CAM with Improved User Productivity

  Delcam’s (Windsor, ON) award-winning PowerMILL CAM software will be at IMTS.   The new 2010 release also continues to improve user productivity by extending the application of the latest background-processing and multi-threading technologies available in recent hardware.

 

Delcam’s (Windsor, ON) award-winning PowerMILL CAM software will be at IMTS.

 

The new 2010 release also continues to improve user productivity by extending the application of the latest background-processing and multi-threading technologies available in recent hardware. The combination of these two developments is estimated to reduce calculation times by up to 25%, although this will depend on the size and complexity of the part and the addition of 64-bit technology removes the memory limitations of 32-bit computers, allowing more efficient toolpath generation, especially for companies machining large or complex parts.

 

PowerMILL 2010 also includes more than 50 other major enhancements. This is the largest number in a single release for over five years and reflects the continued high levels of investment in product development at Delcam. These improvements allow faster and easier generation of highly-efficient toolpaths for three- through five-axis milling.

 

"Every company that machines complex shapes, especially those using high-speed or five-axis machining, should look into the savings they could make by switching to PowerMILL," suggested Delcam’s Marketing Manager, Peter Dickin. "PowerMILL offers faster calculation times, more efficient toolpaths and higher quality surface finish than any other CAM system. Company owners cannot afford to ignore these benefits when their customers are demanding increased productivity, faster delivery and higher quality."

 

The most obvious change for existing users will be an updating of all the toolpath-creation forms to a new and improved layout. The forms make it simpler for new users to find the commands they need, while also giving experienced operators more logical access to the more advanced options. In addition, there is new toolbar for faster and easier creation and editing of workplanes.

 

A new series of strategies for roughing and finishing corners has been added. These give more efficient and smoother clearance of these areas, especially when a large tool has been used for roughing initially that has left a significant amount of material in the corner.

 

Rest roughing has been enhanced to give better control over the start points for each segment of the toolpath. This will give substantial savings in overall machining time by minimising any air cutting.

 

Offset roughing, a popular approach for high-speed machining, has been enhanced so thin slivers of material that may damage to the cutter are not left for the final pass. PowerMILL will now identify these potential problems automatically and adjust the final stepover to give more and therefore safer, material thicknesses.

 

A number of improvements have been made to give smoother toolpaths for semi-finishing and finishing. These minimize the stresses put on the cutter and machine tool, and result in a better surface finish. They are related to Delcam’s patented Race-Line strategies for roughing and act in a similar way across the full extent of the toolpath. For example, sharp changes in direction in 3D-offset toolpaths are now automatically made much smoother as the tool approaches and leaves. This approach also gives a more accurate result than simply introducing an arc at the point of change.

 

In a related development, more options have been added to the collision avoidance functionality to give more control over the direction chosen by the software to avoid the problem. These are particularly useful in any areas where there might be a sudden change in direction. In addition, the ability to specify a look-ahead distance has been added to the collision avoidance capability in order to ensure a smooth transition when tool-axis changes are required.

 

Constant-Z toolpaths have been enhanced to include the detection of flat areas and the automatic insertion of extra Z-levels to machine these exactly. In addition, a filter has been added to remove small enclosed segments from the toolpath as these can damage the cutter. The "Steep and Shallow" machining combination strategy uses these latest additions for the steep sections and a range of new options have been added for the shallow areas.

 

Finally, a new option has been added that specifies the safe profile of the toolholder for any group of toolpaths. This helps to identify a single toolholder shape that can be used for the complete program without any risk of causing a gouge or collision.