New Feature-Based CAM

Delcam (Windsor, ON) will launch the 2011 version of its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM system at IMTS.

Delcam (Windsor, ON) will launch the 2011 version of its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM system at IMTS. The most obvious change for existing users will be the new-look interface. This incorporates a more modern style of icon throughout the system, with images that more clearly illustrate the various options.

FeatureCAM 2011 will be the first version to support 64-bit hardware. User productivity has been further improved by extending the use of the latest multi-threading technologies available in recent hardware. In addition, improved memory management within the software will give faster calculation times, with the greatest benefits again coming when programming larger or more complex components.

The improved data exchange has been achieved by enabling Delcam’s Exchange software to be used as an additional import mechanism so that all the formats supported by Exchange can be imported into FeatureCAM.

This 2011 version incorporates Delcam’s patented Race Line Machining strategy into FeatureCAM. With this approach to offset machining, the roughing passes are smoothed out progressively as the toolpaths move further from the main form. The overall result is a much smoother toolpath that allows the cutter to be used at its optimum feedrate for a much larger percentage of the job.

On the five-axis strategies, more options have been added to the collision avoidance functionality. The 2011 release also includes improvements in the more fundamental process of five-axis drilling, with new options to program and edit five-axis hole creation, even when the items are supplied as simple circles in space rather than fully-defined solids. Users of five-axis equipment will also benefit from improved simulation capabilities.

Finally, programming of wire EDM has been improved with the ability to work directly from solid models in a similar way to FeatureCAM’s milling, turning and drilling options. In addition, a new automatic ordering command will make it easier to combine operations needed to produce different features, while improved control over retract moves will simplify the programming of 4-axis wire EDM equipment.