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Delcam has released the 2014 edition of its Powershape CAD software, which offers a range of functionality for the conversion of product designs into tooling designs. The software’s tools are said to boost productivity through increased automation and improved workflow.

Powershape offers a combination of modelling and reverse-engineering functionality, streamlining the entire product development process. It is particularly suitable for design for manufacture.

One important advantage can be seen in Powershape’s Solid Doctor tool, which has been enhanced in the 2014 release with the addition of the Smart Feature Manager.

Key features and enhancements

Smart Feature Manager

  • Solid Doctor can already recognise a variety of solid features within imported ‘dumb’ geometry, such as fillets, slots and bosses. The Smart Feature Manager allows users to identify all these features within a solid in a single operation and so makes the analysis of the imported data easier and faster.
  • The software includes a set of filters so that all the features that fulfil specific criteria can be identified within the model. For example, the Smart Feature Manager can find all the holes having the same specified diameter or those having radii between two values. Similarly, if a single feature is selected, all similar features can be identified with a single click.
  • Once the particular group has been isolated, all the features within it can be suppressed or deleted simultaneously. Creating groups of similar features also makes it easier to manage the feature tree.
  • A common problem for tooling designers is finding fillets that are too small for successful filling of the mould. The Smart Feature Manager can be used to identify all the fillets having radii less than a particular size so that they can be modified to more suitable values.

Other enhancements

  • Two new types of solid fillet have been added to the range of options in Powershape. Constant-width fillets create a blend based on a nominal radius when the distance between two edges remains fixed.
  • Curvature-continuous fillets create a smooth blend between the selected edges. They have curved cross sections, with the radius of the curve varying continuously to match the curvature of the underlying faces.
  • The addition of ‘Apply’ buttons to all the surface-creation dialogues allows multiple operations or operations on multiple surfaces without leaving the form. Clicking the right mouse button has the same effect as pressing ‘Apply’, further speeding up repetitive operations.
  • The core/cavity separation wizard has been rewritten to make it faster and more effective. It divides the solid model into core and cavity pieces that can then be separated dynamically using a simple slider.
  • Any ambiguous faces can be assigned to the appropriate side, while any regions where slides or lifters might be required can be allocated to a completely new line of draw. If required, individual faces can be split and then attached to the correct part of the tool.
  • Throughout the process, clear graphical feedback, including undercut shading, highlights any potential moulding issues arising from the design so these can be corrected at an early stage in the mould design process.
  • A solid extrusion tool allows solids to be created from multiple nested curves in a single operation. Any inner curves are extracted automatically from the solids to give hollow shapes. This option is particularly suitable for creating embossed text, such as part numbers or product names, and similar complex-shaped features.

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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