ModuleWorks, Zeiss Cooperate on CAD/CAM System

The goal is to provide an integrated conventional and ultra-precision machining software capable of programming the complex parts required in the optics industry.

CAD/CAM software supplier ModuleWorks GmbH is partnering with Zeiss Industrial Metrology to develop a system that combines conventional CAM and the requirements of ultra-precision machining into a single CAD/CAM package. The goal is to develop new machining cycles toward an integrated process chain enabling optical parts to be machined using a single CAD/CAM system. Integrating all machining-relevant processes in a unified system is expected to accelerate process programming for cutting complex freeform surfaces and to improve the quality and cost-efficiency of producing ultra-precision parts.

Ultra-precision machining is used for parts that need to be machined to an accuracy of just a few micrometers and a roughnesses in the range of nanometers. Optical parts require both ultra-precision machining for the optically effective areas of the part and conventional machining for the non-optical areas. ModuleWorks says that currently there is no single CAD/CAM system that combines both of these types of machining.

The new system is powered by the ModuleWorks 64-bit optics kernel. The kernel is based on the company’s five-axis technology for toolpath generation and has been developed to meet the growing demand for high-precision machining of increasingly complex geometries in the optics industry. The ModuleWorks optics kernel supports multi-threading for fast, ultra-precision machining of optical parts such as lenses, molding tools and lens arrays. It supports grinding and diamond turning as well as grinding patterns for roughing, drilling, chamfering, slotting and contouring. The full 3D machine and material removal simulation software can also be applied to small cutting inserts.