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Delcam’s Partmaker CAM software has given medical-device manufacturer C-Axis the ability to efficiently manufacture complex, high-quality medical parts.

The company uses six multi-axis CNC mills and Swiss-type lathes, the most complex of which is a 12-axis Star ECAS-20T.

Jeff Haley, founder and chief-executive officer of C-Axis, said: ‘Our Partmaker CAM software allows us to design and troubleshoot our processes off-line, on an inexpensive computer instead of on a very expensive machine tool.

‘We can examine and optimise the process prior to even starting the set-up.

‘When we load the programs and set up the machine, we are virtually ready to start production.’ Jeff Geronsin, the plant’s CNC programmer, said: ‘Without the software, we would not be able to do as much complex milling as we do.

‘Even basic programming can be done with Partmaker in half the time that it used to take writing it manually.

‘For example, if we are milling out pockets and decide to change an end-mill size, Partmaker can do calculations in seconds that could take hours when programming manually.

‘Medical parts require a level of perfection that is not seen on other types of device.

‘The cosmetic look of the part is very important to customers.

‘As a result, we’ve had to do surface machining on our Swiss machines.

‘Without Partmaker, we’d have had to turn down those components.’ The geometric complexity of the medical parts is compounded by the complexity of the company’s multi-axis Swiss-type lathes.

Two of its Swiss machines, a Star ECAS 20 and ECAS-20T, require three simultaneous CNC programs to be written to support their numerous axes.

Partmaker lets the user quickly synchronise the machine’s numerous programmable axes to achieve the optimum cycle time.

Once the synchronization strategy has been set, the software displays a visual time study, showing the amount of time being spent on the main spindle, the amount of cycle time on the sub-spindle, and the overall cycle time incorporating any overlapping machining time.

The results are shown in the form of a histogram that clearly indicates where additional opportunities for time savings exist.

The software also produces accurate cycle times for use in quotations.

Once the process of developing tool paths and performing process synchronisation is complete, the part can be simulated on screen in a vivid 3D simulation.

This detects any tool collisions or machine crashes.

With parts getting smaller and more complex, this visualisation capability is critical to the continued success at C-Axis.

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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