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The latest release of Alphacam, 2011 R2, is part of CNC software’s programme of development and enhancement, ensuring it keeps pace with changing needs and delivers maximum return on investment.

Alphacam 2011 R2 features improved parallel and flat-area 3D machining strategies for cutting solid models and surfaces.

Automatic exclusion of flat areas on parts allows for flat, rather than ball-ended cutters to be used.

Steep and shallow areas of parts detected allows for different strategies to be adopted – for example, a smaller tool step-over in a steeper gradient to that used in a shallow area.

In addition, there are options to always down or up mill, and to loop or round external corners.

Benefits of these improvements include reduced cutting time, improved surface finish and an improved tool life.

The new Geometry Query Manager feature allows a user-defined set of rules to be applied to a drawing to help automate toolpath generation.

Based on these user-defined rules, geometries are moved onto specifically named user layers.

Autostyles and CAD to CAM have been updated to take advantage of this new functionality.

Alphacam 2011 R2 also features Solid Model Extract Edge for Sawing, which enables the creation of a special sawing geometry from a selected solid model planar face, automatically setting the correct tool side, orientation and depth of cut, giving faster toolpath generation, while ensuring it is correct first time from the solid model.

The Work Plane Ordering feature allows the order of geometries and toolpaths to be optimised using Order Work Planes.

The shortest path around a four- or five-axis component is automatically calculated based on the configuration of the CNC machine.

The two main benefits of this are the elimination of time-consuming manual ordering, as well as faster machining time as a result of the reduced rapid distance.

In addition, toolpaths created to cut Splines and Polylines, including those that are simultaneous five-axis, can now be modified and updated, creating faster toolpaths and meaning the toolpath settings can be referred to at a later date.

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