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Hélène Horent

Innovation

ESPRIT Helps BRAKO Create 2,000 Machining Programs in One Year…

…with only two programmers

Published: Monday, August 13, 2018 - 11:01

Founded in 1947, in Veles, Macedonia, BRAKO produces parts and components used in medical devices, road sweeper trucks, airport ground equipment, forklift accessories, metal-welded constructions, small hydro plants, telecommunications shelters, and antenna towers.

The company also makes various wire products, including nails, mesh, and welding wire. Its components range from simple shafts and bushes to hydro-turbine houses and covers. Most of the work at BRAKO requires three-axis milling, primarily using mild steel but also some stainless steel and aluminum.

Macedonian’s population is just over 2 million. With such a small market, the majority of BRAKO’s products (96%) are exported. The annual revenue for the 550-employee company was about €28 million in 2016. Its customers include:
• Handicare Group in Sweden (healthcare)
• Invacare in the United Kingdom (healthcare)
• S-P-S (Dutch airport equipment manufacturer)
• Green Machines in Austria (street sweeper manufacturer)
• Biostrada in Italy (street sweeper manufacturer)
• Global Hydro Energy (Austrian turbine producer)
 


Large galvanized parts for airport equipment, and sweeper tracks and chassis for Green Machine, are shown in storage at BRAKO, ready for exportation.

BRAKO runs three computer numerical controlled (CNC) milling machines (two Takumi three-axis and a Haas 3+1 axis) and three CNC turning machines (a RAIS T250 and two Goodways). The company also owns a boring machine with a working area of 6 x 4 x 1.5 m (19.7 x 13.1 x 4.9 ft) and a rotating B-axis table that can also make linear movements in the direction of the Z-axis. Rounding out BRAKO’s inventory is an assortment of equipment for laser cutting, tube bending, plate rolling, and plasma cutting, as well as a coordinated measuring machine and a robot welding station.

BRAKO began using ESPRIT after speaking with representatives, at Mazak who referred the company to a local CAM dealer. “The initial ESPRIT presentations gave us a good feeling,” says Aleksandar Naumov, BRAKO project manager and mechanical engineer. “After taking a training session and getting to know the interface, and after creating our first G-code and machining our first parts, we decided that ESPRIT was the best choice for us. We mainly chose ESPRIT because the software was simple to master, and we were able to familiarize ourselves with it quickly, but it was also our top pick because of the excellent help and training provided. The support we receive from Rapid Progress is perfect, and I felt like the trainer directly injected all the knowledge into my brain.”

Prior to ESPRIT, BRAKO used another CAM system, and sometimes the manual programming function on the machine, to program simple milled parts. “Now we can’t imagine how we’d handle all the machines we have without ESPRIT,” Naumov says. “The most important benefit for us has been decreased programming time and increased productivity. As we’ve begun using ESPRIT to its fullest, we are more than 30-percent more productive in programming—after just one year.” BRAKO managed to create more than 2,000 programs in its first year, an astonishing number, considering the company has only two programmers under its employ. “It’s proof that ESPRIT is very user friendly, especially for similar parts that are repeated frequently,” Naumov continues.


BRAKO’s two engineers, project manager Aleksandar Naumov and mechanical engineer Slavcho Mitrovski, are able to program approximately 2,000 different parts per year using ESPRIT.

BRAKO recently worked on some guide vanes for a Francis turbine, which are made in two operations—milling, then turning—that are programmed by ESPRIT. The part is complex enough that preparing for production took more than four days. But programming with ESPRIT took less than a day.


BRAKO programmed this complex guide vane for a turbine in less than one day with ESPRIT.

“Using the wide range of standard machining operations contained in ESPRIT helps us to tackle complex and unusual parts with ease,” says Naumov. “We can easily switch production from one part to another, and we can move production of some parts from one machine to another—it only takes a few clicks to generate G-code for another machine.”


BRAKO machines the guide vane on a Takuma CNC milling machine, using a 5-axis strategy.

Flexibility and efficiency are other benefits. “The ability to define and save tools in the database, group operations together, and edit machining processes makes us very flexible in programming as well as in production,” says Naumov. “In short, this is the power of ESPRIT.”

As for its future plans, BRAKO intends to purchase a bigger five-axis milling machine to machine runner wheels for Pelton turbines to be used in small hydro plants. “It will be a challenge, but we’re in this together with ESPRIT,” says Naumov.

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About The Author

Hélène Horent’s picture

Hélène Horent

Hélène Horent joined DP Technology Europe (Montpellier, France) in April 2007. Today, as the company's Marketing Specialist for Europe, Horent oversees the writing of press releases, articles, and other promotional materials. Horent organizes the company's trade show/conference appearances throughout Europe, and serves as the contact person for the media and current and potential customers. Horent speaks three languages: French, English, and Spanish.