combining the two has proven to provide maximum optimisation with respect to our needs, and we’ve decided to install ESPRIT on all the machines of the group. This will be a done deal in a year’s time, once the Challans site has been equipped.”
“We started working with DP Technology and its distributor, NC Prog,” Thierry Loiret adds, “when we received the two Mori Seiki NMV5000 machines in 2009. We have greatly appreciated their reactivity and the specific developments that they have implemented on the post processors for improving production speed. In terms of programming, it used to take us a day to produce the 5-axis machining plans for a drilling grid, whereas today it takes us a maximum of a half hour!”
Less costly in terms of programming, 70% of the company’s programs are produced in Morocco, where 12 engineers use ESPRIT. The objective is to use the programs produced in Morocco directly on machines in France.
The software features particularly appreciated at Mesure include feature recognition, the open-standard post processors, the symmetry function and the integrated and personalised manufacturing ranges. The integration of Microsoft Visual Basic for macros is also cited, along with the ease of use of the user interface, the highly intuitive programming environment and, for example, the sequences reproduced on similar parts by means of the “copy/paste” function.
In the words of Loiret: “I can honestly say that the ESPRIT solution offers excellent value for the money. The software is constantly being upgraded, and when it comes to customer service, we always receive a response to our requests for improvements.”
Today, Mesure has 14 ESPRIT/Mori Seiki licenses. “In the framework of the maintenance contract, NC Prog visits us every year to install the upgrade, to train us in what’s new and to check that everything is operating correctly. I am extremely satisfied with their services, and with the performance of the Mori Seiki/DP Technology duo.”