Using SwissCAM Software to Program NC Machines
The invention of NC (Numerically Controlled) machines has revolutionized the metal
cutting industry. Computer controlled machine tools are faster, have a higher
degree of accuracy and repeatability.
NC machines can be programmed manually, which means typing machine “language” motion and other instructions into a computer text file. Such a file,called a part program, is then loaded into the NC machine memory for execution.
The following are the major deficiencies of manual programming:
The languages of NC machines are cumbersome for humans and require a long
Geometric calculations must be performed to determine coordinates of points
comprising the tool path.
Typing is a time consuming process.
The absence of adequate methods to prove out the program results in tools
breakage and material waste.
Since the earliest days of computer technology a significant effort has gone into automation of the programming process by utilizing CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) Software. CAM systems accept user input in an interactive manner and generate a part program file automatically. CAM Systems provide assistance in tool path calculations and verification. The overall productivity improvement resulting from a use of a particular CAM System depends on how long it takes to learn the software, how easy it is to use it and how much information a user has to enter during each programming session.
PartMaker relieves you from the tedious process of reentering the same tooling and process information over and over again in every program. It captures information about how to machine individual part features, namely, holes and profiles, and makes it available for future use. It allows shop personnel to benefit from the expertise of the most skilled programmer, who enters his or her knowledge into the
software. Using PartMaker your parts can now be programmed faster, with higher precision and less cost.
Cycles Data Base Stores Sequences of Repetitive Operations
A cycles database allows the user to create and store cycles, sequences of repetitive operations such as center drilling, drilling, tapping, boring, reaming, chamfering and circular hole milling. The cycles database links directly into the tools data base. A tool for each operation is selected automatically based on the hole diameter.Windows GUI makes creation and modification of cycles a simple task. A full
description of the tools and operations included in a cycle is shown in one window,while the corresponding hole cross-section is shown in another window. Studies have indicated that over 70 percent of machine cycle time for an average CNC machining center is spent making holes. Therefore, PartMaker pays significant attention to hole making in order to achieve the greatest gain in productivity. Often,the same or similar features belong to a group of products that are ordered by the same shop’s customer. Since cycles may be customer specific the user has a choice of whether or not to store them in multiple cycle files.
Materials Data Base Facilitates Automatic Feeds and Speeds Calculations
A materials database allows the user to store materials data that is used in the automatic calculation of feed rates and spindle speeds. The software comes with an extensive materials data base, recommending average cutting parameters. Feed rate and spindle speed are computed based on tool geometry (size, number of flutes. etc.) and machinability data. This data is presented in the form of flexible computer charts giving the user full control over the performance of his machine.
The charts can be quickly modified via a drag and drop screen interaction.
Machinability charts can be further optimized by automatic curve fitting through points of best performance.
Optimized Process Plan Generation Saves Programming Time
Rather than creating a job plan in a conventional sequential manner, the programmer describes the placement of groups of part features on the surfaces of a machined part. Once the part features description is entered into the computer,PartMaker automatically generates an optimized job plan. The results are summarized in a Process Table Window that can be reviewed on the screen or
printed out. The Process Table lists tools and cutting conditions for each process.
Feed rates, spindle speeds and cycle time are automatically calculated and displayed. The cycle time allows the programmer to quickly estimate the cost of machining a part. While reviewing the Process Table, the user can manually modify the sequence of processes as well as cutting conditions.
Graphic Process Synchronization Simplifies Cycle Time Optimization
Once you have laid out your various tool paths, PartMaker allows you to visually synchronize processes being performed on separate spindles or by different tool posts. This eases the process of optimizing cycle time to assure your CNC Swiss type lathe is being used most productively. This visual synchronization is accomplished via the Set Modes dialog on the Process Table. A unique mode has
been specified for each of the various types of synchronization today’s most advanced CNC Swiss-type lathes are capable of performing. A picture accompanies each type of synchronization allowing the user to better understand the type of synchronization being performed.
User Customizable Output Format Eliminates Manual Editing
When the user is satisfied with the views of the part and its job plan, he proceeds with the next step (known as post processing) to automatically generate an NC program for a designated machine. The part program is optimized, using subroutines, to occupy minimum space in the machine tool memory and shorten transmission time. PartMaker eliminates the need for manual editing of the generated NC program – a well-known stumbling block of most CAM systems.
The ability to generate editing-free programs results in an additional productivity gain. It is achieved by giving the user full control over the generated NC program format by means of flexible ConfigPost application that allows the user to create and save custom postprocessor configuration files for virtually any CNC control.
ConfigPost uses the familiar Windows interactive environment that enables the user to do output customization quickly and easily.
Verification by Cutting Simulation Catches Programming Errors
PartMaker comes with an integrated simulation module that graphically depicts the entire cutting process, utilizing solid modeling techniques. This allows the programmer to catch errors before expending machining time.
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