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Delcam’s Powermill 2010 is a 64-bit CAM system for five-axis and high-speed machining, allowing more efficient toolpath generation for large or complex parts.

A series of webinars and user meetings will mark the new release.

Delcam will also demonstrate Powermill 2010 at a number of exhibitions over the coming months, including Metaltech Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur; Die and Mould China in Shanghai; PDx/Amerimold in Cincinnati; Eastec in Massachusetts; BIEMH in Bilbao, Spain; and Mach in Birmingham, UK.

The 2010 release also continues to improve user productivity by extending the use of the latest background-processing and multi-threading technologies available in recent hardware.

The combination of these two developments is estimated to reduce calculation times by up to 25 per cent, although this will depend on the size and complexity of the part.

In addition to the hardware-related performance improvements, Powermill 2010 includes more than 50 other major enhancements to give faster and easier programming, more efficient toolpaths and better surface quality in the finished parts.

This is the largest number of improvements in a single release for more than five years and reflects the continued high levels of investment in product development at Delcam.

The most obvious change for existing users will be an updating of all the toolpath-creation forms to a new and improved layout.

The forms make it simpler for new users to find the commands they need, while also giving experienced operators more logical access to the more advanced options.

In addition, there is a new toolbar for faster and easier creation and editing of workplanes.

A new series of strategies for the roughing and finishing of corners has been added.

These give more efficient and smoother clearance of these areas, especially when a large tool has been used for initial roughing that has left a significant amount of material in the corner.

Rest roughing has been enhanced to give better control over the start points for each segment of the toolpath.

This will give substantial savings in overall machining time by minimising any air cutting.

Offset roughing, a popular approach for high-speed machining, has been enhanced so thin slivers of material that may damage the cutter are not left for the final pass.

Powermill will automatically identify these potential problems and adjust the final step-over to give more even, and therefore safer, material thicknesses.

A number of improvements give smoother toolpaths for semi-finishing and finishing.

These minimise the stresses put on the cutter and machine tool, and result in a better surface finish.

They are related to Delcam’s patented Race-Line strategies for roughing and act in a similar way across the full extent of the toolpath.

For example, sharp changes in direction in 3D-offset toolpaths are automatically made much smoother as the tool approaches and leaves.

This approach also gives a more accurate result than simply introducing an arc at the point of change.

In a related development, more options have been added to the collision-avoidance functionality to give more control over the direction chosen by Powermill to avoid the problem.

These are particularly useful in any areas where there may be a sudden change in direction.

In addition, the ability to specify a look-ahead distance has been added to the collision-avoidance capability in order to ensure a smooth transition when tool-axis changes are required.

It is also now possible to specify a tolerance for the contact angle with five-axis machining, so reducing excessive movement of the machine head.

Constant-Z toolpaths have been enhanced to include the detection of flat areas and the automatic insertion of extra Z-levels to machine these exactly.

In addition, a filter has been added to remove small enclosed segments from the toolpath as these can damage the cutter.

The ‘Steep and Shallow’ machining combination strategy uses these latest additions for the steep sections and a range of new options has been added for the shallow areas.

Finally, a new option has been added that specifies the safe profile of the toolholder for any group of toolpaths.

This helps to identify a single toolholder shape that can be used for the complete program without any risk of causing a gouge or collision.

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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