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Delcam’s PowerMILL 2011 CAM system for five-axis and high-speed machining is said to ease the programming safe tool paths with stock-model-engagement options that protect both the cutting tool and the machine from excessive loading. Other enhancements include editing capabilities that simplify the machining of duplicate items; more versatile control of feed rates for leads and links; and extra functionality for sketching.
A number of CAM programs incorporate strategies based on the extent of cutter engagement to give more consistent loading on the tool and enable higher feed-rates. PowerMILL’s stock engagement technology can be employed not only in roughing and rest-roughing operations, but also with all of the system’s finishing and rest-finishing strategies to ensure safe tool paths at all stages.
According to the company, the key to this more-comprehensive solution is the accuracy of the stock models produced within PowerMILL after each machining stage has been completed. These models give a precise representation of the material still remaining on the part and are used to ensure that the cutter doesn’t have to remove more material than it can safely cut, the company says. At the same time, the stock models also ensure that tool paths are not produced where there is no material remaining so the machine tool is never left cutting air.
The toolpath editing options are designed to ease production of multiple copies of any duplicated item. The user can specify an array of multiple copies in one operation, using approaches such as a number of rows and columns or a radial spacing around a central point. Once the copies have been produced, the complete series of tool paths can be re-sequenced to minimize tool changes.
Enhancements to feed-rate optimization provide better control of leads and links at the points of cutter engagement and exit. The software can set specific entry and exit feed rates, either as percentages of the feed rate for the main tool path or as absolute values.
The sketching functionality has been enhanced with new editing options, including the ability to offset or transform curves, to flatten 3D curves into 2D curves, and to project 2D curves onto 3D surfaces.