High-Speed Bulk Material Removal Engine

April 26, 2012
New add-on toolpath extension for NCL
Numerical Control Computer Sciences, the CAM software developer behind the NCL multi-axis machining program widely used in manufacturing aerospace, automotive and turbo-machinery component parts, has a new partnership with Celeritive Technologies to provide an add-on module to NCL for high-speed, bulk material removal. NCCS supplies computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software for multi-axis machining. Celeritive Technologies is the developer of VoluMill, a “toolpath engine” software that machinists use as an extension of CAM programming to improve the ways that tools cut, using high-speed continuous tangent motion rather than sharp, interrupted movements. Field applications have demonstrated that toolpath engines “can safely double machine output, extend tool life, and create a much more productive competitive manufacturing enterprise in the global marketplace,” according to Celeritive.

Among the benefits to NCL users will be higher performance results with lower operating costs; shorter cycle times (“as much as 3 to 1, or more, over traditional milling”); reduced machine wear; and longer tool life.

More specifically, the VoluMill engine will achieve efficient toolpaths for open shapes machined with NCL. The programmer can cut any combination of part/stock boundaries easily, NCCS stated, and all open edges are fully leveraged for efficient machining and to minimize plunging into the material.

Also, the CAM will determine “intelligent” options for slot milling and side milling. For softer metals, the software provides the fastest possible cycle time and intelligently selects slot milling or side milling to maximize the material removal rate. Feedrates and axial depths of cut are automatically adjusted in slot milling to maintain a constant material removal rate, and can be overridden by the programmer. For harder materials, users can require side milling over the entire tool path to avoid burying the cutter.

Next, it achieves fast machining of small pockets. The program offers the fastest way to clear out small pockets. In addition, offers efficient, specialized tool motion for tight spaces.

High-feed repositioning with floor clearance is possible with the VoluMill engine, as the software leverages the machine's capabilities more fully, so that the tool moves as safely and quickly as possible when not engaged in material. Additionally, it clears the floor by a small amount when repositioning at the highest possible speed, without dragging it across an already-machined floor.

Other advantages include cleanup milling — VoluMill makes it possible to use a small tool to cut material left by a larger tool in a previous operation — and automatic feedrate adjustment and optimization, which lets the programmer maintain a more consistent load on the cutting tool. No feedrate optimizer is needed.

"NCCS is dedicated to constantly improving our software technology, giving the end user what they want," stated president Don Schultz. "The combination of NCL and VoluMill is yet another example of the entrepreneurial spirit that has made the company successful."

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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