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Delcam has extended the range of electro discharge machining (EDM) equipment supported by its Electrode system, which enables the design, machining and inspection of electrodes. Scripts for manufacturers including Agiecharmilles, Makino EDM, Mitsubishi Electric, ONA EDM, OPS-Ingersoll, Sodick and Zimmer and Kreim are now provided.

Delcam Electrode features the .Trode file format, which contains all the information for each electrode project, such as design, machining and inspection information and setup sheets for manufacture and use.

All the information in the .Trode file can be included in the script (the EDM equivalent of CAM programs for machine tools), including electrode and workpiece geometry and materials; burn locations, areas and depths; and various under-sizes for the rougher, semi-finisher and finisher electrodes.

The exact output is tailored to the particular equipment; for example, some machines do not accept the geometry, while others run a viewer program that can display the electrode and workpiece geometry and simulate the sinking process.

Further improvements

  • The initial design stage of the process with Delcam Electrode is said to be quick and easy thanks to the wide range of direct modelling tools available within Powershape.
  • Users can define the region where the electrode will be used, extract the shape needed to produce the required feature in the part and then edit the design to provide clearance from the main surface of the tool and to blend it into the blank size needed to fix the electrode into its holder.
  • Analysis tools check the draft angles and minimum radii used in the design will not cause downstream problems, while the ability to simulate the action of the electrode ensures it will operate as expected.
  • Catalogues of blanks and holders are included from Erowa, Hirschman and System 3R; users can add their own standard sizes.
  • Once the design has been finalised, the necessary spark gaps can be specified to provide the machining offsets required in Powermill to cut the roughing and finishing electrodes.
  • Inspection points can be added so that the measurement of the electrode in Powerinspect can be automated to a large extent.
  • Setup sheets for the electrode’s manufacture and use can be produced automatically, either to a standard format or to a user-defined template.
  • Templates can be developed within Powermill to machine electrodes in a standardised way.
  • Burn, clearance and blank faces of the electrode are automatically colour-coded within Powershape so they can be recognised within Powermill.
  • Specifying the inspection points within Powershape means the probe path in Powerinspect and the production of the inspection report can be automated.
  • The automated generation of setup sheets for both the machining and application of the electrodes ensures that all the data needed at each stage is readily available. 
  • A documentation pack, including the GA and detail sheets, can be issued as drawings, HTML files or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. 

Delcam supplies software and services that help manufacturing companies to maximise their profitability by increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing lead times. The company is the world's largest specialist supplier of computer-aided machining software, with its PowerMILL, FeatureCAM, Partmaker and ArtCAM programs making up the most comprehensive range of CAM systems from any developer.

This broad selection allows Delcam to offer a CAM system capable of machining virtually any product, in any material on any type of equipment. Delcam also develops product design, tooling design and quality control programs. The unique Tribrid Modelling approach to design incorporates solid modelling, surface modelling and triangle modelling in a single program, enabling complete design and reverse engineering projects to be undertaken without transferring data between software.

Delcam's Powerinspect offers fast, reliable comparison of parts, prototypes and tooling against CAD data on all types of inspection equipment and even on machine tools. This versatility has made it the world's leading hardware-independent inspection software. Related programs are available for checking machine tool set-up and part location. Delcam software is used in over 80 countries worldwide by around 40,000 organisations, from large multi-nationals to small sub-contractors, in industries including aerospace, automotive, dental, engineering, footwear, medical and toolmaking.

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