First, Edgecam 2016 R2 offers 30 important new and enhanced items of CAD and CAM functionality. User experience developments include super-fast file loading for large assemblies, auto indexing when moving between features on different planes, and colour filter selection when selecting geometry and features. A number of machining cycles have been enhanced, including the ability to support a number of sharp corner profiling methods such as loop, break-corner, chamfer and others with significantly reduced code output. In addition, support for probing cycles has been enhanced with direct solid picking and full associativity to the parent geometry.
For turning, the rough grooving cycle has been improved to add control to manage ‘nibbles’ on corner radii by adding or removing intermediate cuts. This technology will provide the ability to better control the remaining stock for semi-finishing operations. Additional turning enhancements include the ability to manually edit a turning feature that has been detected by the feature recognition routines. This manual interaction allows the user to pick out additional machining areas on particular complex geometry.
Machine configurations have been a focus of Edgecam development for this release and 2016 R2 sees the introduction of support for non-linear turrets on a 4-axis lathe, support for turning with rotating heads (Trevisan machine tools), and turning on milling machine improvements with support for nutated head configurations.
Finally, wire EDM developments include the ability to translate associative machining operations for multiple copies and support for rotary wire movements for features on different planes.
Turning to Visi, major graphical enhancements include an updated GUI with quick access toolbars, live icon combinations on the mouse, improved hidden line removal and geometry selection by ‘free-shape’ brush. In addition, CAD translators have been updated to support third-party CAD formats including Inventor 2016, layer categories for NX and attribute hole mapping for Catia V5. As user efficiency continues to be a focus, major CAD developments include significant picking and sketching enhancements, associativity improvements for 3D dimensions, the ability to combine both solid and surface geometry in the same Boolean operations, and multiple plotview updates.
Visi Mould developments include improved cooling channel management with support for solid groups, CAD transformations and updated catalogue components such as plugs, connectors and baffles. There is also a new tool to produce lubrication grooves and a rewritten database tool to manage and edit the 3D standard element libraries. A new part definition process provides a step-by-step workflow that helps the user evaluate the moulding feasibility of a part, resulting in a HTML report that details the part thickness and volume, and filling, packing and cooling times – essential information during the quoting stage.
For those involved in sheet metal stamping, Visi Progress updates include a new nesting facility which permits the ability to set minimum part quantity, gaps, relative orientation and also part placement on the sheet. The nesting parameters can be dynamically changed to preview the result. Other improvements include the ability to manage multiple strip designs within the same project, and the option for defining families of punches as instances; allowing for automatic updates of geometry if the parent punch is modified.
Visi 2016 R2 represents another release with major CAM developments covering both 2D and 3D milling routines. 2D enhancements include significant speed improvements (especially on complex patterns), enhancements to profile and section milling, and support for ‘bottom-up’ milling. For 3D machining operations, the waveform roughing strategy has been implemented. The Waveform technology, developed over several years by Vero Software, significantly improves standard roughing strategies by removing a consistent amount of material while preserving machine and tool service life. In order to maintain a constant load on the cutter, the strategy consists of machining from the stock material towards the part geometry. This approach results in a reduced number of intermittent cutting movements, especially in the outer areas, meaning that the tool stays engaged in the material for as long as possible and leads to fewer retracts and air cutting periods. The stepover distance automatically adjusts in order to maintain a constant load on the cutter, making it possible to maintain optimal feed rates during the whole cycle, which can achieve machining rates of up to five times faster than traditional roughing strategies.
Other CAM developments include improved analytic material removal, updated stock/model comparison, and a new ‘toolpath enquirer’ tool to allow the operator to analyse the underlying toolpath data and search for geometry such as elements shorter than a given length or vertical arcs.
WorkNC 2016 benefits from the Vero best-practice technology sharing concept and also introduces Waveform roughing into the latest release. Sharing proven software code will free developers to work on other applications, significantly improving the rate of product enhancements. In version 2016, the Auto 5 technology is now available as a standard module. Using Auto 5, operators can automatically generate 5-axis toolpaths based on existing 3-axis toolpaths while also taking into consideration the kinematics of the predefined 5-axis CNC machine. Engineers can convert 3-axis and 3+2 axis toolpaths into simultaneous 5-axis toolpaths. The intelligent toolpaths are automatically checked in order to avoid collisions and manage the linear and rotational limits of the machine. The Auto 5 technology allows the use of shorter, more rigid cutters allowing most of the part to be finished in one single operation.
As with all Vero products, user experience is a constant focus, and within WorkNC 2016, it is now even easier to select the different commands in the graphical user interface as graphic symbols are now representing calculated operations.
Finally, the latest release of sheet metal software Radan contains a number of major technological steps to improve Radan, Radbend, Radm-ax and Radtube functions. Radan 2016 introduces a new interactive auto-tooling concept that allows users to specify areas of the parts and nest to automatically tool, including individual variations of the parameters, such as the settings for a complicated aperture. This means users can be more creative with the automatic tooling routines.
Other developments include support for the latest 2D/3D file formats, and a powerful new feature to automatically detect microscopic pieces of scrap. Interface improvements include a new GUI side panel that analyses the model straight after importing it, showing a bill-of-material-style parts list in a panel on the right side of the screen. As well as identifying the sheet metal parts for manufacturing with Radan, it can make the non-relevant parts of the assembly, such as bolts and screws, invisible. Radan 2016 also extends the ability of specifying the start condition of closed geometry laser cuts, to open profiles and sheet cuts. With the new open profile lead-in function, users can choose the start condition of their open profiles, so they can start gently, or even try twice, to make sure the cut will work.
Radbend includes a number of developments, including improved simulation where the collision checking is more accurate, as simulation can now be performed using modified part data, rather than the designed part. In Radbend 2016 the software gives the press brake a better idea of what the manufactured part will look like. In previous software versions, the simulation used the designed part; but now it uses the modified model, so it’s more accurate and flags up issues much earlier in the process. Radbend 2016 supports nine additional machine tools; either new controllers or models.
Lastly, Radan 2016 incorporates a new application called Radmanager, a new tool that permits a simple way of entering customer order data and turning it into nest projects within Radan. This enables parts from different customer orders to be combined into one nest project in order to maximise efficiency and material usage. Once the nest project exists it can be processed in Radan as normal. Any changes to the quantities of parts nested can be sent back to Radmanager to allow any parts that were not nested to be added to another project. This can help create nest projects without generating remnants that need subsequent management. Parts that are scrapped during production can be manually recorded against the customer order, allowing replacement parts to be nested as soon as possible.
Product manager Olaf Körner says: “Radan is actually a whole suite of connected products. For example, there is a major connection between 3D in CADCAM and the Radbend press brake software. When manufacturers unfold a model they need to know how the bend process will be affected further down the production line. And when we bring in a 3D file we don’t know what’s in it; there might be a tube, or something that needs to go to the Radm-ax 5-axis laser system. So technologically it made sense to bring the products much closer together.”