Monday, July 31, 2006

Delcam links with Renishaw’s Digitising Products

Delcam and Renishaw have entered into a development partnership to broaden the functionality within Renishaw’s Tracecut software.Delcam, the UK’s largest CADCAM software supplier, and Renishaw, one of the world’s leading metrology companies, have entered into a development partnership to broaden the functionality within Renishaw’s Tracecut software. This will greatly expand the ways in which digitised data captured with Renishaw’s equipment can be used, either that collected by dedicated scanners like the Cyclone digitising system or from Renishaw probes fitted onto co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs) or machine tools. The main addition will be the ability to create CAD surfaces from the digitised data that can then be transferred into any CAD system, including Delcam’s PowerSHAPE program.
The combination of digitising and CAD has three main applications; developing new parts from existing components; adding complex decorations or features onto the surfaces of standard products; and making minor styling changes to physical models in the final stages of product development.
Other options include creating CAD models from physical models for use by analysis packages; generation of surface data from prototype parts for subsequent manufacture of mass production tooling; archiving legacy models as CAD files; and capturing data for computer visualisation and animation.
‘Currently, Tracecut is the market leader in reverse manufacturing systems but to date we have limited the CAD output functionality,’ explained Gerry Bowyer, Product Manager, Renishaw’s Digitising Products Division.
‘By expanding the software’s capabilities in this manner, we will be opening up a huge range of alternative applications for users of our digitising equipment.’ ‘The new functionality for Tracecut will be based on existing code within our CopyCAD reverse engineering suite,’ said Delcam Product Manger, Chris Lawrie.
‘We will be developing a new interface for the new module and also optimising the software for the processing of Renishaw’s data formats.
Even so, we expect to be beta testing the new programs during the Summer, with customer release planned for the Autumn.’ ‘We are extremely pleased to be working together with Renishaw on this development,’ commented Delcam’s International Sales Director, Tim Mitchell.
‘We are both UK companies that have become recognised internationally as leaders in their respective fields.
We also serve many of the same industries including product designers, stylists and toolmakers; providing tools to increase their productivity and improve their quality in today’s competitive manufacturing environment.’ ‘The new software will be available through our subsidiaries and distribution channel worldwide,’ concluded Peter Wells, Director and General Manager, Renishaw’s Digitising Products Division.
‘We are confident that it will open many new business opportunities for Renishaw.’ COMPANY BACKGROUNDS Delcam plc is the world’s leading developer of CADCAM computer software for the three-dimensional design and manufacture of complex shapes.
The company has enjoyed particular success in the toolmaking industry.
It is firmly established as the world’s leading international supplier of specialist software for this sector.
Delcam’s Power Solution software is distributed by over 70 subsidiaries, joint ventures and resellers in 50 countries and is used by over 10,000 customers on more than 3,000 sites worldwide.
Renishaw plc stands at the forefront of automated metrology.
The Group’s products provide manufacturers with the ability to machine components accurately, and perform measurement traceable to International Standards

Self-improving CNC

with this control feature, a CNC running the same part several times can machine the part better and faster with each attempt

We are used to thinking of capital equipment as a resource that degrades in performance over time. But what if a machine tool could be turned loose to learn from its own errors, and thereby improve its performance from one machining cycle to the next? In other words, what if the machine could make itself better?
CNCs available from GE Fanuc (Charlottesville, Virginia) now offer a feature called "Learning Control" that makes this kind of self-improvement possible. With Learning Control engaged, the CNC tracks the machine's position error by comparing its actual movement to the programmed path. The CNC uses this information to calculate compensation factors the control can use the next time the same part is run.
The objective is not just improved accuracy, but also improved cycle time. Critical features can be machined at higher feed rates. For example, a contour milled precisely in 5 seconds might be milled to the same precision in less than half that time, once the CNC has had the opportunity to refine the performance for that part.
In fact, this learning is cumulative. After improving effectiveness from the first piece to the second, the CNC can further improve effectiveness for the third piece, and so on. Progressively building on performance improvements in this way can continue for as many as 24 consecutive pieces, but GE Fanuc personnel say the maximum benefit usually will be realized much earlier than that--typically after 5 to 8 pieces

Of course, only repeatable errors can be addressed in this way. The capability does not necessarily allow a low-cost machine to match the performance of a machine engineered for high-feed-rate precision. However, any low-cost machine might be capable of fast and precise contouring in certain applications, if only the errors that affect a particular cut consistently could be mapped and avoided. By performing this role, the Learning Control feature potentially does make it possible for some precision work to migrate to cheaper machines.
What the CNC learns about machining one part does not apply to a different part. When a different part number is run for the first time, the control must begin its learning curve from there. But the compensation for a particular part number can be retained, to be called up from memory whenever that same part is run again

Friday, July 28, 2006

Internet-based CNC training systemThe company will introduce its new Internet-based CNC training system for machining center setup operators. "Masteri

The company will introduce its new Internet-based CNC training system for machining center setup operators. "Mastering CNC Machining Canters--Online" teaches the basics of this work and provides simulations of many job tasks.
Course facilitators use their passwords to sign up trainees and select the control or controls they need to master. More than 25 CNC models from suppliers including Fanuc, Haas, Okuma and Mazak are included. Interacting with these simulations develops trainee skills without taking production time from machines or exposing tooling and machinery to potential crashes, according to the company.

Simulation software for CNC training

Available on CD-ROM, SinuTrain XP version 6.3 from Siemens Energy and Automation, Inc. has been developed for training and programming on the Sinumerik CNC system. The software can be used to generate and simulate NC programs based on the DIN 66025 programming language, ShopMill, ShopTurn and ManualTurn products, as well as language commands for the Sinumerik 810D, 840D and 840Di CNCs.
Programs written using the software can be used on real machines, with the prerequisite that SinuTrain is adapted to the Sinumerik control on which the program is to be executed.
The CD-ROM includes the Sinumerik 810D/840D/840Di HMI-Advanced 6.3 universal operator control; programming software for lathes and milling machines; ShopMill on PC (for milling machines); ShopTurn on PC (for lathes); and ManualTurn on PC (for semi-conventional lathes).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

CNC maintenance training - computer numerical control - column

CNC Maintenance Training

Most of today's major machine tool builders in conjunction with the CNC supplier offer a wide variety of end-user training on CNC machines. Some of the training is informal, some formal covering a wide variety of technologies such as: programming, machine maintenance, operation, servo drive maintenance, and CNC maintenance. Each of these categories of training plays an important role in the successful installation of a new machine and each imposes a different set of discipline on instructors and students. The following focuses on just one of these categories of training CNC maintenance.

The training methods used in CNC maintenance classes have changed significantly from the class conducted in the early years of NC largely due to the developments of new diagnostic tools in the controls. During the early years of hardwired NC, built-in diagnostic tools were almost non-existent and consequently maintenance training was based on teaching the theory of operation. In fact, control builders provided either a "Theory of operation" manual or a very thick chapter in their maintenance manual on "theory." This philosophy was greatly influenced by the fact that the first instructors as well as the first manual writers were often the engineers who participated in the design of the control since formal training departments as we know them today, had not yet evolved.

Today's CNCs have a high level of built-in diagnostic features and as such the maintenance training classes over the years have gradually been restructured to reflect their use. The amount of theory now taught in the classroom has been scaled down to just enough to provide the student with an overall understanding of the control's operation. Consequently a significant amount of the training time is devoted to understanding and using the diagnostic tools provided in the control. The emphasis has changed from "how it works" to "how to fix it."