Nov 30, 2011

OPEN MIND provides options in latest hyperMILL to further automate NC programming

OPEN MIND Technologies AG provides a series of options in its latest hyperMILL® version to further automate NC programming and make it more productive. This includes intelligent macros and a programming interface (API).

Automation is possible not only in production on the shop floor, but also in connection with CAM programming. OPEN MIND Technologies AG, the CAM software manufacturer from Wessling/Bavaria, provides additional programming tools for this purpose in its new hyperMILL® version.

The renowned feature and macro technology included with hyperMILL® uses geometrical information from the CAD system – so-called features, such as holes and pockets – for further processing in CAM. The recurring machining strategies typical of a feature are combined with tools and technology data, defined as technology macros and that are stored in the macro database.

This way, machining sequences can be prepared quickly and connected easily to the appropriate geometries, and programming steps can be calculated efficiently with a minimum of mouse clicks. Thanks to the new intelligent macros and the generic hole feature, OPEN MIND Technologies is now taking automated programming one step further.

Generic hole feature

The generic hole feature, a newly-developed type of feature, represents a building block in the optimal use of intelligent macros. Holes no longer have to be defined by way of individual features; instead, all holes can now be mapped using just this one feature type. This means the distinction between standard, sink or free holes is not necessary anymore. Nor are settings based on different steps, countersinks or slots necessary. For each step, special properties such as threads or fits can be specified. Since all holes can be defined with one single feature type, more efficient automation for program creation is possible in the second step.

Intelligent macros

By using generic features, different holes can be programmed with a single macro that contains all the possible machining steps using simple IF-THEN queries. When the machining steps are assigned to the various features, the rules are applied to automatically choose between countersinks, threads or fits.

The same rules can also be used for any other feature or machining step. Parameters such as surface, depth, pocket radii, minimum radii, etc., permit unmatched flexibility during the creation and deployment of machining macros for all machining jobs and geometry elements. hyperMILL® automatically adjusts job steps on the basis of these rules and in reference to the geometry information. Holger Max, Service Engineer at OPEN MIND, provides the following example: “Let’s take a hole with a diameter of 8 mm that may have various depths of 6 mm, 14 mm, 30 mm and 120 mm. Depending on how deep the hole is, very different machining approaches may be required. These can now be stored entirely within one macro.”

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

In its new version, hyperMILL® comes with its own programming interface. The interface can be used with all .NET programming languages, including C# and Visual Basic.

This facilitates a wide range of programs with add-on functions, as well as an even larger degree of automation. It is possible to create programs that, similar to configurations, control the entire CAM programming process via algorithms and rules. Without having to open a CAD/CAM system, the user just answers a few questions and programming proceeds automatically.