At the TCT exhibition to be held at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, on 20th and 21st October, Delcam will show how high-speed programming with its FeatureCAM CAM software can make machining of components faster than rapid prototyping. Delcam will also support three of the main themes for the associated conference by featuring its latest software for the metrology, dental and jewellery industries.
Since RP was first introduced, machine tool manufacturers have made machining much more productive, in particular through the development of high-speed machining and through the introduction of five-axis and multi-tasking equipment that can produce even complex parts in a single operation. However, the time taken to generate the machining programs has still made the overall production time too long, especially when only a single prototype or a small run of parts is needed.
FeatureCAM overcomes this barrier by using its unique feature-based and knowledge-based technology to allow programming in seconds. Furthermore, FeatureCAM’s exceptional ease of use makes it ideal for product designers that are not CAM specialists but who need to produce physical models of their designs.
FeatureCAM’s Automatic Feature Recognition first identifies the machining features of the part and then automatically selects the tooling, machining strategies, and speeds and feeds to machine each feature efficiently. The selection can be made using the built-in machining knowledge that Delcam supplies ‘out of the box’ within FeatureCAM, or from experience captured from the company’s or individual user’s manufacturing preferences. Using features to automate parameter selection means that operator input is minimised, so providing a much faster and simpler programming process.
Many CAM systems can use the modelled features contained in the CAD part to select the machining strategies. However, there are limitations in this approach. The first is that it forces the part to be machined following the process in which it was modelled. This will often result in inefficient toolpaths with lots of air cutting. The second limitation is that the CAM software has to be able to read the features in the part. This restricts the choice of CAM system dependent on how the part is modelled and can be a real problem if the user receives data from many different CAD systems.
FeatureCAM uses a completely unique approach to solve both these problems, ensuring efficient toolpaths regardless of which system designed the part or whether the feature information even exists. The software automatically scans the part to find the machining features not the modelling features. This enables it to capture the manufacturing intent rather than just the design intent, and so ensures that accurate, efficient machining data is generated.
Delegates attending the metrology stream of the TCT conference will be interested in the latest version of Delcam’s PowerINSPECT, which includes a range of enhancements to make the system easier and more flexible to use. The software is already the world’s leading hardware-independent inspection software, with the new release set to consolidate this premier position.
The new release incorporates automatic surface inspection and the ability to use GD&T data from CATIA models, plus improvements to the handling of point cloud data and changes to the interface to make the software even easier to use.
For delegates from the dental industry, Delcam offers its DentCAD and DentMILL dedicated design and machining programs. Both programs bring to the industry the benefits of speed and accuracy given by CADCAM software in many other sectors. They can be used for the fast, reliable manufacture of dental restorations, including copings, bridge frameworks, crowns and dental bars.
The key benefit of the Delcam software comes from the industry-specific user interfaces that incorporate dental images and terminology. These make the programs extremely easy to use and so ideally suited to dental technicians that have no previous experience of computer-aided manufacturing. A second big advantage is company’s "open” approach to its software, allowing DentCAD and DentMILL to be used with any combination of scanner, material and computer-controlled machine tool.
Similarly, Delcam’s ArtCAM JewelSmith software offers dedicated functionality for the design and manufacture of all types of jewellery, such as rings, necklaces, brooches, and cufflinks. Delcam also offers a bureau service to generate rapid prototype models of designs. The main focus is on the supply of 3D models for use in the lost wax casting process. The use of rapid prototyping can be more cost-effective in many cases than machining wax models.