The 2010 release of PowerMill CAM software is designed to extend the application of the latest background-processing and multi-threading technologies available in recent computer hardware advances. The combination of these two developments is estimated to reduce calculation times by as much as 25 percent, although this will depend on the size and complexity of the part. The addition of 64-bit technology removes the memory limitations of 32-bit computers, enabling more efficient toolpath generation, especially for machining large or complex parts, the company says. Other improvements are said to enable faster and easier generation of highly-efficient tool paths for three- through five-axis milling.
However, existing users will find the most obvious change in the new release to be an updating of all the toolpath-creation forms to a different layout, the company says. There is new toolbar for faster and easier creation and editing of workplanes. A new series of strategies for roughing and finishing corners gives more efficient and smoother clearance of these areas, especially when a large tool has been used for roughing initially that has left a significant amount of material in the corner. Rest roughing now gives better control over the start points for each segment of the tool path. More options have been added to the collision avoidance functionality to give more control over the direction chosen by the software to avoid the problem. These are particularly useful in any areas where there might be a sudden change in direction, the company says. In addition, the ability to specify a look-ahead distance has been added to the collision avoidance capability in order to ensure a smooth transition when tool-axis changes are required.