ModuleWorks, Zeiss Develop Unified CAD/CAM Solution for Precise Optical Parts Machining
ModuleWorks and Zeiss have developed an integrated CAD/CAM software for ultra-precision machining of optical parts.
ModuleWorks, a supplier of software components for CAD/CAM developers, and Zeiss, a maker of optics and optoelectronics manufacturer, have combined conventional CAM features and the requirements of ultra-precision machining in a single CAD/CAM software solution. The software is the result of research and development projects between Zeiss, ModuleWorks and Fraunhofer IPT. It is available as a software library that can be integrated into existing CAD/CAM systems.
Optical parts require both ultra-precision machining for the optically effective areas of the part and conventional machining for the non-optical areas. ModuleWorks has developed CAM software components that enabled Zeiss to combine both types of machining in a single, integrated solution. The system is meant to accelerate process programming for cutting complex, freeform surfaces and to improve the quality and cost-efficiency of producing ultra-precision optical parts.
The software is powered by the ModuleWorks 64-bit ultra-precision kernel. The kernel is based on the company’s five-axis technology for toolpath generation and has been developed for high-precision machining of increasingly complex geometries in the optics industry. The kernel supports point clouds, NURBS surfaces and parametric geometries and uses multi-threading for fast toolpath generation with radial, spiral and parallel patterns for slow and fast tool kinematics. The freely configurable machine model supports all machine tool types for grinding and diamond turning applications as well as grinding patterns for roughing, drilling, chamfering, slotting and contouring. Full 3D machine and material removal simulation software can also be applied with the high resolution of ultra-precision machining requirements. The high-performance CNC posting framework provides scriptable CNC data output at a rate of 50,000 points per second and supports multi-threaded cloud posting.
Programming a robot with the same CAM software used for a multi-axis machine tool makes it unnecessary to “teach” the robot by jogging it manually from point to point and recording these point-to-point moves as the robot’s motion commands. Robotmaster is a software package that provides this CAD/CAM-based, off-line programming for robots. It runs fully integrated inside Mastercam CAM software for CNC machine tools.
The additional rotary milling axis on these machines allows them to complete many types of complex parts in a single setup, but these machines have gained a reputation for being difficult to program. Today’s CAM software, however, eases the programming challenge significantly.
CAD/CAM features can be key to realizing effective High Speed Machining.