February 22, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Delcam has released the 2011 version of its PowerMILL CAM system for five-axis and high-speed machining. This release makes the programming of safe toolpaths easier than ever thanks to new stock-model-engagement options that protect both the cutting tool and the machine from excessive loading, the company explains. Other enhancements include new editing capabilities to simplify the machining of duplicate items; more versatile control of feed-rates for leads and links; and extra functionality for sketching.
The options to optimize tool loading will help overcome a constant conflict for programmers – balancing maximum productivity with safe speeds that will not break the tool.
PowerMILL’s new stock engagement technology can be employed with all of the system’s finishing and rest-finishing strategies, ensuring that the safest possible toolpaths are run on the machine at all stages.
The key to this more comprehensive solution is the accuracy of the stock models produced within PowerMILL after each machining stage has been completed. These models give a precise representation of the material still remaining on the part and are used to ensure that the cutter is never asked to remove more material than it can safely cut. At the same time, the stock models also ensure that toolpaths are not produced where there is no material remaining so the machine tool is never left cutting air.
The new toolpath editing options in PowerMILL are designed to make it easier to produce multiple copies of any duplicated item, for example, when machining a series of cavities into a mould tool. The user can now specify an array of multiple copies in one operation, using approaches such as a number of rows and columns or a radial spacing around a central point. Once the copies have been produced, the complete series of toolpaths can be re-sequenced to minimize tool changes.
Enhancements to feed-rate optimization have been introduced to give better control of leads and links at the points of cutter engagement and exit. PowerMILL users can now set specific entry and exit feed-rates, either as percentages of the feed-rate for the main toolpath or as absolute values.
PowerMILL’s sketching functionality has been enhanced with a number of new editing options, including the ability to offset or transform curves, and to flatten 3D curves into 2D curves, or to project 2D curves onto 3D surfaces.