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The Heart of Modern Manufacturing

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

New controls and CAD/CAM technology are powering major advances in productivity

The new-generation TNC 640 control.

Controls help make modern manufacturing go. Controls help shop floor employees monitor Industry 4.0 technology. Controls also boost productivity on the shop floor. Technology companies are highlighting improvements designed to maintain the forward momentum of advanced technology.

New-Generation TNC 640 Control

Heidenhain Corp., Schaumburg, Illinois, is highlighting the new Gen 3 version of its TNC 640 machine control. The control is useful for machines ranging from three-axis milling to five-axis simultaneous machining with milling, turning and grinding operations in up to 24 axes.

“This new Gen 3 TNC 640 control will allow end users and machine tool builders to do more than previously possible in manufacturing,” said Gisbert Ledvon, Heidenhain director of business development, machine tools. “Some specifics include now allowing end users to confidently machine parts in one setup quickly and accurately down to lot size one. It also allows machine tool builders to incorporate it and offer more functionality, including predictive maintenance functions within one machining center.”

With its new Gen 3 drives, Heidenhain’s TNC 640 provides higher spindle and axis dynamics during the manufacturing process. These drives also require less space in its electrical cabinet, resulting in reduced storage, mounting costs and servicing time.

With Gen 3 drives serving as the new system foundation, new TNC 640 customers will benefit with high availability and surface quality with shortened machining times, according to Heidenhain. The new StateMonitor 1.3 enables the control to remotely monitor efficiency improvements and calculate the ROI of these new CNC functions.

Simulation, Cobots

FANUC America Corp., Rochester Hills, Mich., is expanding its CNC training offerings to include five-axis simulation. The company’s CNC machining simulation for workforce development provides virtual training for controls operation and part programming. The advanced package combines FANUC’s CNC guide and simulation software that can now be operated as one of the three main five-axis mill kinematics.

FANUC says its new collaborative robots have improved ease of use and safety.

FANUC’s CNC now can control connected robots, providing machine tending or other assistance through the company’s quick and simple startup of robotization (QSSR). The new QSSR G-code feature allows operators and machine tool builders to program robots through the FANUC CNC in ISO standard G-code format.

The company also is introducing the Series 30i-B Plus CNC. Improvements include a state-of-the-art CPU for increased processing power and features designed to simplify five-axis machining.

FANUC’s new CRX-10iA and CRX-10iA/L (long arm version) collaborative robots have new standards in terms of ease of use, reliability and safety, according to the company. The new 10-kg payload CRX-10iA and CRAX-10iA/L provide a reach of 1,249 mm and 1,418 mm, respectively.

The company’s new SR-12iA SCARA robot features as 12-kg payload, 900-mm reach and 300-mm stroke, with a 450-mm option. FANUC said the robot’s compact and lightweight design provides space savings. The robot is powered by the latest R-30iB Compact Plus controller.

FANUC said the SR-12iA is ideal for high-speed packaging, assembly and general handling applications in the medical device, durable goods and the automotive/industrial component markets.

“COVID-19 has changed everything to online experiences and FANUC has shifted to that method to interact with our customers and prospects for however long it takes,” said Geoff Dawson, director of Michigan and ROBOMACHINE sales.

Updated VERICUT Includes Major Enhancements

CGTech, Irvine, Calif., is bringing out VERICUT 9.1, which includes force optimization enhancements such as new Force “Learn” mode and Force charts. Learn mode is introducing artificial intelligence for optimization. VERICUT learns from cutting while an operator simulates, automatically setting up tools for optimizing. It can auto-optimize the NC programs after learning. The company said using Learn mode can optimize NC programs from existing programs.

VERICUT 9.1’s annotated images can provide instructions that describe the setup plan of the machine.

Multi-Tool Station Support includes support for tap tools and “dead” (non-spinning) drills, among others. VERICUT provides error notifications for motions that are not along the tool’s axis, such as lateral tool motions and when tap feed rates and spindle rpm will not produce the desired threads, according to CGTech.

