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NUM has introduced True 3D, a 3D-simulation package that combines workpiece simulation with collision monitoring and other features.

The computer-aided engineering software allows machine builders to offer new generations of optimisation tools with their machines to help users maximise manufacturing throughput and productivity.

True 3D is a general-purpose version of NUM’s well-known 3D simulator for multi-axis grinding applications.

It is a CNC software-simulation tool that combines workpiece simulation and collision-monitoring facilities.

It allows machinery users to prototype and optimise the entire machine production process, to yield significant gains, including improved machine productivity, reduced tool-wear and faster project completion.

The simulator visualises the tools, the machine’s kinematic properties and the workpiece blank as 3D volumes.

Material volume is removed from the workpiece as the tool moves along the machining track according to the CNC program, while the same volume is continuously subtracted from the workpiece blank.

Because of the complex interpolated engagements that can take place between the tool and the workpiece – three linear and two rotating axes are normally in motion in five-axis CNC machines, for example – precise calculation is required.

The 3D simulation calculates the entire process-chain of a machine tool, from the ISO-standard CNC program and its CNC processing, to the machining process.

Consequently, collisions are also detected, avoiding damage to the machine.

The collision monitor will detect clashes between tool and workpiece, as well as with machine elements such as motor housings and sensors.

The simulator includes an abrasion-analysis module that calculates the material removal rate in mm3/s at every point of the machining cycle, as well as the specific material-removal rate on the tool surface in mm3/second/mm.

A colour animation of the specific removal-rate on the tool-surface gives the programmer an at-a-glance visualisation of whether the machine is using the best cutting feed – with rates up to the tool’s maximum being shown as per cent gradations.

This helps users to achieve the optimum manufacturing time with minimal tool wear.

One further useful mode of operation is also possible with NUM’s 3D simulator.

When the process is trialled on the real-world machine, the virtual 3D animation can be made to run in synchronisation with the real-time axis values of the CNC system.

This allows the programmer and users to follow the machining process in great detail and from any viewing angle.

This function can be especially useful if, because of the use of coolant, it is not possible to see exactly what is happening in the working space of the real machine.

The basic 3D model of the machine required to support the simulation of the machining cycle can usually be imported or created for a couple of days of effort.

The new software tool is suitable for tool grinding, gear manufacturing, woodworking, high-speed cutting and transfer and special-purpose machinery.

The software complements a range of CNC building blocks for machine builders.

These include advanced CNC kernels, industrial PC front-ends with soft-PLC functionality, MMI panels, I/O modules, drives and a broad choice of servo and spindle motors.

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