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PowerMILL brochure - .PDF file.

Delcam is set to demonstrate the latest developments in its PowerMILL programming software for five-axis and high-speed machining at the CIMT exhibition to be held in Beijing from 22–25 April.

The new release includes improvements to the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, enhanced collision checking, toolpath simulation and verification, more efficient raster finishing and drilling and more options for customisation by users.

Click on the link above to download the PowerMILL brochure.

Key features and enhancements

  • The Vortex area-clearance strategy produces safe toolpaths with a deeper cut by using a controlled engagement angle that maintains the optimum cutting conditions for the whole toolpath. As a result, higher feed rates and material-removal rates are possible, making the cutting time shorter by as much as 70 per cent. In addition, cutting is undertaken at a more consistent volume-removal rate and at a near-constant feed rate, so extending tool life and protecting the machine.
  • Two recent enhancements in PowerMILL will give even greater reductions in machining time with Vortex compared with conventional roughing.
    • The first change allows toolpaths to approach the part from outside the stock at the cutting height, both for open pockets and in areas where earlier cuts have made this possible. Previously, all entry moves had to be made by plunging onto the surface or by ramping into the material.
    • The second change allows an increased feed rate to be set for non-cutting moves.  The default value is set at double the rate for the cutting moves but this can be altered as required for each machine tool. The extra time that can be saved depends on the shape of the part but an additional saving of around 20 per cent should be expected above the earlier releases of Vortex.
  • Companies using PowerMILL for either positional or continuous five-axis machining can benefit from improvements to the collision checking within the software.  First, collision checking has been changed so that warnings can also be flagged for near misses. The user can now specify a clearance value and, when the machine tool comes within this value, it will turn yellow in colour to highlight a near miss.
  • Complete verification can now be undertaken of a project, rather than having to undertake verification of each individual toolpath in turn. Comprehensive verification is performed, including ensuring that the machine tool is capable of running the proposed strategy, as well as checking for both machine-tool collisions and tooling collisions.
  • In a related improvement, automatic collision checking of area-clearance toolpaths now takes into account any remaining stock on a model, both when checking the cutter and the toolholder. In addition, all toolholder collision checking for area clearance takes place during toolpath calculation, and machine-tool movements during tool changes can be simulated.
  • A number of improvements have been made to the PowerMILL interface. Most important is a clearer form for the strategy selector that makes navigation easier when choosing which strategy to use. It has also been made easier to create folders of strategies, for example those most suitable for a particular machine tool, material or type of part, and to add and remove strategies from those folders.
  • The options for user customisation have been increased steadily over the last few releases of PowerMILL. These now include the ability to create keyboard shortcuts for menu items, toolbar items, custom commands or macros, allowing frequently used commands to be accessed more quickly. Another new option allows expression fields to be added to custom toolbars.

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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