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New High-Speed Cutting Strategies Help Programmers Improve Machining Operations

Pat Waurzyniak
By Patrick Waurzyniak Contributing Editor, SME Media
Alan Levine
Managing Director
Open Mind Technologies Inc.
Needham, MA

Manufacturing Engineering: What’s new in your latest hyperMill CAM software update?

Alan Levine: As with all Open Mind upgrade releases, hyperMill 2017.2 has a broad range of new technologies and enhancements. This release covers 2.5D through five-axis milling, mill-turn and new modules such as the hyperCAD-S Electrode module. Some of the new or improved topics include a T-slot geometry feature to augment the T-slot on 3D model cutting strategy, automated creation of reference geometry for swarf milling, enhancement to 3D-optimized roughing to modify feed rates and adjust step-down depending on stock conditions, and five-axis rework enhancement to change feed rates based on conditions with ‘trim to model.’

ME: How critical is speeding key machining cycles, like roughing, in today’s production environment?

Levine: Cycle-time improvements are clearly important to end-user return on investment and productivity. Many years ago, these enhancements would focus solely on better toolpaths. New CAM software technology developments also focus on interaction of CAM software with CNC controls, or CAM software with cutting tool applications. These integrated solutions make a larger impact for software users and reward those that invest in their asset infrastructure.

Ultimately the goal is to make better parts—better in terms of time, cost and quality. Faster is one component of making better parts, but not the only measure. CAM software plays an important role in achieving this goal, and this is often in combination with machine tools, controls, tooling and fixturing systems.

ME: What key technologies are included in your latest hyperMill update, and how do they impact speed of roughing, drilling, and finishing operations?

Levine: Open Mind offers the hyperMill Maxx Machining performance package, which currently includes three distinct machining technologies for roughing, finishing and drilling. All provide enormous cycle-time reduction, as well as positive integration with machines and cutters.

The new hyperMill 2017.2 update includes the hyperMill Maxx Machining performance package for fast roughing operations.

The hyperMill Maxx Machining roughing component is based on our implementation of Celeritive Technologies’ VoluMill kernel. This has a proven record of greatly reducing roughing cut times and increasing cutter life. The hyperMill Maxx Machining drilling component uses a patented technique for five-axis helical drilling for utilizing standard cutters to open bores and pockets with outstanding chip evacuation and reduced machining times.

The hyperMill Maxx Machining finishing module is the centerpiece of this set, providing up to 90% reduction for finishing time of many surface types. Finishing times become more important as modern roughing techniques have reduced roughing cut times. Open Mind has developed innovative five-axis tangent plane and tangent machining strategies for the highly efficient finishing of planar, ruled, and general surfaces [curvature dependent] using conical barrel cutters. This module also includes many details to simplify programming and obtain high-quality surfaces with either five-axis or 3+2 indexed machining. Patented innovations also allow the conical barrel cutter to reach further into corners and cover the largest potential regions of these components. Surfaces are automatically cleaned with bounding passes, using the ball end of the conical barrel cutter.

ME: How difficult is it for a CAM developer to customize components or modules like VoluMill in order to target your customers’ machining operations?

Levine: Open Mind implements the VoluMill kernel from Celeritive Technologies based on a close cooperation with our development teams. In addition to applying the high-performance roughing techniques to 2D pocketing and 3D roughing strategies, Open Mind also applied the techniques to five-axis operations through the hyperMill Shape Offset roughing module. Such an implementation is not available in other CAM integrations of VoluMill. Only hyperMill Maxx Machining extends this technology to five-axis processes.

Open Mind has integrated hyperMill within our hyperCAD-S CAD for CAM environment as well as integrating hyperMill within the SolidWorks and Inventor platforms.

ME: In what industries are users best applying these hyperMill Maxx Machining techniques; can you give examples?

Levine: The hyperMill Maxx Machining roughing module applies well to components with large roughing depths, such as mold and die and aerospace parts. It can also be applied to rotating components in energy and aircraft industries.

The Maxx Machining finishing module using conical barrel cutters is best applied to large surfaces that are not efficiently machined with a ball end mill, or are also too long for swarf milling. Some examples include multiple face surfaces on automotive fascia molds, large aero-structural components, and even in one case on smaller components used within unmanned aircraft. Applications are being extended as this novel technology is applied. Some users are also designing non-critical surfaces to be targeted for machining with these strategies using conical barrel cutters.

ME: The latest update includes the new hyperCAD-S Electrode CAD module; what does it do for your users?

Levine: The hyperCAD-S Electrode module is a utility for manufacturing electrodes easily and safely, and is of interest to many of our mold-and-die customers. Certain geometries with features such as deep slots or small corner radii are not easily milled. The Electrode module is a wizard tool designed to seamlessly guide a user through the steps to select geometric features to generate sinker EDM electrodes, with needed parameters for extensions and offsets, spark gap distances, and the ability to select optimal EDM holders from a library to drive milling toolpaths from stored programming macros. These processes can produce electrodes from complex models within minutes instead of up to four hours using other techniques. The automated procedure also includes collision checking to ensure that the electrode will not interfere with the part.

ME: How does the current CAD/CAM software environment look and how do you see the overall business climate for the near-term future?

Levine: Open Mind focuses on the CAM market and sees strong growth potential in the coming years. The largest growth in this field is with five-axis and multitasking machines. These machines give end users maximum productivity and quality improvements, allowing multiple processes and efficient machine usage of shop-floor space. Progressive CAM software complements these machines and is critical, if not necessary, for maximizing the manufacturer’s investment.

