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Compression Mold Builder Retrofits CNC Machine Tools with Fidia Controls

One of Fidia's C19 controls retrofitted to each of the four Heyligenstaedt vertical milling machines at Century Tool and Gage in Fenton, MI. The C-19 is an economically-priced compact touchscreen control to retrofit 3-axis machines.

Mickey Guckian, Manufacturing Manager of Programming at Century Tool, with the Fidia C40 control on Century Tool's new Fidia GTFM.v3 5-axis gantry machine.

In 1987 Century Tool and Gage Company bought and retrofitted its first Heyligenstaedt vertical mill with a Fidia CNC control system, and over the years has added more with ongoing control upgrades and new CNC machine tool installations.

"Century Tool has become a major builder of molds and secondary tooling for the automotive, heavy truck, aerospace and personal watercraft industries, and today specializes in compression molded exterior Class A and reinforcement panels for truck and trim applications and 75% of the exterior body panels," said a company spokesperson.

"Without question, a large part of Century Tool's success has been the ability to become a low-cost, high quality mold supplier," said Mickey Guckian, Manufacturing Manager of Programming, Century Tool. "Retrofitting and updating with Fidia controls has been a big part of that. All of our milling machines are CNC programmable and utilize Fidia controllers for high-level accuracy, dependability and productivity. Each machine has automatic scaling features and is connected, via Ethernet, to our computer room for continuous transfer of CAD data. We run the full array of software programs, which allows Century Tool to have the flexibility to expand the customer's product design ideas, and also the ability to communicate in direct language formats. Solid modeling software allows our experienced personnel to aid the customer in the completion or redesign of the component. We use a unique paperless shop that bridges the gap between engineering and manufacturing, seamlessly implementing shop floor programming, design review and implementation. In concert with the Fidia controllers, we use TEBIS V4.OR2 software, considered by many to be the industry's best software for 5-axis machining."

A recent Fidia addition at Century Tool is the Fidia C40 Vision Control with ViMill software. "It is one of the most powerful numerical controls for advanced CNC high-speed, multi-axis applications," said Jorge Correa, Fidia VP of Sales North America. "With multi-processor architecture managing user interface, axis and toolpath control, ViMill real-time anti-collision software all work together with the milling path control feature of Velocity Five trajectory control technology to allow the fastest machining speed to achieve high-quality surface finish. The software prevents any collision between tool, machine and the workpiece in real time, during milling operations, and in both jog mode and part program execution mode."

After implementation, Century Tool reported the following benefits of the Fidia C40:

  • The software is user-friendly so it is easy to train operators.
  • The operator has the ability to use the handwheel on-the-fly for the XYZ axes and also normal t vector compound angles.
  • Excellent surface finish due to the precise control of acceleration and deceleration.
  • The HMS system is a high-precision device that provides an alternative to the traditional checking method of using dial gauges. It reduces checking time, provides measurement of all head and/or table positions and provides automatic insertion of correction values in the CNC with graphic reporting.
  • The RTCP function applied to bi-rotary heads and roto-tilting tables allows for on-board management of tool length compensation. The RTCP function can execute the 5-axes part program, regardless of the pivot, that will be read by the CNC from the tool table before executing the program itself.
  • Having multi-processor architecture allows for updates and empowers the system through the partial or total replacement of the PC (memory, hard disks, adapters, etc.) without modifying other components. As a result, it is possible to keep the CNC constantly up-to-date with the most powerful hardware and software developments.

Jorge Correa, Fidia VP of Sales North America, said, "Century Tool is a great example of what can be done with control retrofits to bring existing CNC machine tools to state-of-the-art levels. Since 1987, Century Tool has utilized Fidia's CK10, CK20, COMPAC, C2, C20, a couple of tracing systems and now our newest C40 controls. They have also purchased one of Fidia's GTFM.V3 5-axis gantry machines."

Century Tool has a 125,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility capable of handling 60-ton machine block sizes up to 100" wide and 300" long. The plant is equipped with four 5-axis CNC machining centers, seven heavy-duty vertical and horizontal machines, three CNC heavy-duty multi-spindle traveling column gun drilling machines, 29 CAD/CAM workstations and a try-out press facility with capacities of 500, 600, 1,500 and 3,000 tons.

Fidia designs and builds numerical controls and high-speed milling machine systems for the production of complex-shaped parts for the automotive, aerospace, medical, mold, design, general machining and energy markets.

For more information contact:


3098 Research Dr.

Rochester Hills, MI 48309


Century Tool and Gage

200 South Alloy Dr.

Fenton, MI 48430


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