CAD/CAM integration in manufacturing: publications

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5 Powerful and profitable ways to use CAM software in NC-programming

5 Powerful and profitable ways to use CAM software in NC-programming

CAM software is used by manufacturing shops throughout the world, including sectors in aerospace, production machining, automotive, farming, medical, etc… Just to scratch the surface. The advantages are vast when it comes to creating a productive workflow for CNC machining with CAD & CAM software respectively. Let’s take a look at 5 of these advantages that are available & how that translates to more profit.

CAM software initially increases productivity by as much as 50 percent

Shops that are not actively using CNC programming software stand to increase their productivity by as much as 50% by simply implementing it to program parts on their CNC machines almost immediately. The endgame is to program parts while machining programs. This makes CNC milling software profitable right out of the box in terms of increasing productivity. Gone are the days of having to hand-calculate toolpaths for CNC machining as CAM software is the solution.

CAM Software can crosspost to multiple machine tools on the shop floor

CAM software provides customizable post processors that allow machinists to set up jobs that can be efficiently run on more than one CNC machine at a time. CAM vendors typically supply free post processors for hundreds of machines like Haas, Hurco, Mazak, Bridgeport, Fanuc and many others. Popular home-built or retrofitted CNC machine controllers often use popular controller software products such as Mach3.

CAM programming software will also allow machinists to set up posting through a series of post checkboxes or VB scripting type formats. In the end, CAM products are basically useless without a working post processor to generate the correct G-Code or NC file to use at the machine. The profitable benefit here is being able to crosspost jobs to more than just one machine at a time.

CAM software saves time – streamline your CNC programming workflow

CAM software allows the operator/machinist to quickly program toolpaths based off of 2D or 3D CAD geometry. CAM systems are often ‘wizard-driven’. Wizards guide the operator through the programming process in simple steps. Integrated CAD & CAM allows shops to connect with their customers CAD Files and efficiently machine them. CAM software allows machinists to keep jobs organized with material data, tools and editable toolpaths in one place. These features streamline the process of generating NC programs efficiently.

CAM Software offers intelligent toolpaths that reduce cycle times

CAM software technology now offers high-speed trochoidal type toolpaths that reduce stop-and-go tool motion, allowing machinists to make deeper cuts and much higher speeds. High-speed toolpaths can reduce cycle times by as much as 70%! Other toolpath machining operations include REST or RE-Machining added to normal finishing toolpaths. These types of machine toolpath strategies are faster and more intelligent.

The controlled arc of engagement generates low cutting forces which enable high axial depths of cut. Multi-edged tools can be used, enabling high table feeds with secure tool life. In other words, deeper cuts can be achieved easily. The whole cutting edge length can be utilized, ensuring that the heat and wear are uniform & spread out, leading to longer tool life. With High-speed machining, there is a constant tool engagement, deeper cutting, and NO stop and go. High-speed toolpaths are excellent for slotting and pocketing when vibration is an issue. Much higher speeds are used, resulting in superior finishes due to a number of factors (reduced tool deflection, vibration/chatter, etc…) while machine cycle times are vastly reduced. Thus, the machinist can expect shorter cycle times on jobs leading to what’s known as “profit Milling.”

CAD-CAM simulation reduces costly mistakes

CAM software provides virtual simulation functionality that allows the machinist to inspect toolpaths prior to machining. Simulation shows tool gouges or collisions that can sometimes happen. 3D parts are more complex and tool holders can sometimes crash in steep cavities regardless of how Z-Level toolpaths are created. Therefore, it is critical that simulation is added to the process to visualize machining before actually running the program at the machine. Other benefits include cycle time calculations and “machined part deviation.” This is where the machinist can see the difference between the model and machined part (using different colors) to inspect tolerances and machining results.

Dreambird's comments

Hexagon Production Software solutions possess various functions described in the article above, which increase company's profits due to built-in technological innovations. Depending on the type of metal that the manufacturer works on and the specifics of the goods produced, one may choose the most suitable product from the developer's portfolio. For example, there is EDGECAM solution for mill-turn and multi-axis equipment, RADAN for sheet metal fabrication and VISI four mould&die design and manufacturing.

These solutions feature various toolpath designated for different kinds of tooling, with vast libraries of post-processors and machinery that can be found at manufacturing sites. An operator or engineer may use simulation, collision detection and on-machine inspection functionalities. Hexagon Production Software shares its technological achievements between all the software suites and applications, constantly investing in further software development.

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