Feature-Based Machining Can Reduce Machining Time

A range of enhancements in the 2010 version of Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based machining software is designed to make the software quicker, the company says. One of the enhancements, support for multi-threading when generating 3D tool paths, allows calculations to be spread across multiple cores in dual- or quad-core computers.

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A range of enhancements in the 2010 version of Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based machining software is designed to make the software quicker, the company says. One of the enhancements, support for multi-threading when generating 3D tool paths, allows calculations to be spread across multiple cores in dual- or quad-core computers.

Improved algorithms speed the editing of features and reduce the time needed to switch between machine-tool setups, while more efficient handling of stock models reduce the required memory.

A combined drilling and milling functionality allows more efficient hole creation on machines fitted with automatic tool changers. The software generates roughing and finishing tool paths to produce any holes for which the appropriate drill is not loaded, using the existing tooling within the machine’s carousel. According to the company, the option is faster than having to change the tooling to match the set of hole sizes in each job, especially for companies manufacturing prototypes or short-run components. It allows complex parts to be produced more easily in cases where the range of hole sizes is larger than the number of positions in the ATC carousel. In addition, the number of different tools that need to be stocked can be reduced, and it is simpler to move jobs between different machine tools, the company says.

Other options include spiral finishing, which is said to give faster machining and improved surface finish with virtually no dwell marks, and automatic rest roughing, which minimizes air cutting when applying a series of progressively smaller roughing cutters. In addition, a 3D chamfer can be added to a part for de-burring and similar clean-up operations.

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