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Sep 6, 2011

Delcam reseller CCSI to hold PowerMILL update day at Ingersoll

CCSI, Delcam’s reseller for Illinois and Iowa, will hold its annual customer update seminar at Ingersoll Cutting Tools in Rockford on November 3rd. This free seminar will cover what’s new in the latest version of Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system for high-speed and five-axis machining, and how customers can use the new features to improve their processes, plus a look at future developments.

Andy Bergstrom, President of CCSI said, "We’re really excited that Craig Chester, International Support Manager from Delcam’s headquarters in the UK is taking time out of his busy schedule to join us to present material on PowerMILL 2012. With the largest development team in the industry it is not surprising that Delcam just keeps on improving PowerMILL. We’re 100% confident that what our customers will see in PowerMILL 2012 will help them increase productivity, improve quality and reduce lead times. By attending this update seminar, our users will be able to use some of new features right away and so maximize their software investment.”

For more information on how to attend CCSI’s seminar please contact Jeanne Bergstrom at

815-399-4433 or email sales@cadcamsystemsinc.com

The new PowerMILL release includes a number of new strategies, together with more general enhancements to make programming faster and machining more efficient with the best-possible surface finish. The most important new option is flowline machining. With flowline machining, the toolpath is divided between a pair of drive curves in a constant number of passes, rather than having a varying number of passes with a constant stepover. The toolpath will have its start and end passes on the drive curves, with the intermediate passes blending between them.

This approach gives smoother results since it ensures that each pass travels over the full length of the area, rather than leaving the part, or making major changes in direction, during the pass. It produces a better surface finish on the part and minimises wear on the cutter and the machine tool.

Another new option that will give better results during five-axis machining is the ability to control the angular point distribution. This option can be used to keep the machine tool moving smoothly when there is rapid angular change in one of the rotary axes of the machine tool. The problem occurs mainly when moving around sharp corners but is also important when the machine is operating near a vertical tool axis. If the machine tool is near the gimbal lock position, small movements in the tool-axis vector can result in large movements in one of the axes.

In both examples, smoother tool-axis changes can be achieved by increasing the density of the points in these areas. The user can specify the maximum angle that the tool axis can move between points. Extra points are inserted automatically to ensure the specified maximum angle is not exceeded. This gives a more even movement of the machine and so gives a better surface finish, with no risk of dwell marks. The smoother motion also reduces wear on the machine.

A more general enhancement is the ability to use Bezier curves rather than polylines when sketching geometry in PowerMILL. Bezier curves give smoother boundaries, patterns and drive curves, and so enable better quality toolpaths to be produced.

Other enhancements include more control over the clearance distances applied to the cutter and its holder. This is especially desirable when machining near-vertical faces, as a smaller clearance can be set for the shank, while still allowing a larger clearance for the holder. It allows the shortest safe cutter to be chosen, with no risk of collisions. Using shorter cutters will usually allow faster machining and minimise chatter so giving a better surface finish.

In addition, thread milling options have been added, and workplane editing, and Z-height selection and limiting, have been made easier. It has also been made easier to obtain measurements, including distances, angles and directions, from the part model and enter these values into forms automatically. Finally, the use of the PowerMILL macro language to programme repeat operation has been extended to give users more options to customise the system for their particular needs.