The MTC and AMRC, High Value Manufacturing Catapult members, plus GKN and Thales UK will join CloudNC in making the CAM programming software suitable out-of-the-box for fastest reliable high precision machining.

The ultimate prize is automated NC programming that delivers shortest cycle times plus highest quality and precision for the >£100bn global CNC machining market, where the greatest inefficiencies in the production process chain are in programming and cycle-times, CloudNC asserts.

CloudNC’s approach to CNC programming is disruptive and revolutionary, fully automating the process of generating a CNC machine program. Built from scratch, the software employs complex and novel computational mathematics approaches, applied physics, extreme-performance computational geometry algorithms and large-scale, cloud-based parallel computing. Normally, hours, weeks or even months of skilled human CAM programming time is required to produce an NC program, but with CloudNC's software this can already be achieved with a single press of a button.

However, while the NC program is created rapidly, the resultant cycle time and quality is currently only as good as a skilled CAM software programmer can achieve in standard time. As such, the output NC program does not yet address the market need for highly optimal machining cycles that can achieve narrow tolerances (<20 microns) required by high end industry.

A skilled CAM programmer can achieve reduce standard cycle times by up to half by spending three months-plus on improving the initial program. CloudNC aims to emulate the techniques used to reduce cycle-time, using advanced software techniques to do so.

The project will demonstrate on industrially relevant components substantial reductions in production cost through reducing cycle times and ensuring adherence to tolerances first time, without rework. It will ensure that component quality is as high as possible through fully understanding and incorporating the limits of top-speed autonomous machining when tackling tight tolerances parts.