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Powermill brochure - .PDF file.

Delcam has released the 2014 R2 version of its Powermill CAM software for high-speed and five-axis machining. According to the company, new simulation and customisation tools, plus greater editing flexibility, give even greater opportunities to minimise programming and manufacturing times.

A series of improvements to Delcam’s Vortex high-efficiency area clearance strategy is also included in the release. The main enhancement in Powermill 2014 R2 improves the ordering of the Vortex toolpaths to minimise lifts and air moves, and so increases overall efficiency.

The most important additions for five-axis machining are a new dialogue to track the position of the machine tool and a new toolbar to simulate and adjust the configuration and tool axis of a 3+2 machine or any equipment with incremental rotary axes.

Another addition that will be especially beneficial for five-axis programming is a plug-in for Powermill that provides a graph of the linear and rotary axes of the machine during the simulation. Analysis of this graph allows users to locate any potential problems, such as sudden changes in direction or axis reversals that can adversely affect the surface finish.

Further additions include a new method for creating composite curves that simplifies 2.5D programming and flowline machining; improved editing of curves; optimised raster strategies, giving less fragmented toolpaths without any overlaps; the inclusion of a separate strategy for each type of drilling cycle; and the improved recognition, creation and editing of holes.  

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Key features and benefits

  • Vortex gives fast, safe metal removal by allowing solid-carbide tooling to cut with its full flute length, so minimising machining times.
  • Vortex toolpaths use a controlled engagement angle between the cutter and the part, and so give a more consistent volume-removal rate and feedrate, minimising wear on the cutter. 
  • The dialogue has a redesigned user interface, giving improved presentation of data on the position of the machine tool, together with the limits set for each axis. It includes a slider to jog the machine components into position during the simulation and displays a warning if any axis limit is exceeded.
  • The toolbar can be used to edit the tool axis and the orientation of the machine tool. This allows quick and easy updates to existing toolpaths with the new parameters.
  • A new workplane that is aligned to the new axis and orientation can be created for subsequent programming operations.
  • Adjacent arcs, lines, curves and surface edges can be merged into one composite curve.
  • The editing of curves has also been improved: it is now possible to insert and edit fillets within a composite curve.
  • The software automatically eliminates any small, isolated segments that can leave marks on the part’s surface. 
  • There is now a dedicated dialogue for hole creation and a second dialogue to control hole editing and hole intersections.
  • Barrel tools and dovetail tools are now supported by Powermill.
  • The dialogue boxes for creating custom toolbars have been redesigned to improve their creation and management.
  • The maximum number of custom toolbars has been increased from four to 32 and the ability has been added to export them in an XML file for use on other PCs.
  • Commands and functions have been added to allow files to be created and manipulated; these allow files and directories to be copied or deleted, data to be extracted from lists using more succinct expressions, the names of active folders to be determined quickly and easily and any sequence of edits to be automated.

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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