New Documentation Function for Tool-Grinding Software

March 15, 2012
Users can simulate precise tool details or confirm geometry before production begins
Numroto Draw produces fully dimensioned engineering drawings of machine tools, including accurate portrayal of a tool's profile and cross-sectional geometry. Toolmakers can create dimensioned engineering drawings of machine tools automatically, using a new function offered in NUM's Numroto grinding software. By producing cross-sectional views of a tool – at any position along its length – the new Numroto Draw function can effectively automate production verification. The drawings also incorporate images obtained directly from 3D simulations, so complex grinding details can be portrayed graphically and “unequivocally,” according to NUM. NUM is a developer of CNC machining software for machining, including platforms for rotary transfer and multispindle machining, high-speed multi-axis machining, gear grinding, and other tasks. Numroto is a platform for tool grinding applications.

The Numroto Draw function allows users to simulate precise details of tools prior to production, or to confirm the ground geometry of a tool as part of the delivery process. The developer also indicated the software will be popular with tool resharpening companies, who can use it to provide customers with documentation of their work, before or after it is complete.

“Our software is extremely popular with tool manufacturers and resharpening companies,” offered NUM Numroto group R&D head Patrick Schmid, who described more than 3,000 installations for more than 50 different machine types. “Numroto Draw is the latest technological milestone in the evolution of tool grinding software. By effectively automating product documentation, it will help users accelerate production verification, aid quality control, and lead to faster order delivery.”

Numrotoplus software uses detailed graphical and color images to show the grinding process. In this example, a milling cutter wheel will overheat unless the user modifies the program.

Most currently available product documentation software for multi-axis tool grinding are relatively simple drawing generators, generally limited to a single type of tool, such as a drill, and present information as parameterized drawings. While these are adequate for documenting the outer geometry of a tool, they do not show the precise cross-sectional details of a complex, ground geometry.

Numroto Draw works by integrating the drawing functions with the multiple data sources in the core Numroto software. A drawing is derived directly from the same data source as the CNC program, ensuring there is no ambiguity in the process. Using data that defines the spatial course of the tool’s cutting edge, the software automatically calculates all dimensions that require presentation and then generates the appropriate drawing. If any of the dimensions do not meet a customer’s requirement, they can be amended very easily.

In addition, if the Numroto program also includes the grinding wheel data, Numroto Draw can process this information to create 3D details and integrate them with the drawing. 3D details can be represented as color images or as wire frame models, and provide an extremely accurate portrayal of the tool’s profile or cross-sectional geometry between or at any position(s) along its length.

Drawings created in Numroto Draw are fully editable. Users can structure header information to suit a customer’s requirements, and the tool designation can be taken directly from the Numroto database. A separate table showing a tool’s main parameters can be created either by the user or adapted from one of the program templates, and populated using values from the Numroto database. The documentation (which can be structured to occupy several pages if desired) also may include a graphical representation of the grinding wheel pack, together with a table containing information about each wheel, such as its diameter, width and grinding angle.

3D tool and machine simulation, with animation, presents a comprehensive overview of the grinding process.

The CNC software developer stated that Numroto Draw function helps to shorten the sampling process. Customers of tool-grinding companies often describe their requirement for a new tool vocally, with the help of hand-drawn sketches. After creating a CNC program for the tool-grinding machine, the company then grinds a sample tool. At that point any necessary revisions to the design become apparent, and the process is often highly iterative.

Using Numroto Draw, companies can now present customers with a drawing showing the precise grindable geometry of the tool very early in the development cycle. A 3D model can be created, so the customer can view the proposed tool from various perspectives. Any design changes can be implemented immediately, prior to grinding a sample tool, accelerating the process and minimizing costs and scrap.

NUM also reported enhancements to other Numroto capabilities. The number and type of measurements that can be performed during grinding operations has been extended significantly. Typically, operators can maintain tolerances to within ±3 microns, even when producing a wide range of tools that may involve as many as 15 different measurements. Also, the software now features an XML data interface, so tool geometry parameters such as length, diameter, rake angle, relief information and many others can be exported for use in other programs, or imported from a customer’s database to shorten the design-to-production path.

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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