Delcam shows off Vortex high-efficiency roughing using Iscar tools on Mazak

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A new video shows the speed of area clearance possible with Delcam's Vortex high-efficiency roughing strategy. In the video, a Mazak Variaxis 750 programmed with Delcam's PowerMILL CAM system is machining 4340 alloy steel using an Iscar Finishred 12mm cutter.

The Vortex strategy is intended for metal removal from solid carbide tooling, in particular designs that give deeper cuts by using the full flute length as the cutting surface. It can be used for two- and three-axis roughing, three-plus-two-axis area clearance and for rest machining. Vortex produces toolpaths with a controlled engagement angle and so maintains the optimum cutting conditions for the toolpath that would normally be possible only for the straight-line moves. As a result, higher feed rates are possible so the cutting time is shorter, while cutting is undertaken at a more consistent volume-removal rate and at a constant feedrate, so protecting the machine, Delcam says. The constant feedrate achieved with Vortex is a fundamental difference from other high-speed roughing techniques. Trials at Delcam have shown that this approach is more reliable as it can often be difficult to predict exactly how machine tools will react to changing feedrates. Vortex also uses a minimum radius parameter, calculated to make sure that the machine tool can maintain the cutting feedrate in corners and, more generally, for any non-straight part of the toolpath. This makes the cutting process more predictable since the machine should run at the programmed feedrate throughout and not slow down in the way that it could on other kinds of area-clearance toolpath. The control of the engagement angle that is possible with the Vortex strategy also makes the performance of the tool more predictable because it is operating closer to the optimum cutting conditions associated with a straight-line cut, Delcam says. This means that it is easier to adjust the feeds and speeds being used to machine a particular part such that a tool can be relied on to cut, for example, ten components before it needs to be changed. A tool change can then be added into the program where appropriate so that lights-out machining can be undertaken safely and consistently on a long series of parts, either overnight or across a weekend. Delcam is running a series of webinars on Vortex showing the use of the strategy in each of the company's CAM products in December, February and March.