According to SolidCAM, iMachining offers cycle time savings of 70% or more compared with traditional solutions. The company also states that its software allows companies to get the most out of their high-end multi-tasking CNC machines. In fact, there is no limit to the number of axes the software can control and synchronise.

Gordon Drysdale, managing director of SolidCAM UK says: “Some of the Swiss-type [sliding-head] lathes can have 14 or more axes. SolidCAM can write all the programs for the different channels, synchronise them, simulate the result and perform collision detection to produce a safe and efficient tool path.”

The Swiss-type solution eliminates the problems that machining of this ilk presents, such as eliminating the need for manual G-code programming with no visual verification, and removing the issue of the operator holding sole control and knowledge.

SolidCAM seamlessly integrates inside SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor, with full tool path associativity. This single-window integration allows operations to be defined and verified without leaving the parametric CAD assembly environment.

All milling and turning tasks are available for the programming of mill-turn machines, including the software’s flagship iMachining, which is particularly effective on hard and difficult-to-machine materials such as Inconel and titanium. Using its technology wizard provides speeds and feeds based on tool path, stock material, type of cutting tool and CNC machine specifications. Continually making adjustments to the morphing spirals ensures that a constant chip thickness is maintained and the tool is kept in contact with the material at all times. SolidCAM UK states that iMachining increases average tool life by five times or more.

Drysdale says: “We make bold claims regarding iMachining; on our stand we will prove the times savings gained on hard materials, which can be as high as 90%.”

During the live machining demonstrations, SolidCAM UK will be using work holding solutions from Schunk, cutting tools from Iscar, verification software from CG Tech, back-ends from Haimer, and datum setting, in-process inspection, tool setting and tool breakage detection from Blum-Novotest.