With PowerMill 2019, users get access to the additive functionality for the first time. PowerMill Additive is a collection of features and functionality that are aimed at higher-level AM. PowerMill Additive is not about powder-bed, or fibre deposition, or selective laser sintering, it’s more about what is referred to as direct energy deposition (DED); wire-fed or powder-blown deposition of metal, at a much higher rate than powder-bed or laser sintering, delivered on a CNC or robot platform.
PowerMill has the capability to support up to 22-axis robots, which is well ahead of the current state of play. Parts can be built from scratch, or features added such as bosses, protrusions, rims and so on, to existing surfaces and bases. Functions such as ‘rastering’ and ‘centre line’ each have their own controls. PowerMill provides ‘high levels of control across multiple elements and process parameters. These include power, material flow rate, feed rate and dealing with awkward local features.
PowerMill also has access to Autodesk’s NetFabb for additive manufacturing and design, which has an advanced simulation utility. It undertakes physics-based simulation of heat deposition, enabling users to see effects before the button is pressed and commitment made to expensive operations. It can help to reduce the number of iterations in prototype development, streamline workflows, reduce build errors and so provide benefits in time and cost, bringing products to market faster. This functionality is also coupled with the ability to export toolpaths to SUN for physics-based heat simulation.
The complete package takes another step towards more unified workflows. The final step is unification and links to Fusion production, the real-time factory planning and monitoring software. As the CNC code is created, jobs can be pushed to the shopfloor.