Mobile computing is making rapid progress into manufacturing software, and recently Spring Technologies announced that its latest release makes it one of the first NC simulation software developers to offer mobile functionality.
Released in January, NCSimul Machine 9 (Windows 8 Pro- and Intel-certified) is Spring Technologies’ flagship software program for machine simulation. The developer calls it “more realistic, more integrated and smarter, … a milestone on the road to a production environment in which manufacturers will be able to achieve perfect real-time synchronization of their physical and virtual machining cycles.”
Now operators can access a realistic graphical representation of the machining process and other relevant data, in real time, even standing next to a machine in operation.
“In many cases it’s impossible to see what’s happening at the tool-workpiece interface,” according to Silver Proisy, U.S. general manager for Spring Technologies. “The doors are closed and high-pressure coolant is splashing in the cabinet interior.
“With NCSimul 9,” he continued, “customers can head out onto the shop floor with their touchscreen tablet PC equipped with Windows 8 and Spring’s NC Player (NC simulation viewer), and access all of the program’s features, including cutting tool libraries, current cutting conditions, simulation, other part programs, and all the relevant published documentation.”
Here and now
The hardware and software capability may be available now, but most customers have yet to fully embrace the concept of real-time simulation. “We are front runners in this functionality,” according to corporate marketing director Philippe Solignac. “It’s brand new. How and where it’s applied will evolve over time, but we anticipated the need, especially among our customers just entering the field who grew up with technology, who will demand the ability to be on the move and not tied to an office PC. We believe it’s a work lifestyle on the verge of exploding.”
NCSimul Machine 9 incorporates new ribbon technology navigation, so users are able to work more efficiently. Tasks are accessed via tabs that break down into tasks and sub-tasks. The new interface has been specifically designed to work on touch screen devices to facilitate mobility. The intuitive and context-sensitive icons are presented as a rapid access bar, boosting programming productivity.
The "NCSimul Machine hub" apps allow users to browse any shared jobs available on the enterprise network or replay NC simulations with one-click. Flexible, project-based management, tree organization, project/article/sub-article, jobs copied between projects, simplified search mechanism, job templates are among NCSimul Machine 9’s new features.
Also, the software makes use of Intel’s multi-core processors and multithreading. Collision detection and material-removal calculations are performed simultaneously. Algorithms have been revised and optimized to support ISO decoding, probing, and material-removal with tools in 3D, and optimized cutting conditions.
NCSimul Machine 9 also provides interactive programming features that automate G-code generation from 3D motions or allow dynamic editing of the NC program to see the consequences in the 3D view. In addition, the newest 3D functional dimensioning module, particularly geared to sub-contractors, make it possible for users to add 3D graphics to workpieces and create a document describing the list of dimensions that need checking at each machining stage. This is “a significant step” toward a “paperless” factory, according to Spring Technologies.