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ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW Silvère Proisy


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s more companies are embracing automation and effi ciency methods, dedicated machining simulation software is a natural fi t into today’s modern factories. In our experience, even small shops with under fi ve employ- ees are investing in these programs. Certainly, the rise of more complex multiaxis machinery installations is one driver. In this parallel universe of machine and simulation software development, the software in recent years has made signifi - cant improvements in ease of use, graphics and processing speed. These solutions are integrating the creation of opti- mized CNC programs, machining simulation, and the ability to publish the manufacturing data that operators and quality technicians need in the shop. In some cases, the programs integrate cutting tool libraries and enhance cutting tool condi- tions, which further underscores their value.


The simulation packages available today have their special nuances and strengths and should be reviewed and com- pared with each other. It’s important to ensure that the simu- lation software can integrate with your existing CAM program seamlessly. A Windows-based system is also wise with its familiar interface using buttons, ribbons and icons. Consider- ing the complex processing that these programs do, they are becoming much easier and faster to fi gure out. In our case, NCSimul Solutions, which combines NCSimul Machine and NCSimul 4CAM, breaks down the procedure in three simple steps: investigate the existing CAM generated code and correct any coding syntax errors, simulate the cutting action to fi nd and correct motion errors, and then validate the part dimensionally. Of course, there are actions to take within this hierarchy; however, the choices and results of those are presented in a clear, logical fashion with an effi cient method- ology to address the errors and make necessary corrections. This may be an obvious point, but sometimes it’s the


things in front of us that can be overlooked: When reviewing programs, you’ll want to ensure that the provider has your specifi c machine models’ G-codes, macros, and kinematics


10 AdvancedManufacturing.org | June 2017 General Manager Spring Technologies Inc. MODERN MANUFACTURING PROCESSES, SOLUTIONS & STRATEGIES


Trends in Simulation Software Make It More Powerful, Practical and Faster to Master


ready to pull up in a precisely accurate and high-resolution 3D view. User interface is also in play when implementing a new machine tool into the company. Modern CNC simulation software provides interactivity for the programmer between the 3D, G-code programs and useful information, which is available at any time to troubleshoot errors. The ability to read the native machine variables and macros is an impor- tant feature to ensure simulation integrity. Simulation software depth such as this can translate into a signifi cant advantage in time spent and simulation accuracy. This capability is particularly helpful in the scenario in which a company moves from three-axis to fi ve-axis equipment and machining. The ability to validate the G-code permits creating the programs for a new machine automatically and safely, saving days if not weeks of programming time. In advanced programs, existing three-axis toolpaths can be bumped up to fi ve-axis with liter- ally a click of the button. Upon creation of the new fi ve-axis program, the review, simulate and validate process is applied to it to smooth out any technical hitches. Machining can then be initiated with confi dence.


Industries with high-value parts, such as aerospace and power generation, have been the earliest adopters of dedi- cated machining simulation software programs. Naturally, the primary benefi t of the early generations of simulation software was to avoid motion crashes involving the cutting tool and workpiece. Now that the programs offer a wider range of capabilities and greater depth—such as machine tool and cutting tool libraries and the ability to generate project docu- mentation and data for those companies truly embarking on the Industry 4.0 path—more industry sectors are experienc- ing the value of integrating a dedicated simulation program into their project workfl ow. We are experiencing an uptick in power generation, medical, consumer products, heavy equipment and electronics OEM installations, as well as their subcontract suppliers from very small to top tier ranks.


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