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Automating NC Programming Helps Speed Machining Processes, Improves Part Quality

Pat Waurzyniak
By Patrick Waurzyniak Contributing Editor, SME Media
David Klotz, president and CEO, Tebis America Inc. (Troy, MI)

Manufacturing Engineering: What’s new for Tebis in CAD/CAM software?

David Klotz: The new Tebis interface and Version 4.0 were first made available on the market in the summer of 2015. We continue to bring out new releases and our most recent update is Release 3, which came out in the fall of 2016. The new features in Release 3 include a new user interface, design and manufacturing preparation, active surface preparation, reverse engineering, surface modeling, machine collision checking, automated 2.5D machining, collision avoidance, five-axis milling, and laser cutting and trimming. Tebis’ strengths are in efficiently and reliably manufacturing high-quality parts for our customers. Release 4 is scheduled for the spring of 2017 and there is a clear and defined product roadmap for future releases beyond this.

ME: Your CAD/CAM software focuses on die/mold and toolmaking, as well as aerospace and automotive machining. What’s new in Tebis for moldmaking and other areas?

Klotz: One specific area is NC automation. Tebis NC Automation allows you to automate and standardize your processes in three- to five-axis NC programming. Users are able to work faster without losing quality. The benefits are standardized workflows as well as automatic NC programming, even for complex geometries. Users can automatically describe prismatic geometries as features and this will fully automate NC programming preparation.

ME: What are machinists looking for most in CAD/CAM software?

Klotz: Tebis has been focusing on automation in programming; this makes it easier for the operator and gives them piece of mind, as well the management team. Creating templates and standardizing machining processes is the key for companies so they can reduce errors and save time on machining and training new employees. Machinists are also looking for reliability, and getting the best possible protection for their machines and parts. Having a fully integrated simulation module gives users five-axis avoidance and milling area reduction to prevent collisions. Tebis simulates the properties of the real machine and control, and displays detected collisions and limit switch problems in the CAM programming environment.

ME: Tell us about the manufacturing execution systems [MES] software offering from Tebis.

Klotz: Proleis is a comprehensive paperless system for manufacturing planning and control. Proleis includes modules to support purchasing, scheduling, resource allocation, workflow, transport, incident reporting, and more. The MES models the entire shop and the complete lifecycle of parts and assemblies, from purchasing materials to routing the work for machining and assembly. The status of all activity is monitored and stored in the central database and available in real-time to everyone with appropriate rights to view. Working closely with Proleis, Tebis provides comprehensive data management and manufacturing planning and control features so users can perfectly manufacture individual parts—from the proposal to the finished product.

The latest Tebis CAD/CAM software adds NC automation features that help machinists automate and standardize processes in three- to five-axis NC programming. New features offer automatic creation of prismatic geometries.

ME: There are a lot of established players in MES software. What areas does this MES offering focus on?

Klotz: Proleis is particularly well-suited for complex, made-to-order assemblies and products, for companies that focus in the tool, die and mold industries, along with aerospace and mechanical engineering. Companies that have high flexibility in product engineering and small-volume production are a great fit for Proleis. The software is ideal for companies that have a hard time scheduling due to high product variability and changing production flow.

ME: How can MES software help improve manufacturing productivity and efficiency?

Klotz: Almost all roles in the shop should benefit from access to the data that is managed and reported in the MES. Managers can do budget projections and capacity analysis, while shop-floor people can get notifications of their next scheduled task and even the current physical location of a workpiece. Best practices are captured and promoted, and deviations and incidents can be studied to foster continuous improvement. Proleis is an end-to-end manufacturing solution that offers optimal data management and organization, transparent decision-making in the proposal, fast and easy planning and capacity control, transparent and reliable logistics, optimal tool provision, and process optimization.

New Releases

The new FANUC Machining Simulator from FANUC America Corp. (Rochester Hills, MI) includes a part design/engineering element, a complete CNC based on the FANUC Series 0i-MODEL F and a machining simulation component that allows users to see how their designs and programs behave in a milling or turning process.

The new FANUC Machining Simulator is aimed at classroom environments to give students the experience of working with part design, CNC programming and a production machining simulation.

FANUC’s new education simulator encompasses the complete manufacturing process from part design and engineering to CNC programming to virtual production simulation. The simulator features Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD/CAM/CAE software and a custom machining simulation program designed by ModuleWorks. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD/CAM/ CAE software platform that helps bridge the gap between design and machining and works on both Mac and PC computers.

Students can use Fusion 360 to perform CAD/CAM work and the included postprocessors will convert the designs into G code suitable for the included CNC. The CNC uses this G code to command the machine tool, and the simulation system also includes a simple G-code editor for making modifications before the program is sent to the CNC. Students can easily import their programs directly to the CNC using the FANUC FASBacCNC user interface and also back-up the critical CNC data.

The core of the system is the flexible FANUC CNC Simulator, which offers users the experience of working with the real look-and-feel of a true hardware-based FANUC control. Based on the FANUC Series 0i-Model F, the CNC Simulator can be operated as either a three-axis mill or a two-axis lathe. Users can run programs, manage tooling and make any modifications on the control just like they would in a manufacturing environment. The simulator includes FANUC Manual Guide i conversational programming software for users who would like to learn shop-floor programming. An integrated PC is embedded in the FANUC CNC Simulator to run the Fusion 360 and ModuleWorks simulation software.

The machining simulation component was developed in partnership with ModuleWorks, a supplier of CAD/CAM components for toolpath generation and simulation. Users can virtually manufacture parts in milling or turning environments with realistic kinematics and structure. The simulation is based on actual CNC position data, not on the G-code program; this provides the most realistic simulation as the virtual machine reacts exactly as a real machine.

Manual machine functions like jog, hand-wheel and reference cycles work exactly like a real machine. The software also uses color-coded toolpaths, back-plot and cut locations to make it easy for users to identify the tool, path and cutting result. Real-time collision detection uses visual and audio signals to notify users of collisions. The milling simulation includes a 21-tool changer and the turning simulation includes a 12-tool turret. Milling tool data can be freely assigned or imported from the CNC simulator, while turning uses a predefined set of turning tools that cover a wide range of applications.

Siemens PLM Software (Plano, TX) has released a new version of its Star-CCM+ software that adds several updates that are said to enhance prediction of product performance with its digital twin.

The Star-CCM+ version 12.02 update offers photo-realistic visuals that enhance understanding of simulation results and helps engineers unlock deeper meaning behind complex engineering simulations. Using features such as Adaptive Gridding and the ability to simulate reactions in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), users will be at the forefront of predictive engineering analytics which increases design efficiency, reduces costs and produces higher quality, innovative designs. The software is part of the company’s Simcenter suite of simulation software and test solutions.

Star-CCM+ v12.02 introduces Ray Tracing, a capability that allows engineers to apply photo-realistic renderings to their design and simulation results, utilizing similar technology that is used to provide the computer-generated imagery (CGI) special effects in movies and computer games.


Manufacturing researcher CIMdata Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI) has formed an Additive Manufacturing Strategy Consulting Practice to help clients make strategic-level decisions concerning adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) methods and techniques into production processes. To support this new practice, CIMdata President Peter Bilello announced James White will lead the practice as director, Additive Manufacturing Strategy Consulting Practice.

White brings to CIMdata and its clients over 30 years of PLM, AM/3D Printing, and general manufacturing industry experience. Prior to CIMdata, he held roles in Fortune 1000 software and consulting companies responsible for product management, strategic alliances, account management and business development.

Software Update is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak;

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