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medical manufacturing


the same piece of equipment present significant differences based on highly customized production orders. So, it is nec- essary to optimize the process based on individual machine tool characteristics as well as size and features of the part family to be machined. Today’s innovative CNCs feature an


Finding ways to reduce costs when machining intricate shapes and exotic materials is not an easy task.


extensive suite of advanced path and acceleration optimiza- tion functions with on-screen guidance to select the set of parameter values best suited for the machining conditions to reduce cycle time with enhanced part accuracy and surface finish. Powerful integrated and advanced 3D servo and ma- chine optimization tools aligned with expert services can fine- tune machine performance for a specific part or part family, even for the most complex medical machining applications. Finding ways to reduce costs when machining intricate shapes and exotic materials is not an easy task. The most ef- fective way to achieve this goal is by using advanced features in the CNC that allow reaching the final shape and surface finish during the machining process and eliminate or at least reduce the need for postprocessing secondary operations such as grinding, deburring and polishing. Only the most innovative CNCs and drive systems ex- ecute the programmed path at a nanometer resolution for the maximum precision and smoothest contoured surface finish. Advanced control systems are designed to simplify complex, high-performance five-axis machining applications by using advanced CNC functions that are essential to achieving the high quality standards that medical device manufacturing demands:


AI Contour Control function looks ahead (up to 1000 blocks) in the part program to eliminate the acc/dec and servo delays that limit feed rates when cutting short line segments or contours and effectively eliminates path errors in corners and small radii.


Jerk Control function can be used to effectively suppress vibration and machine shock in part program sections in which acceleration changes abruptly, such as where the cut- ting path changes from straight line to curve, thus reducing associated machining errors.


Smart Overlap function helps reduce cycle time by allowing overlapping of cutting feed rates and rapid traverse program


blocks within a programmable permitted toolpath deviation range which can be easily confirmed using the CNC auto- matic calculation screen.


Nano Smoothing with spline interpolation recreates the shape in the 3D CAD model from line segment approximations. The five-axis CAD/CAM/CNC process chain is simplified by creat- ing part programs that describe part geometry in workpiece coordinate systems. This in turn simplifies the CAM and postprocessor as well as allows for machine, tooling and setup data to be provided at the machine, similar to typical three-axis workflow.


High-Speed Smooth TCP function provides Tool Center Point Control (TCP) to allow part geometry programming independent of the machine kinematics and ensures that the tool tip follows the programmed toolpath precisely and at the programmed feed rate. To help maintain the accuracy of the five-axis machining center, an automatic cycle for measure- ment and compensation of inclined angular error of rotary axis is now available in today’s most modern CNCs, making 3D rotary error compensation easier and faster.


Integrated Manufacturing Technologies An additional process improvement worth investigating to significantly reduce cycle time and produce more accurate medical parts is multiaxis machining operations in a single setup. Machine designs for five- and six-sided machining operations have blurred the line between milling and turning. In recent years there has been a flurry of activities around inte- grating multiple manufacturing technologies such as traditional metalcutting (milling, turning, grinding) with laser machining and additive manufacturing into a single machine tool platform. Advanced and versatile CNCs provide high-performance, multiaxis, multipath nano technology in a flexible and scalable CNC platform. This is ideal for high-speed, highly accurate complex medical part manufacturing by seamlessly combining milling, turning, laser machining and cladding in a single part program. This in turn reduces the number of machines and operators required to manufacture the final medical part which decreases cycle times and reduces costs.


Intelligent Robotic Machine Tending Automation Robots can increase machine production by up to 20% over traditional methods while allowing for greater flexibility to accommodate for small batch production. However, quite often when we talk about automation in a machining depart- ment, the first thing that comes to mind is a generic robot loading and unloading parts into a machine tool. But today’s intelligent robots in conjunction with highly sophisticated CNCs can do so much more. Servo doors can be incorporated on the machine to allow high-speed synchronization with the CNC to allow faster part load/unload. Intelligent vision systems


46 — Medical Manufacturing 2015


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