Delcam’s new machining software to debut at TCT/Interplas

The 2012 versions of Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system for high-speed and five-axis machining and its FeatureCAM feature-based programming software will make their UK debuts at the TCT/Interplas exhibition to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, from 27th to 29th September.  Both new releases will include a number of new strategies, together with more general enhancements to make programming easier and faster, and machining more efficient with the best-possible surface finish.

The most important new option in PowerMILL 2012 is flowline machining.  With flowline machining, the toolpath is divided between a pair of drive curves in a constant number of passes, rather than having a varying number of passes with a constant stepover.  This produces a better surface finish on the part and minimises wear on the cutter and the machine tool.

Another new option that will give better results during five-axis machining is the ability to control the angular point distribution.  This option can be used to keep the machine tool moving smoothly when there is rapid angular change in one of its rotary axes.

Other enhancements include more control over the clearance distances applied to the cutter and its holder, new thread milling options, and improved workplane editing.  It has also been made easier to obtain measurements, including distances, angles and directions, from the part model and enter these values into forms automatically.

A number of the improvements in FeatureCAM 2012 will make the software even easier to use.  A range of keyboard shortcuts have been added and toolpath editing has been made much easier.

The most important improvement for increasing machine productivity comes from further developments in the use of stock models to cover 2D features, including bosses, sides and slots.  The models allow the user to visualize the stock remaining after each operation.  This makes it easier to eliminate air cutting and so generate more efficient toolpaths with reduced machining times.  The models also simplify the selection of the most appropriate tools for rest-roughing and finishing operations.

Other improvements include extra options within the tooling database, the ability to automatically counterbore holes before drilling, fully-automated de-burring and chamfering, the possibility to create a negative leave allowance (such as a fitting allowance) for turning or wire EDM to produce undersized features without remodelling, and much improved performance on the largest part files with hundreds of thousands of entities.

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