We also notice in some cases that the sales cycle from first contact to license purchase is much faster now than in the past. This may be due to the impending arrival of new equipment, or that purchasers often do more web-based research—such as web sites, blogs and articles—and then present themselves to prospective CAM suppliers with strong ideas already in mind.

Autodesk Names CEO

Autodesk CEO
Andrew Anagnost

Autodesk Inc. (San Rafael, CA) named Andrew Anagnost, who had been interim co-chief executive officer and chief marketing officer, as the company’s new president and CEO.

Anagnost, who will also join Autodesk’s board of directors, holds a PhD in aeronautical engineering and computer science from Stanford University. He began his career at Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. and as an NRC fellow at NASA Ames Research Center. After joining Autodesk in 1997, he held various posts.

Anagnost’s appointment follows the February 2017 resignation of the company’s former president and CEO, Carl Bass, who retired after a 24-year tenure at Autodesk. The company’s board conducted a four-month search, and Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, chief product officer and interim co-CEO, has left the company, Autodesk said.

CoroPlus Solutions from Sandvik Coromant Integrated into Mastercam

In a move designed to improve efficiency and quality in CAM operations, CoroPlus ToolLibrary and PrimeTurning method from Sandvik Coromant (Fair Lawn, NJ) have been integrated in Mastercam 2018 from CNC Software Inc. (Tolland, CT).

The CoroPlus suite of connected solutions from Sandvik Coromant facilitates digital machining, providing access to real-time process insights and data. Mastercam is the first CAM software to integrate solutions for both CoroPlus ToolLibrary and PrimeTurning technologies. CoroPlus ToolLibrary is a digital tool library that eliminates the need for users to browse catalogs and web pages to find tool data. It also allows users to import tool assemblies directly into their CAM system and provides access to tool catalogs containing digital representations of physical tools. The planning of machining operations using the exact dimensions and models of the tools enables accuracy in CAM programming, thus reducing the risk of collisions during machining.

CoroPlus ToolLibrary from Sandvik Coromant allows users to create digital tool assemblies and import them into Mastercam.

Users can find the tool by inputting the tool ordering code or using filter commands. The finished assemblies are then imported into Mastercam 2018, ready for programming and simulation.

“Selecting the right combination of toolholder, tool body and inserts is simplified and expedited using CoroPlus ToolLibrary,” said Pernilla Lindberg, product manager for CoroPlus ToolLibrary. “The library functionality is based on the ISO13399 tool data standard that permits users to import tool assemblies directly into their CAM package.”

Sandvik Coromant’s PrimeTurning software also is integrated into the new Mastercam 2018, enabling quick and accurate programming of the new methodology, which allows machine shops to turn components in all directions with a single tool. This partnership ensures that users can create programs for PrimeTurning within Mastercam software.

The CoroPlus ToolLibrary from Sandvik Coromant allows users to create digital tool assemblies and easily import them into Mastercam.

“To ensure that machine shops maximize the benefits and huge potential of PrimeTurning, correct and smart programming is required, as well as optimized and easy tool selection,” says Mia Pålsson, Sandvik Coromant senior manager, turning tools. “Helping to optimize manufacturing processes is a core focus at Sandvik Coromant. We are not just a cutting tool manufacturer; we help machining companies to be more efficient at the planning stage.”

New Releases

Smarter, faster machining processes are offered in the new Esprit 2017 CAM software from DP Technology Corp. (Camarillo, CA), which features quicker, simpler machining processes with expert toolpaths, streamlined user control, and accelerated processing power. Esprit 2017 features a new three-axis Global Finishing cycle that provides a comprehensive solution for steep/shallow milling of complex geometries. This cycle optimizes machining by applying the most appropriate toolpath to complex parts based on an analysis of the model and a single threshold angle.

A redesign of Esprit Facing dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to face a part. Real-time intelligence about the shape of in-process stock is now built into facing, pocketing, and contour milling for faster, more reliable programming. Awkward profiles in wire EDM parts are now cut more efficiently with new support for open profiles in EDM pocketing. When a profile is interspersed with small or oddly shaped openings, the wire can be programmed in Esprit 2017 to ignore those openings for a simple slug drop, then followed up with no-core pocketing that burns away only the small pockets of material that remain.

Advancements in Esprit’s ProfitMilling technology improve performance inside closed cavities for better chip evacuation and coolant access, and enhancements to five-axis swarf milling have improved responsiveness to a wider range of unusual part shapes for smoother, more reliable machining, according to DP Technology.

Grinding machine developer ANCA (Wixom, MI, and Melbourne, Australia) has released its new smart factory management suite, which uses virtual machine monitoring technology to achieve premium grinding efficiencies.

The new ANCA Management Suite provides customers with technology to remotely monitor the performance of their machines, enabling companies to run smart factories by providing live production information to make data-based decisions for operational improvements. Management Suite monitors machine and production in real time and delivers up-to-date information, enhancing visibility and control in manufacturing operations. The software helps reduce costly machine downtime by notifying relevant personnel with an e-mail or SMS when a machine has ceased production, with reasons for the stoppage. The system provides visibility of machine status and activity from the office PC or from anywhere if the user is logged into the company’s server.

Data analytics are key to improving business processes and this new suite has been designed to provide as much intelligence as possible on machine performance in a simple-to-use interface. The machine analytics can be used to produce highly accurate reports on machine usage, helping to reduce waste and increase overall equipment efficiency.

Software Update is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak.

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