Virtual machine tool tests

NCSIMUL, developed by Spring in France and available in the UK from Desktop Engineering, is said to remove the need for live testing on production machinery by providing NC programmers with a virtual copy of their machine tools.

It allows NC programs to be tested and modified without leaving the computer.

The device simulates the four key elements of the machining environment: the NC controller; the physical behaviour of the machine tool; the operator actions undertaken during machining; and material removal.

Reduction in test time depends on the size and complexity of the program, but at least 50% is claimed. The maker cites a case in which testing was reduced to hours from a week.

Desktop Engineering

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The FDM8000 rapid prototyping system from Stratasys creates large prototypes, tooling patterns and masters for casting, RTV moulds and spray-metal tooling applications. It was developed to meet the needs of manufacturers in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Using ABS modelling material, the device creates tooling patterns and masters and functional prototypes for testing. Users can generate parts up to 457 x 457 x 609mm and as it operates unattended in an office environment it is suitable for 24 hour operation.


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Computing Services for Industry has launched an Internet site,

Facilities include products and services information, forthcoming events and recruitment. An Internet marketing specialist advises on and maintains the site. Future developments include a help desk, networking products catalogues, and software demos.


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Rapid prototyping bureau Formation has expanded its metal casting services with an in-house aluminium die-casting facility.

Use of stereolithography enables fast, cost effective production of low volume zinc and aluminium die castings. The master is created with a cavity into which the zinc or aluminium is cast. This produces castings early in a project before conventional tooling is available.


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