Many shops that have long operated with traditional turning centers are now rapidly supplementing their processes with multi-axis machines that have the ability to produce complex parts unattended. These sophisticated machines often require more advanced programming knowledge and corresponding software to match.
Whether a shop is looking for a CAM system to automate traditional turning for faster, more accurate results, from roughing and grooving to threading and finishing, or is seeking to maximize its multi-axis machine tool investment, a number of packages are available to handle the complete range of requirements. One option is Esprit CAM software from DP Technology.
Filling Multiple Needs
Esprit is designed to help operators realize their full potential for single setup, versatile, accurate, unattended machining when programming multi-axis Swiss-type turning centers. It accommodates the special demands of Swiss machines, allowing the creation of programs that take full advantage of Swiss-type capabilities with toolpath creation, simulation, collision detection and accurate G-code generation. The software provides factory-certified programming solutions for machines from builders such as Citizen, Star and Tsugami.
Program synchronization, dynamic simulation and collision detection help the shop to maintain full control over production turning operations. The software allows simultaneous work on the front and back of the workpiece with one, two or more cutting tools, helping to reduce cycle times and complete parts in a single setup. The software’s suite of machining cycles includes all part handling cycles, from initial bar feeds and stock chucking through steady rests and part cutoff and pickup.
Because of its range of capabilities, Esprit helps to streamline and standardize lathe machining. It offers contour profile cutting for facing and OD or ID turning—a universal machining cycle driving single-point tools for a variety of machining tasks. The roughing cycle enables work from pre-roughed or irregular-shaped castings or barstock and has options for controlling every aspect of machine movement, from clearances to differing Z and X stock allowances. For drilling and hole making, the operator can choose between the software’s pre-programmed machining cycles and the machine tool’s canned cycles, or use a combination of both.
Esprit features seven grooving cycles with a variety of optional tool movements, including single plunge, multiple plunge, peck grooving, zigzag grooving and contouring with grooving tools. For thread machining, multiple threading options include single- or multi-point, with straight or tapered threads, and constant or variable leads. The software automatically calculates the depth and number of cuts, with a manual override option.
To provide flexible tooling options, the software simplifies the tooling definition process and provides full tooling support, from standard boring bars to complex custom form tools. The programmer can select from a complete ANSI/ISO tooling library with inserts and holders or define custom tools in any CAD system (or in Esprit) to import into the tooling library.
The programmer can use the software’s sync list to perform time studies and synchronize the CNC program to optimize the G-code and minimize overall cycle time. The software presents the machining timeline in a bar chart organized by turret, spindle and head. The programmer then synchronizes and optimized the program using Windows’ drag-and-drop technique, and can perform quick editing of machining cycles, including turrets, spindles, cutting tools, all of the individual machining parameters, and synchronization codes.
Once programming is complete, even the most complex parts can be machined with confidence after running the real-time part simulation. The entire part can be viewed on-screen, complete with the key moving elements of the machine tool (spindles, turrets, B-axis heads and tooling). The simulation guards against potential crashes, even during synchronized simultaneous machining and transfers of the part from the main spindle to the subspindle.
CAM packages are available to address a range of manufacturing needs, from simple to complex, and many offer multiple components or modules to address a variety of processes. Esprit is designed to offer programming for any CNC machine tools, with capabilities for two- to five-axis milling, two- to 22-axis turning, two- to five-axis wire EDM, multitasking and B-axis machine tools. The seamless CAD to CAM interface directly imports any native part model from any source, fully intact, with no need for programmers to edit or rebuild geometry. For flexibility, the software allows machining from any combination of geometries (solids, surfaces, wire frame and STL).