NewsDesk Software: Accurate Simulation, Verification and Optimization Leads to Success in Complex Multitasking
Richard Parenteau is director of applications development and Nakamura-Tome product manager, Methods Machine Tools Inc. (Sudbury, MA). For more information, visit www.methodsmachine.com.
Manufacturing Engineering: How has multitasking evolved in recent years, and what industries are best taking advantage of the technology?
Richard Parenteau: New multi-turret technology is maximizing the capabilities of today’s leading multitasking machines to provide exceptional efficiency. The use of multiple turrets with Y-axis or B-axis tool spindles takes full advantage of a machine’s capabilities and has brought unprecedented levels of productivity to users. Those in the medical and aerospace industries have already been using this technology to improve their machine processes, resulting in a greater quality of geometric tolerance and high accuracy, as well as offering full deburring capabilities. Even some automotive component manufacturers have seen the benefits of higher-quality parts when machining a broader range of challenging features by using one multi-turret machine versus doing several setups on multiple machines to produce the same parts. This "done-in-one" approach has provided a whole new way of processing complex parts complete with greater efficiency and quality, including reducing fixture handling, to minimize error.
ME: How critical is simulation and postprocessing for programming today’s complex multitasking machine tools?
Parenteau: The challenge now on new multi-turret, multitasking platforms is setup and the ability to prove out the process. This is where the CNC computer control together with the simulation and post-processing software are the most important tools for success. Today’s multitasking platforms have many moving elements and need to work with complex parts. Using simulation and post-processing software that integrates all aspects of the machine is key, including full transfer of the part from left spindle to right spindle, wait-code timing, pinch turning or pinch milling and time management of each operation so that maximizing the process can be seen very easily. The simulation and post-processing software provides the programmer with knowledge on time available so that he can generate the optimum cycle time on the first piece made, and with this software, users can see and verify entire setups while off-line. Programmers can import CAM-generated code into this software for accurate simulation/optimization before actually running on the machine. With this process, machine downtime is avoided.
ME: Your company worked with CAMplete Solutions to develop the CAMplete TurnMill software for Nakamura machines. What does this package offer users?
Parenteau: We recognized an unmet market requirement when our customers were not getting the most out of their new machine tool investments. We decided to work with CAMplete Solutions [Waterloo, ON, Canada] to develop software to meet the needs of our Nakamura-Tome Multitasking Machine customers. The result was CAMplete TurnMill software, an integrated suite of G-code editing, optimization, analysis and verification tools, enabling a full range of turn-mill functions which is now standard on all Nakamura-Tome Multitasking Turning Centers.
CAMplete TurnMill software for multitasking is a very powerful tool to reduce setup and prove out a new multitasking process. The simulation of the process on the software allows the setup and prove-out to be done off-line away from the machine. This allows the machine to be running while you get the next job ready to run.
ME: What is the most critical element of this simulation and post-processing system?
Parenteau: CAMplete TurnMill software was developed to create a program that could combine G-code from CAM systems and hand-coded G-code into a set of programs that could be simulated, fine-tuned and optimized using detailed 3D Nakamura machine models. The ability to simulate full 3D Nakamura-Tome models is a key part of the success of CAMplete software. For example, if you are not simulating with a true 3D machine model, then you do not have a full picture. If this were the case, the outcome might be a process which leaves room for error with a higher possibility of a machine crash.
ME: What key technical advances does this simulation software offer machinists doing turn-mill and multitasking?
Parenteau: The CAMplete TurnMill software allows you to drag and drop tools from one turret to the other, or from the left spindle to the right spindle on twin-spindle machines, and re-run the simulation until you have satisfactorily optimized the process. The Tool Library has a full array of toolholders, milling heads and workholding options to choose from. Each item in the library can be changed at any time. Once you are satisfied with the process, the post-process using real G-code and custom G-code developed by Nakamura-Tome will simulate and confirm the results. By simulation with true G-code programming and using a true 3D model, your process will be 99% accurate to what you will see in the machine tool. This is the point where you have reduced your setup and prove-out time before you go to the machine tool.
ME: What are some recently updated features this software offers for improving turn-mill and multitasking productivity?
