CAD/CAM software must be updated to perform alongside machining advancements
Due to the constant development and improvement in CNC machining systems, programming systems have evolved alongside allowing users to effectively support more complex and advanced machining systems. The major driving force in the CAD/CAM industry is an extremely competitive global manufacturing environment that demands continuous improvements in processes and operations. Manufacturing firms are addressing these growing pressures by increasing their purchases of more complex CNC cutting systems to improve quality. As a result, the necessity for efficient and effective software to control these tools increase. The primary objective in CAD/CAM software is to improve user productivity and product quality by producing user-friendly software. Listed below are several machining trends that greatly influence the CAD/CAM industry:
- 5-Axis machining – In many instances 5-Axis machining and its versatility in many applications is replacing the use of 3-Axis machining. This is occurring because with 5-Axis machining allows for more complex parts to be machined, a reduction in the number of setups and tool changes, and the elimination of manual positioning. In addition, the price of 5-Axis machining is steadily declining, in fact MultiCam Canada offers 5-Axis technology at a reasonable and affordable price, and new software needed for 5-Axis machining is easy to learn and more automated.
- Greater Use of Multi-Task Machines – Machining systems often offer multi-functional, multi-spindle, and multi-axis platforms which are increasing complex. As such, CAD/CAM programs must be capable of creating a user-friendly interface to combat this growing complexity.
- High-Speed Cutting and Use of Advance Toolpaths – High speed machining is becoming increasingly popular and the software developed to support this capability must provide fast and efficient data transfer, smooth tool movement minimizing sudden changes in direction, and a constant chip load to maximize useful life. The use of high speed cutting has become necessary for shops to remain competitive and all CAD/CAM software providers offering products must effectively support this technology.
- Emergence of More Realistic Simulation – Significant improvement is being made in software for machine simulation, toolpath verification, and rendering. Realistic simulation of the entire machining process including the machine tool holders, machine components cutting tools, and stock can be made to provide a user with a complete picture a machining operation. Simulation of a toolpath is provided to verify its accuracy. AlphaCam is an excellent example as they offer a software platform with many extremely realistic and detailed simulation procedures of different applications performed on a MultiCam CNC cutter.