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October 2015

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New CNC Metalcutting Technologies Can Provide a Competitive Edge
Romi Selects Glassbeam's Manufacturing IoT Solution for Machine Data Analytics
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New CNC Metalcutting Technologies Can Provide a Competitive Edge

Quite often shop owners and CNC machinists are literally too busy to look at how modern software tools can help them be more competitive, and often when looking at software it is difficult to see if a new package or method will deliver the promised ROI. But, one thing that is for sure, if one can cut metal faster, improve tool wear or reduce tool cost, a benefit is more easily measured. Two areas where technology is improving is in the area of high-speed machining and toolpath conversion from 3-axis to 4-axis.

Every shop tries to remove material as fast as possible while balancing tool life and finished part quality. The idea of high-speed machining is not new, but new methods for high-speed rough milling have been developed to reduce cycle time by as much as 80% while improving tool life by as much as 10 times. Traditionally, rough milling was performed by using a 50% step-over of the cutter diameter and a limited depth of cut. But now, using a smaller radial step-over with a deeper depth of cut in combination with high performance toolpaths, dramatically faster material removal rates and longer tool life can be achieved.

One example of where modern high speed machining algorithms are paying off is with CAMWorks' high-speed machining module, VoluMill, at Magnus Hi-Tech Inc., an AS9100 certified, high precision aerospace manufacturer located in Melbourne, FL. Michael Blake, Senior Engineer for Magnus Hi-Tech Inc., said, "I have literally shaved off hours of machining time using CAMWorks Volumill." Not only is this ultra-high performance machining ideal for soft materials like aluminum, the savings are even greater for plastic injection molds and other parts requiring a high volume of material to be removed in harder materials. Typically, the result is often a three to four times increase in productivity with a five-fold increase in tool life.

Another more recent innovation is in the area of toolpath creation, or, in this case, toolpath conversion. By automatically converting 3-axis toolpaths to run on 5-axis machines, significant improvements can be made in cycle time reduction while dramatically improving quality, surface finish and tool cost (because shorter tools can be used). Using this technology, 3-axis toolpaths can be automatically converted to 5-axis toolpaths. This technology automatically converts hard to reach 3-axis machining operations normally requiring long tools in extended holders into 5-axis toolpaths that can use much shorter and more rigid tools, reducing cycle times and significantly improving surface finish and part quality.

Five-axis machines also provide the ability to substantially reduce delivery times, while at the same time improving part quality. Often referred to as 3+2 machining, 5-axis machines can machine multiple sides of a part in a single set-up by rotating or indexing the part into position to perform 2.5-axis milling, drilling and tapping, or even 3-axis surface machining. Not only does 3+2 machining save time by eliminating set-ups, the part quality and accuracy is improved due to the use of a single workholding device. CAMWorks supports both 3+2 machining as well as full 4- and 5-axis simultaneous machining for multi-axis machines, including 5-axis milling and multi-axis mill/turn machines.

Authored by Marc Bissell, Sr. Applications Engineer, CAMWorks

For more information contact:

Geometric Americas, Inc.

15974 N 77th Street, Ste. #103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260


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