Also, informative images can be captured with instructions that describe the setup plan or the machine. Inspection plans can be created with dimensions, notes and tolerances for checking parts at different stages of machining. Annotated images clarify what the machine setup should be and what to expect when running the part program to ensure the finished part matches the intended design.

Mill and holemaking tools in VERICUT now have greater control over describing the non-cutting shank portion of a tool assembly, according to the company. Defining shanks as separate objects from the holder and the cutter enables a programmer to see where non-cutting portions of the tool are relative to the workpiece.

Finally, simulation of additive manufacturing processes without the need for a starting stock model have been added.

Mastercam Reveals Latest in CAD/CAM

Recently released Mastercam 2021 CAD/CAM software includes improved, more flexible multi-axis operations; turning and turning-related applications; and advances in speed, safety, and more, according to Mastercam developer CNC Software Inc., Tolland, Conn. “Mastercam is developed by listening to our users and creating solutions for their problems,” said Meghan West, president and CEO of CNC Software. “With more shops relying on streamlined multi-axis cutting for single-setup precision, Mastercam 2021 adds new techniques.”

Mastercam 2021’s roughing module.

According to the company, Expanded Multiaxis Pocketing combines efficient pocket cutting with a focus on finishing with Accelerated Finish tools, automatically maintaining the correct tool contact within defined parameters. Mastercam now analyzes and modifies the UV direction on surface models, expanding the flexibility of multi-axis flowline milling toolpaths. The new 3+2 Automatic Roughing toolpath automatically makes multiplane three-axis roughing toolpaths by evaluating the model and stock, creating a cut, calculating what remains, and repeating the process until roughing is complete.

Mastercam 2021 also expands the support for modeling chucks and chuck jaws; it now defines them by selecting a solid model. Mastercam Mill-Turn supports collet chucks as individual component types, which expands the range of machines that are supported. Mill-Turn Simulation has been added to the Mastercam Simulator interface so users experience Mill-Turn simulation with the same interface tools as Mastercam Simulator. Swiss machining solutions combine Mastercam Mill and Mastercam Lathe with specialized post-processors. This adds machine-specific controls inside the Mastercam interface, delivering G-code for a variety of Swiss-style machines.

A new toolpath in Mastercam 2021, Advanced Drill, is a customizable multi-segment drill cycle that is useful for spot drilling, deep-hole drilling, and back spot facing; each segment of the drill cycle can be defined and customized. And, when using tools with a tip angle, the new Chamfer Drill toolpath chamfers holes after calculating the correct depth based on the desired width or depth, and lets users select holes of different diameters, or that lie in different planes, and machine them in a single operation with a single tool. When creating a bounding box in Mastercam 2021, the new Wrap option creates the smallest bounding box possible. The new Check Tool Reach function checks tool and holder against the selected model geometry to view where the tool can reach.

Enhanced hyperMILL Improves Surface Finish

Open Mind Technologies is continuing to provide product enhancements in hyperMILL CAM software focused on high-quality surface finishes. Advancements include a high-precision mode to machine directly to the surface model instead of an approximated mesh; smooth overlap technology has been added to more strategies; and techniques using conical barrel cutters can be applied to wall and bottom surfaces as well as to fillets, according to Alan Levine, managing director, Open Mind Technologies USA Inc., Needham, Mass.

MAXX Machining techniques greatly reduce machining times compared to traditional techniques, according to Open Mind.

The hyperMILL MAXX Machining performance techniques have been extended with 5-Axis Prismatic Fillet Finishing, Perfect Pocketing, and High-Performance Turning strategies. These hyperMILL MAXX Machining techniques greatly reduce machining times compared to traditional techniques, according to Levine.

“Manufacturers are under constant pressure to improve delivery times while meeting rigorous production requirements,” he said. “The improvements to surface finish help manufacturers achieve shorter delivery times by reducing or eliminating post-machining secondary processes. The improved blending through hyperMILL CAM software strategies also enhances overall quality, which is not possible with hand finishing of critical components such as in the mold and die industry.”

