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PowerMILL brochure - .PDF file.

At JIMTOF in Tokyo from 30 October to 4 November 2014, Delcam will exhibit version 2015 of its PowerMILL CAM system for high-speed and five-axis machining. The latest release includes improvements to the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, improved collision checking to also cover near misses and more efficient raster finishing.

Tilting table
Tilting table

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, extending tool life and protecting the machine.

Click on the link above to download the PowerMILL brochure.

Key features and enhancements

  • Two enhancements 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.
  • Changes to the roughing algorithm in PowerMILL 2015 have reduced the number of lifts per toolpath slice to the minimum needed and so made area clearance more efficient.
  • 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. Collisions are still shown by a change of colour to red. Second, the display showing the list of collisions, and now near misses as well, has been updated to be easier to read, making it simpler to extrapolate the co-ordinates at these points. For near misses, the clearance distance is shown in the display, with the distance shown as zero for collisions.
  • Another improvement will help companies using four- or five-axis machines with trunnions or similar tilting tables. New options are available to specify the information used by PowerMILL to distribute the toolpath points so that the machine’s gimbal-lock position is avoided and a smoother motion results.
  • Raster finishing has also been improved in PowerMILL 2015, with the software now able to set automatically the most appropriate angle for each region of the part. The new option, which provides the same functionality that already existed for steep-and-shallow finishing and face milling, is most beneficial when finishing a series of pockets aligned in different directions.
  • Improvements to the PowerMILL interface include 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.
  • Three new curve-creation options have been added to the curve editor — ellipse, spiral and helix. These options can be used to create patterns or boundaries when generating toolpaths.

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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