Five-Axis Developments

PowerMILL/PartMaker

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Delcam will highlight its latest developments for the programming of five-axis machines in Booth 5326 at Eastec. While the company’s PowerMILL software remains its leading program for five-axis programming, FeatureCAM, Delcam’s automated feature-based CAM system for production machining, and the PartMaker software, for multi-axis machines and Swiss-type lathes, also offer extensive five-axis capabilities.

It is no surprise that five-axis machining continues to become more popular as companies become more aware of its ability to boost productivity by increasing efficiency, improving quality and shortening delivery times, the company notes. Delcam systems have made programming for five-axis operations much easier over the years with more sophisticated simulation software to make it easier for the user to check toolpaths on the computer to minimize any possibility of collisions or gouges, the company notes.

For the latest PowerMILL release, the main change in the five-axis capabilities has been to increase the number of options for tool-axis definition. For raster toolpaths, the lead and lean angles can now be defined relative to a contact normal. In addition, better control is now possible for the tool-axis definition when using the To or From a Point, Line or Curve strategies. These improvements will make it easier for users to control the contact angle between the cutter and the part, and so set the optimum cutting conditions for efficient machining and high quality surface finish. The resulting NC programs can be made even more efficient by automatically reordering the toolpaths, using the tool number or tool diameter, to reduce the number of tool changes, or using a specific workplane, to minimize set-up changes.