Levine noted that hyperMILL Virtual Machining is available, providing integrated post processing and G-code simulation, together with toolpath optimization based on linear and rotary machine constraints. He added that a smooth program linking capability with embedded collision avoidance offers assurance to operators.

Probing Cycles Improve Setup and Accuracy

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ESPRIT CAD/CAM supports CNC machines, from low-end to high-end machine types and machining processes including: millTurn and multi-tasking; Swiss-type CNC turning and B-axis multi-tasking; two- to five-axis milling; two- to five-axis wire EDM and “Turn & Burn”; high-speed simultaneous three-, four-, and five-axis toolpaths; production turning, multi-turret and multi-spindle solutions; on-machine inspection (probing); direct energy deposition AM; and knowledge-based part programming automation.

Also, ESPRIT CAM software now includes a suite of probing cycles. Although probing support is not new for ESPRIT, the new features of the option include: offline inspection programming, which offers users the benefits of virtual simulation for program verification and collision detection; post processing and full control over each probing routine; and compatibility with more CNC machines and probe manufacturers.
DP Technology Corp.
805 388 6000 /

OEE / Data Collection Software

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Wintriss is highlighting its ShopFloorConnect Version 6.0 software. ShopFloorConnect OEE and Shop Floor Data Collection Software collects downtime and production efficiency data from all machines in a manufacturing operation, displays it in real-time, and produces manufacturing reports, including detailed OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) reports in a variety of formats. The software can increase manufacturing capacity and profitability by identifying and quantifying excessive production losses and bottlenecks, reducing machine downtime by up to 70 percent, according to Wintriss. Also, the Wintriss SmartPAC PRO Press Automation Controller features a large, vivid touch-screen interface; user-configurable dashboards; virtually unlimited tool setup storage; and the ability to share setups among networked SmartPAC PRO units, among other features.
Wintriss Controls Group
800-586-8324 /

Smart Engineering Directly in the Cloud

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With TwinCAT Cloud Engineering software for IoT and Industry 4.0 applications, an addition to the TwinCAT 3 platform, users can instantiate and use existing TwinCAT engineering and runtime products directly in the cloud. The solution is accessed from the Beckhoff website and requires no additional software. In addition, TwinCAT Cloud Engineering enables registered users to work with the TwinCAT development environment even from previously unsupported devices, such as tablets. PC-based control offers a central, open and comprehensive machine control platform for delivering IoT-based automation strategies. It enables machines, plants and production lines to be connected across entire processes.
Beckhoff Automation LLC
877-894-6228 /

CAD/CAM Tools for Smart Manufacturing

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HCL Technologies has released CAMWorks Version 2020 with several enhancements to assist machine shops in advancing smart manufacturing. The new version provides support for 3D printing of SOLIDWORKS Assemblies; the CAMWorks ShopFloor product; intelligent probing functionality; and automatic tab machining. With Version 2020, the CAMWorks Additive Manufacturing module, powered by Materialise, has extended 3D printing functionality to SOLIDWORKS Assemblies. Multiple parts from the same assembly or different assemblies can be nested onto the build platform. CAMWorks Additive Manufacturing automatically generates the build supports and is fully integrated into SOLIDWORKS, allowing 3D models to be printed directly from SOLIDWORKS.
CAMWorks / HCL Technologies
480-367-0132 /

Generative Design Tool

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MSC Software Corp., part of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, has released MSC Apex Generative Design 2020, a tool that enables engineers to explore new approaches and optimize designs in a single step to develop products up to 80 percent faster than conventional approaches, according to the company. The tool generates lightweight and smoothed preliminary component concepts based on engineering goals and can run on a normal laptop to generate initial candidates within an hour, and produce a final design within hours. Design goals can be set up directly, or set against an existing design from Computer Aided Design (CAD) or directly from CAE models.
MSC Software Corp.
714-540-8900 /

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