The Birmingham-headquartered company is decamping a short way down the road to the NEC, where it will be showcasing the 2014 R2 version of its PowerMILL CAM for high-speed and five-axis machining during at the event, which runs from April 7th to 11th.
Delcam's release includes new simulation and customisation tools, plus greater editing flexibility, give even greater opportunities to minimise programming times and reduce manufacturing times.
A series of improvements to Delcam's unique Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy are also included in the new package. Vortex gives fast, safe metal removal by allowing solid carbide tooling to cut with its full flute length so minimising machining times. At the same time, Vortex toolpaths use a controlled engagement angle between the cutter and the part and so give a more consistent volume-removal rate and feedrate, minimising wear on the cutter. The main enhancement in PowerMILL 2014 R2 improves the ordering of the Vortex toolpaths to minimise lifts and air moves and so increase overall efficiency.
The most important additions for five-axis machining are a new dialogue to track the position of the machine tool and a new toolbar to simulate and adjust the configuration and tool axis of a 3+2 machine or any equipment with incremental rotary axes.
The new dialogue has a redesigned user interface giving improved presentation of data on the position of the machine tool, together with the limits set for each axis. It includes a slider to jog the machine components into position during the simulation and displays a warning if any axis limit is exceeded.
The new toolbar can be used to edit the tool axis and the orientation of the machine tool. This allows quick and easy updates to existing toolpaths with the new parameters. In addition, a new workplane that is aligned to the new axis and orientation can be created for subsequent programming operations.
Another addition that will be especially beneficial for five-axis programming is a new plug-in for PowerMILL that provides a graph of the linear and rotary axes of the machine during the simulation. Analysis of this graph allows users to locate any potential problems, such as sudden changes in direction or axis reversals that can adversely affect the surface finish. Adjusting the position of the part on the machine and running another simulation will often identify a solution to these problems.
PowerMILL 2014 R2 has seen improvements made to optimise the raster strategies, giving less fragmented toolpaths, without any overlaps. The software eliminates automatically any small, isolated segments that can leave marks on the part’s surface. Removing these short moves also reduces lifting of the tool. Cycle times can be reduced further by minimising overlaps and so preventing over-machining in those areas.
Drilling has also seen numerous enhancements, including a separate strategy for each type of drilling cycle. New external threading and tapered threading options offer several settings to optimise the strategy. In addition, PowerMILL can scan the part to find any positions where holes intersect and then allows the break distance, feed rate and spindle speed to be adjusted through the intersections.