Edited By Robert Brooks
|Delcam’s latest FeatureCAM offers greater support for multi-spindle machining functions. |
The FeatureCAM family of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software products from Delcam plc has been certified by the Autodesk Inventor Certified Application Program for Autodesk Inventor 2010 — meaning that Autodesk engineers have tested FeatureCAM applications and verified that they meet high standards for robustness, quality, and interoperability with the latest version of 3D mechanical design system.
The FeatureCAM family combines “feature-based” and “knowledgebased” functionality that makes programming fast and simple to use, with a range of programs for milling, turning, wire EDM and mill-turn. Each one uses a common, easy-to-use interface that minimizes training time.
Integrating FeatureCAM with Inventor 2010 gives Autodesk customers access to all the latest enhancements of the CAM software, across all functions. Notably, it offers increased support for millturn equipment, which is growing more popular with shops because of the ability to complete parts in a single setup on one machine, rather than arranging multiple setups on one or more pieces of equipment. FeatureCAM developers have focused on supporting machines that feature multiple turrets and/or multiple spindles.
The range of five-axis options within FeatureCAM has also been extended. It supports both positional and continuous five-axis operation, five-axis trimming, and five-axis drilling. Each of these options will improve productivity because they allow parts to be produced in one or two setups, not multiple setups and/or special fixturing.
Four-axis simultaneous milling is another area of improvement. It provides programming for milling machines with rotary tables, so users may undertake more sophisticated part designs than before.
Developments also have continued for the more basic machining operations, notably with the addition of support for form tools, more efficient threading, better control of undercutting, and extra options for pre-drilling before boring. Enhancements for 2D machining include improvements to thread milling, easier control of feeds and speeds, and support for a wider range of engraving tools. Faster and easier recognition of the 4-axis wire features is the chief improvement to the FeatureWIRE module.
Three-axis milling is more efficient now, for example when machining preforms like castings or roughmachined parts. The new version minimizes air cutting thanks to its ability to limit toolpaths to the stock model, which makes it possible to define efficient toolpaths more quickly and easily.
“Our relationship with Autodesk is very strong and a huge benefit to our customers, who can open Inventor parts seamlessly in FeatureCAM, with no loss of data or concerns about translation errors,” says Tom McCollough, vice president - Development for FeatureCAM. “The certification program gives our customers the confidence of knowing that FeatureCAM has been rigorously tested by Autodesk and found to perform to the highest standards.”