Parenteau: The latest version of CAMplete TurnMill 6.0 for Nakamura Multitasking Turning Centers has been upgraded with full metal-removal simulation capability, a redesigned and enhanced tool library for greater ease-of-use and faster processing, as well as the ability to create custom macros and easily insert them into any G-code. The new CAMplete 6.0 offers full 64-bit support for large programs and postprocessing that is compatible with Delcam PowerMILL, Mastercam, and Open Mind’s hyperMILL software. CAMplete TurnMill allows the user to fully and confidently utilize their multitasking machine, optimizing their productivity to make them as competitive as possible. ME
3D Systems to Acquire Geomagic
Additive manufacturer 3D Systems Corp. (Rock Hill, SC) signed a definitive agreement on Jan. 3 to acquire Geomagic Inc. (Morrisville, NC), a developer of 3D authoring solutions including software tools used to create and inspect products throughout the design and manufacturing process. The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013 after those conditions are met. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Adding Geomagic’s software tools for sculpting, modeling, scanning and inspecting will be complementary with 3D Systems’ portfolio, strengthening its 3D authoring platform and positioning it for accelerated growth in the fast-growing, 3D content-to-print space, according to 3D Systems. The deal also will increase the company’s reseller coverage globally and is expected to be accretive to its non-GAAP earnings in the first full year following the completion of transaction.
"Geomagic represents the perfect strategic fit for us and we will be thrilled to welcome 3D pioneer and Geomagic Founder and CEO Ping Fu as our Chief Strategy Officer once the deal has closed," Abe Reichental, 3D Systems president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our complementary capabilities in product development, channel coverage and marketing combined with greater efficiencies are sure to result in more affordable and user-friendly solutions that will delight our customers and could present attractive long-term shareholder value. In line with that, we intend to expand the range of our 3D authoring solutions further into new manufacturing and consumer applications and concurrently maintain and enhance the existing Geomagic and Rapidform product lines."
Last April, Geomagic expanded its technology with the acquisition of Sensable Technologies (Wilmington, MA), a developer of touch-enabled haptic feedback tools used by engineers creating 3D designs for the automotive and medical industries.
"We have worked with 3D Systems for many years to accelerate adoption of 3D content-to-print solutions and believe that now is the right time to combine our efforts to further democratize access to design and 3D printing," Ping Fu, founder and CEO of Geomagic, said in a statement. "Joining 3D Systems provides us with the scale, resources and strategic platform to realize our shared vision of delivering functional, affordable and extensible 3D authoring solutions for the benefit of professional designers and engineers, as well as the exciting maker’s movement."
Vero UK Ltd. (Cheltenham, UK) announced Jan. 3 that its latest Edgecam software will offer a direct interface with Autodesk Vault 2013 from Autodesk Inc. (San Rafael, CA), allowing users to manage Edgecam files in Autodesk Vault, a data management tool integrated with the Autodesk Inventor series and Autodesk Inventor Professional that many Edgecam users run as their preferred CAD System. Storing the design and Edgecam manufacturing in Autodesk Vault enables design teams to track work-in-progress and maintain version control over jobs in multi-user environments. Edgecam is a certified partner product for Autodesk Inventor.
PLM and CAM developer Geometric Ltd. (Mumbai) announced Jan. 2 that its German subsidiary, Geometric Europe GmbH (Stuttgart, Germany), has acquired a 100% stake in electronics engineering developer 3Cap Technologies GmbH (Oberschleissheim, Germany). 3Cap is valued at €11 million, of which €7.5 million will be paid up front.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) developer Epicor Software Corp. (Dublin, CA) announced on Dec. 18, 2012, that Crescent Electric Supply Co. (East Dubuque, IL) has selected the Epicor Eclipse wholesale distribution ERP solution to increase efficiency and streamline processes for overall performance. With 120 locations, 1600 employees, and more than $900 million in annual revenues, Crescent Electric is one of the largest independent distributors of electrical hardware and supplies in the U.S., serving contractors, OEMs, and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO).
NewsDesk Software is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak: email@example.com.
This article was first published in the February 2013 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.