Software Versions Target Specific Needs

Software Versions Target Specific Needs

PowerMill version 8 is designed to make machining blisks and impellers easier.

PartMaker's SwissCAM does full simulations of Swiss-style machines.

FeatureCAM 2008 targets 5-axis and B-axis turn-mill machining.

Three new versions of CAM software packages from the Delcam ( family of products offer features geared toward programming applications that shops often struggle with.

PowerMill version 8 sports new modules for blisk and impellers, FeatureCAM 2008 highlights 5-axis simultaneous and B-axis turn-mill machining, and PartMaker version 8 now provides full simulation of Swisstype lathes and turn-mill centers.

PowerMill's new module for blisk and impellers lets shops program these complex components in about 30 minutes, as opposed to processes that can take hours. In one operation, shops can create roughing and finishing toolpaths for blisks and impellers while the module's automated copying for toolpaths lets them quickly create evenly spaced blades. There is also a full gouge and collision-protection function that includes an auto-avoid routine.

For more precise toolpath control and better surface finishes, PowerMill provides surface swarf machiningand tool-axis editing functions. Swarf machining forces toolpaths to follow surface internals for more precise control in tight corners and other similar part areas. Cutting tools are able to better follow workpiece contours, which is especially beneficial when machining aerospace parts.

Tool-axis editing allows shops to re-define tool-axis vectors in a given region of a toolpath to generate the best cutting conditions in different part areas. This function eliminates sudden machine tool moves that could result in poor surface finishes.

In addition, Delcam has beefed up PowerMill version 8's tool database. Users can easily select tools and link to more information on feeds and speeds with the database. The database can be edited by the user, and it shares information with Delcam's FeatureCAM software.

FeatureCAM 2008 lets shops machine directly from solid models without having to draw or manipulate geometry data. The software recognizes solid-model features and knows which tools are needed and the speeds and feeds that are required to machine those features. However, the new version also addresses 5-axis, simultaneous machining and B-axis turn-mill machining, and for those it features new toolpath techniques and a toolaxis control function.

Two of the toolpath techniques are swarfing and 5-axis trimming, both make for smoother surface machining. Swarfing lays the tool on the surface for cutting, and 5-axis trimming runs the tool around part shapes.

Tool-axis control allows users to specify tool lead angles (how much the tool tilts back to front), tool lean (how much it leans side to side) and other tool positioning. Tool-axis control also can provide automatic gouge avoidance. Enhancements for turn-mill machining include Z-face rotation for machines with limited Y-axis movement, new post processors for a variety of machine models, new OEM machine design files for simulations, enhanced turning operations such as the inclusion of canned drilling cycles, and the elimination of air cutting.

While PartMaker version 8 has enhancements in its general systems, solids handling and 3D surface machining, the big news is that it does full simulations of Swiss-type lathes and turn-mill centers through PartMaker SwissCAM. These fullmachine simulations use CADgenerated solid models of actual OEM machine components for shops to conduct collision checking of programs. The simulation function can display tool numbers on tool posts and supports non-standard turret architectures.

Solid handling improvements within PartMarker version 8 include simulation of toolpaths on solid models for all operations and support for SolidWorks 2007 and Autodesk Inventor 2008. To optimize 3D surface machining, PartMaker upgraded the software's thinning tolerance for reducing toolpath calculations and NC program lengths. As a general enhancement, the software now supports the Windows Vista operating system.

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