|A True 3D simulation of a 5-axis tool grinder . |
CNC controls developer NUM Corp. recently introduced a three-dimensional simulation program that unifies workpiece simulation with collision monitoring. True 3D, as it’s called, makes it possible for machine builders to introduce advanced optimization capabilities, which machine shops may use to increase throughput.
NUM claimed True 3D is one of the first commercial CNC software simulation tools to combine workpiece simulation with collision-monitoring facilities. Machine shops will be able to prototype and optimize the entire machine production process in virtual mode, which, along with better machine productivity, should reduce tool wear.
|True 3D simulates a grinding wheel, with localized overstraining highlighted in red . |
3D simulation is among the latest results of dramatic improvements in PC processor performance over the past several years. Aside from simulating complex machining processes, NUM reported that the software visualizes tools, the machine’s kinematic properties, and the workpiece blank as 3D volumes. Even the complex interpolated engagements that take place between the tool and the workpiece in five-axis CNC machines can be depicted.
“The 3D simulation calculates the entire process chain of a machine tool, from the ISO standard CNC program and its CNC processing, to the machining process,” according to the developer. Thus, collisions are detected, too, meaning potential collisions between tools and the workpiece, as well as between the tools and machine elements (e.g., motor housings, sensors).
The simulator includes an abrasionanalysis module that calculates the material removal rate in cubic millimeters-per-second at every point of the machining cycle, as well as the specific material removal rate on the tool surface in cubic millimeters-persecond- per-millimeter.
Programmers using True 3D watch color animation of the specific removal rate on the tool surface, gaining a visual confirmation that the machine is using the best cutting feed. Removal rates are shown as percentage gradations, so the optimum manufacturing time can be identified according to the best toolwear results.