Delcam to show faster tooling design and machining in Thailand
Delcam’s Thai subsidiary, Delcam Thailand, will show how the 2012 versions of the company’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and its PowerMILL CAM system can speed the design and manufacture of all types of mould on the Thai-German Institute booth at the Intermold exhibition to be held in Bangkok from 21st to 24th June. The programs allow toolmakers to increase their productivity at all stages of any project, so reducing costs and shortening lead times, as well as ensuring the highest quality in the finished mould and all components produced from it.
The faster mould design has been made possible by the incorporation within PowerSHAPE of a range of direct modelling options to complement the existing strengths in solid and surface modelling. The new options are focused on design for manufacture, in particular on preparing product designs for the development of moulds. Full details, including video demonstrations of the new functionality plus the ability to download an evaluation version, are on the PowerSHAPE 2012 Learning Zone – www.delcam.tv/ps2012/lz.
The direct modelling functionality that has been added will enable tooling designers to tackle all the common problems that they find in product designs, such as insufficient draft or inappropriate fillet sizes. Direct modelling is faster to use than surface modelling for these types of modification so it can shorten the overall time needed to produce tooling and so reduce delivery times. In addition, the new options have been made as accessible as possible by enhancing existing commands rather than grouping them in a separate area of the software.
Together with the extensive data translation and data repair options already available in PowerSHAPE, the addition of direct modelling gives a unique range of capabilities to tooling designers, whether they are working with injection moulds, RIM tools or lay-up equipment for composites.
The 2012 R2 version of PowerMILL includes new and enhanced strategies for both roughing and finishing. Full details of both the 2012R1 and R2 releases, including videos of the new functionality, can be seen on www.delcam.tv/pm2012/lz.
The most important of the new strategies is step cutting within area clearance, which is especially valuable for manufacturers of larger moulds. Modern roughing tools are capable of removing material more quickly by using larger stepdowns. The disadvantage of this approach is that large terraces can be left on the part. These steps can be removed by rest machining with a smaller tool.
An alternative approach is to step back up the terrace with the existing large tool, adding extra cuts at intermediate levels. This results in more material being removed, using the same tool within the same toolpath. The rate of material removal can be optimized by increasing the feed rate automatically as the depth of cut gets smaller. This reduces the overall machining time.
Another enhancement produces a more efficient result when using automatic verification on a toolpath to prevent a collision by the shank or the toolholder. In the previous versions of PowerMILL, the tool would be retracted to a safe height whenever a collision was possible and then returned to the part once it was safe to continue machining. Now, PowerMILL generates a continuous toolpath that removes as much material as possible, while still avoiding any collisions. The elimination of the retract moves shortens machining times and gives an improved surface finish, while the continuous cutting reduces the change of load on the tool so increasing its life.
Work has also continued to improve the macro language within PowerMILL that can be used to automate any routine or repetitive calculations, for example when producing a series of moulds for different products of similar size and complexity. A new macro debugger has been added that makes it easier and quicker to identify any errors in a macro. Furthermore, the creation and editing of larger, more complex macros has been made easier with a new option to set breakpoints within the macro and the ability to view the contents of the variables in a separate watch window.
12 June 2012