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Delcam has introduced an enhanced version of its Delcam Electrode software, which is intended for the design, machining and inspection of electrodes. The new version includes support for burn-vector electrodes, the automated machining of electrode frames, the batch processing of multiple machining projects and the faster generation of electrode drawings.

Delcam Electrode benefits from a number of options introduced into Delcam’s Powershape design software, which provides the CAD element of the overall system.

Burn-vector or side-sparking electrodes are used to spark undercuts within moulds, including those needed for submarine gates, or to avoid any possibility of a collision when sparking the base of a deep rib or similar feature. They use an arbitrary axis for their operation, rather than being aligned with the principal axes.

Delcam Electrode now allows these electrodes to be designed and used with the same wizard-based process available for conventional electrodes. The electrode action can be simulated in the software and the final design passed to Delcam’s Powermill CAM system for machining in the same way as standard electrodes.

Key features and enhancements

  • Electrode frames are used to provide the basis for machining and inspection datums. Delcam Electrode now allows these areas to be modelled and then coloured separately from the electrode blank, which makes it easy for them to be identified in Powermill for automated manufacture using a specific template.
  • The ability to automate programming within Powermill as part of the electrode solution saves considerable time for the user. However, when machining a large number of electrodes, it is inefficient to wait for toolpaths to be calculated on each individual project. To overcome this problem, the option to use the batch processing of multiple projects has been introduced within the electrode machining wizard.
  • The ability to generate customised drawings automatically has been enhanced so that information generated while the user progresses through the electrode design wizard, such as the project name or the different spark gaps to be applied, is used to fill in details for the drawings immediately. Generation of the drawings when the design is complete becomes much faster as a result.
  • All of the direct modelling enhancements to Powershape help to speed up the creation of the electrode design. Of particular benefit are the ‘replace-face’ command, which ensures extensions are at the same height when merging electrodes to be machined from a single blank, and the ‘solid-split command’, which makes it easier to divide unwanted material away from the electrode to create a simpler shape for machining.
  • Delcam Electrode combines Delcam’s Powershape CAD software, Powermill CAM system and Powerinspect inspection software.
  • At the heart of the system is the .Trode file, which contains all the information for each electrode project, including not only the electrode design but also the machining and inspection information, plus the setup sheets for its manufacture and use. Having all the required information in a single file simplifies data management, as well as increasing overall efficiency.

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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