Delcam will launch the 2011 version of its PowerMILL CAM system for five-axis and high-speed machining at two events in February. The first will be at Dormer Tools new site on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield on 22nd February and the second at Mazak’s recently-opened European Technology Centre in Worcester on 24th February. The meetings are mainly aimed at existing PowerMILL users but they will also be of value to experienced operators of other CAM systems who are thinking about changing to the Delcam software.
Each day will comprise morning and afternoon sessions of hands-on time to trial the latest features in the software under the guidance of Delcam’s expert engineers. Delegates attending the meetings at Dormer will be able to learn about the company’s wide range of cutting tools, while those at the sessions at Mazak will be able to view the range of machines in the European Technology Centre and have a factory tour.
The 2011 PowerMILL release makes the programming of safe toolpaths easier than ever thanks to new stock-model-engagement options that protect both the cutting tool and the machine from excessive loading. Other enhancements include new editing capabilities to simplify the machining of duplicate items; more versatile control of feed-rates for leads and links; and extra functionality for sketching, plus the completion of the move to the new clearer forms for the complete range of strategies.
The options to optimise tool loading will help overcome a constant conflict for programmers. On the one hand, they want to maximise productivity by setting feed-rates as fast as their machines will allow; on the other hand, they need to ensure safe speeds that will not break the tool.
A number of CAM programs incorporate strategies based on the extent of cutter engagement to give more consistent loading on the tool and so allow higher feed-rates. However, these options are usually limited to the initial roughing operations, or to only roughing and rest-roughing. PowerMILL’s new stock engagement technology can also be employed with all of the system’s finishing and rest-finishing strategies so ensuring that the safest-possible toolpaths are run on the machine at all stages.
The key to this more comprehensive solution is the accuracy of the stock models produced within PowerMILL after each machining stage has been completed. These models give a precise representation of the material still remaining on the part and are used to ensure that the cutter is never asked to remove more material than it can safely cut. At the same time, the stock models also ensure that toolpaths are not produced where there is no material remaining so the machine tool is never left cutting air.