Delcam will demonstrate its latest developments for the machining and inspection of aerospace components at the Aero Engineering exhibition and conference to be held in Manchester on 10th and 11th November. These will include the new releases of its PowerMILL machining software for high-speed and five-axis machining, and of the PowerINSPECT inspection software, plus a range of adaptive machining solutions to allow more accurate manufacture and repair of complex components.
The latest release of the award-winning PowerMILL CAM system, version 10, offers the fastest-ever toolpath generation on multi-processor computers. It incorporates the latest background-processing and multi-threading technologies, and so uses the full power of recent hardware developments to reduce calculation times and increase output dramatically. Other enhancements to further increase productivity include reduced memory usage when programming the largest and most complex parts, and improved ordering to give faster cycle times on the machine tool.
With PowerMILL 10, users can prepare data in the foreground while calculating toolpaths in the background. This eliminates the need for the user to wait for each calculation to be completed before he can start preparing the next operation. Productivity is also increased because the computer can continue with a series of calculations during the user’s breaks or even overnight. Calculations can be queued by the operator and the software will automatically start the next operation as soon as each toolpath is generated.
Version 6 of PowerINSPECT includes a range of enhancements to make it easier and more flexible to use. The most obvious change is a completely new interface for undertaking "simple” measurements. This will make it much easier to undertake basic tasks, such as measuring the distance between two points or two planes, or the centres of two circles, or checking the thickness of a section.
A number of improvements have been made to the ways in which data within geometric features can be handled. This will make it easier to see where the problems areas are, especially in bigger parts with large numbers of measurements. It will also be possible to use individual points within multiple features.
Increased flexibility will also come from the new ability to display feature measurements as surface points for comparison with the CAD model. This will make it easier to spot errors when, for example, a circle is perfect in its own dimensions but is not in exactly the correct position on the part.
Delcam will also demonstrate new ways in which machining and inspection can be integrated to give adaptive machining. One example of this integration is electronic fixturing with the NC-PartLocator program. With this technique, toolpaths are adjusted to match the actual position of the surface of the workpiece, rather than trying to align the part into exactly the nominal position specified in the CAM system. This approach can overcome the problems encountered when machining large, heavy components or flexible composite panels.
The first stage in this approach is to create a probing sequence in the inspection software, preferably using off-line programming so there is no interruption to the machine tool’s cutting time. This sequence is used to collect a series of points from the workpiece, which can be used map the surface of the part. Any mismatch can then be calculated between the nominal position used in the CAM system to generate the toolpaths and the actual position of the workpiece surface in relation to the machine-tool bed. A modified set of toolpaths can then be created within the CAM system that will give accurate machining of the part.
Sep 2, 2009
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