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At the SEMA exhibition in Las Vegas, Delcam will showcase the 2014 version of its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software, which includes the company’s Vortex high-efficiency area clearance strategy as well as new options for turning, four-axis rotary machining and turn-mill operations, more strategies for two-axis finishing and easier programming of probing sequences.

Vortex has been developed specifically to give significant reductions in the time taken for rough machining. It does this by using the ability of modern cutting tools, in particular solid-carbide tooling, to give deeper cuts using the full flute length as the cutting surface.

The Vortex strategy produces toolpaths with a controlled engagement angle for the complete operation. This maintains the optimum cutting conditions for the entire toolpath — normally only possible for straight-line moves. As a result, the cutting time will be shorter and cutting will be undertaken at a more consistent volume-removal rate and feed rate, protecting the machine.

The SEMA exhibition will take place on 5–8 November 2013.

Key features and enhancements

Vortex

  • Because Vortex toolpaths have a controlled engagement angle, tools should never be overloaded and so will achieve the maximum tool life.
  • Shock loading caused by changes in the contact angle is minimised, preventing chipping of the flutes.
  • The stability of the cutting conditions gives more consistent edge temperatures, thus prolonging the life of the tool coating and removing heat damage to the surface of the part.
  • The ability to use stepdowns of three, or even more, times the tool diameter spreads the tool wear evenly over the cutting surface of the tool, again contributing to longer tool life.

Turning

  • The first improvement to turning in FeatureCAM gives the ability to add fillets to any sharp corners, for example for automatic deburring, without having to edit the geometry.
  • The user simply has to specify the radius to be applied and all the sharp corners will be filleted automatically.
  • Turning simulation has been made more realistic with the ability to program and simulate the movements of the steady-rest that can be used to position large parts during turning and the tailstock that can be used to hold long parts on centre during machining.

General

  • Collision detection against both these types of accessory is undertaken automatically during both cutting and transfer operations.
  • The ability to incorporate probing routines into machining programs was added in FeatureCAM 2013. These routines make it easier to undertake unsupervised production operations by allowing automated checks to be carried out before, during and after machining.
  • Programming of these operations has been made easier and quicker with the new ability to incorporate decision making with built-in options in the software, instead of having to hand-write toolpath edit commands.

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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