Delcam will demonstrate its latest developments in feature-based programming of mill-turn equipment with FeatureCAM 2012 at the Euromold exhibition to be held in Frankfurt from 29th November to 2nd December. FeatureCAM will be shown on a second Delcam stand within the turning area of hall 9 (B139), as well as on the main Delcam stand in Hall 8 (H57).
FeatureCAM 2012 incorporates a range of enhancements to enable faster and easier programming, and produce more efficient toolpaths to give greater machine productivity. All these developments will ensure that FeatureCAM retains the leadership in programming speed and ease of use it has held since its launch in 1995, when it was the world’s first feature-based programming system. Full details, including videos demonstrating the new functionality, can be seen on www.delcam.tv/fc2012/lz.
A number of the improvements will make FeatureCAM even easier to use when programming mill-turn equipment. For example, a range of keyboard shortcuts have been added, including isometric view options, that will allow faster programming. It has been made easier to select multiple items from the operations tree and to move all the features in a group, for example, all the operations on a particular spindle.
Toolpath editing has also been made much easier. Toolpaths are displayed more clearly, selection of toolpaths has been simplified and an "undo” option added so that alternative strategies can be compared more easily.
Target part comparison has been extended to cover components produced on mill-turn equipment. This allows the user to compare a model of the desired final shape with the shape achieved by the programmed toolpaths. It provides a quick check of any material remaining on the part, and of any gouges or collisions.
The most important improvement for increasing machine productivity comes from further developments in the use of stock models to cover 2D features, including bosses, sides and slots. The models allow the user to visualize the stock remaining after each operation. This makes it easier to eliminate air cutting and so generate more efficient toolpaths with reduced machining times. The models also simplify the selection of the most appropriate tool sizes for each operation.
A number of extra options have been added to the tooling database. This database is a key part of the automation in FeatureCAM as it allows the optimum operating conditions to be associated with each tool. In most companies, the database is developed by the most experienced user. It then ensures that even inexperienced operators use safe and efficient cutting parameters. The new options in FeatureCAM 2012 allow more variables to be specified, including maximum cut depth and the optimum ramp angles.
Other improvements include a new option to automatically counterbore holes before drilling, the ability to have a negative leave allowance (such as a fitting allowance) when turning to produce undersized features without remodelling, and much improved performance on the largest part files with hundreds of thousands of entities.