U.S. Automotive Manufacturer

Utilizing Production Module to Improve Part Quality for Machining Engine Blocks

When Third Wave Systems engineers were approached by a U.S. automotive manufacturer looking to machine engine blocks more effectively, it was understood that project success would be measured not only by cycle time reductions, but by tool performance and part quality. The software selected for this project allows users to analyze cutting forces for each line of toolpath, compare forces to optimization limits and raise/lower feeds to attain maximum allowable forces.


The advanced manufacturing team at the Automotive OEM needed to increase the throughput of the production line. As it involved machining of a critical mating surface of the engine block, maintaining the part flatness was paramount. The team needed to be very deliberate with any changes they made on the production floor. The team recognized that the number of parameters that needed to be studied needed a comprehensive approach. Production Module was their go-to analysis tool in such situations to run a number of what-if scenarios before finalizing the production changes.


The team identified several parameters to study to reduce the machining time. These parameters included the number of teeth in cut, effective rake angles and alternative cutter paths. While trying various what-if scenarios, they needed to keep a close eye on the axial force, which has a significant impact on the part flatness. Production Module provides data for every degree of rotation of the tools. For tools with multiple cutting edges engaged, this level of detail is essential to ensure that no momentary spikes result in an unanticipated change in forces. 


  • Part flatness improved by 26%
  • Peak spindle power reduced by 46%
  • Improved tool life through reduction of peak axial forces
  • Cycle time reduced by 10 seconds

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