Delcam will exhibit the 2015 version of its PowerMill CAM software for high-speed and five-axis machining, featuring updates to the Vortex area clearance strategy, as well as improved collision checking and raster finishing. The curve editor adds ellipse, spiral and helix options to create patterns or boundaries when generating tool paths. The software also supports four- or five-axis machines with trunnions or similar tilting tables. Options are now available to specify the information used to distribute the tool path points so that the machine’s gimbal-lock position is avoided for smoother motion. Interface changes improve strategy selection, navigation and folder creation.
The Vortex area clearance strategy produces safe tool paths at high depths of cut by using a controlled engagement angle that maintains optimum cutting conditions throughout the entire tool path. As a result, higher and more consistent feed rates and material removal rates are possible, shortening cutting time and extending tool life.
Various changes improve on previous versions of the software. Noncutting moves can be made at a user-defined increased feed rate. Changes to the roughing algorithm reduce the number of lifts per toolpath slice to the minimum needed, making area clearance more efficient. For open pockets, tool paths can now approach the part from outside the stock at the cutting height, as an alternative to ramping or plunging.
Improved collision checking assists positional or continuous five-axis machining applications. When the machine tool comes within a user-specified clearance value, it turns yellow to highlight a near miss. It turns red to show a collision. The display listing collisions and near misses features improved readability, easing extrapolation of coordinates at these points.
PowerMill 2015 also features improved raster finishing with the ability to automatically set the most appropriate angle for each part region. The option is effective when finishing a series of pockets aligned in different directions.