Increased Productivity in Shops with CAD/CAM Options

What are the newest technology trends in CAD/CAM Software Development?

New shaped tools can produce faster results and finer finishes. This part was created using Mastercam's Accelerated finishing toolpaths. It takes advantage of these shaped tools.

Ben Mund: The CAD/CAM industry is constantly evolving. To increase productivity, manufacturing technology is constantly evolving. Many shops are evaluating their capacity and revising their growth strategies in light of the 2020 disruptions. Manufacturers demand solutions that are cost-effective, collaborative, and scalable.

In CAM software, three trending factors are critical: advanced toolpath strategies, technical partnerships between different types of industry leaders, and connectivity/Industry 4.0. These three pillars help to guide technical developments so that manufacturers can reap the benefits without putting undue stress on their operations.

What's new in your latest CAD/CAM program?

Mund:Dynamic Motion's toolpath engine has been extended to allow for more machining scenarios, such as 2D milling and 3D milling. Both the "basic", and "advanced," CAM segments have been upgraded with smarter drilling and automatic multiaxis cutters. Mastercam's Accelerated finishing toolpath strategy is closely linked to the release of next-generation tools.

Mastercam users can benefit from our relationships with tooling companies in the area of tool forms. Programming time is saved by being able to import tool libraries, and to use strategies to create a wider range of tool shapes.

Finally, we have increased our external connectivity in order to make sure data can be brought into, used and shared in the most efficient way. The CAD/CAM software controls the machine tool but also provides a platform for applications like metrology, reverse engineering and tool management. Many of the productivity improvements resulting from Industry 4.0's advent are supported by clean, efficient data exchange in manufacturing processes.

Read Blog: Are Integrated CAD/CAM Systems Right for You?


What are the best ways for users to use new CAD/CAM tools in manufacturing?

Mund: This is a fascinating question because not all shops require the same tools. It is easy to make small improvements and upgrades to existing techniques. They quickly become part of the process that uses them. A successful shop will know the most recent software tools and be able to evaluate if each one applies to them.

We spoke to many shops that have used disruption to reevaluate their assumptions as well as their jobs during the first half of 2020. Some shops have had to look at new software options due to the slowdown. They can then determine if they can increase their throughput on similar jobs or if there are other areas in which those options could be used. The shop can then decide to only use the software that makes a real difference to its time, money, and/or both.

Our best advice is to talk with your CAM representative about the tools you are not using, and whether they can be beneficial for you. To get the best out of these tools, you should invest in training

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What effect do some of the latest additive tools have on CAD/CAM today?

Mund: The software systems that control additive manufacturing are more compatible with existing CAM systems as the industry matures. A new AM machine may include its own software to control the build parameters. Because the technology is still in development, this may be necessary. Once a process is on the market, traditional CAM systems may be more popular. AM is constantly being evaluated. We see strong projected growth in powder-bed fusion systems through 2021.

Is CAD/CAM becoming more accessible? How important is this to users today?

Mund:It is essential to make the experience as easy as possible. We are constantly improving our methods. Mastercam has a user experience division that works to improve and streamline existing features. We use user feedback to continuously improve our UX.

The reason CAD/CAM is so easy to use goes back the first question. This is the ultimate goal of nearly every shop: to increase productivity. Shops cannot afford to stop improving, speeding up, and executing more efficiently. Software developers for CAD/CAM need to be as aggressive as possible in making sure they can do this in the most efficient way.

What has Mastercam's success in the educational CAM market meant for CNC's software development efforts?

Mund: Mastercam can be found in thousands of educational institutions. These include high schools and advanced university labs. There are two main benefits to this. This helps to fill the skills gap by encouraging students to enter the labour market with a solid CAD/CAM foundation.

The second benefit, which is related to your question above, is innovation. Although high schools provide the basics, advanced software applications at colleges and universities can expand the capabilities of software and allow us to better understand the potential uses for emerging technologies. Mastercam students have been hired by us to work in technical and engineering roles at CNC Software.

Please describe a unique way Mastercam users used the software.

Mund:Mastercam is used by a Washington company to quickly create precise burn masks for victims of the fire. These masks can be used to replicate the face inside an internal cavity. They are extremely helpful in healing and can help with accuracy and speed. It takes the shop minutes to obtain facial scans from emergency personnel, creates the burn mask, and then get it to the facility with great speed and precision. It's amazing to see the positive impact manufacturing has on real people's lives.

New Measurement Software

Renishaw's XM-60 measurement instrument users now have access to the latest CARTO 4.2 suite for calibration software.

Renishaw Inc. West Dundee (Illinois) has released the latest version of its CARTO software suite to calibrate products. CARTO 4.2 is a dynamic data fit software that allows Renishaw's XM-60 multi-axis calibrator, Renishaw Inc., to quickly capture and analyze data on linear axes of all lengths. The XM-60 measures six degrees of freedom, including vertical, horizontal, straightness, pitch, yaw, roll, and linear. The new XM-60 long-range measurement functionality in CARTO 4.2 makes it possible to measure unlimited distances.

CARTO Compensate 2.0 now offers Heidenhain linear compenstion. This feature allows laser users the ability to apply pitch error compensation for Heidenhain machine control controls.

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Siemens adds MBD to NX Software

Authoring part manufacturing information (PMI) in NX MBD is easy with the use of user-defined rules.

Siemens Digital Industries Software, Plano, Texas, expanded its Xcelerator portfolio with enhanced Model Based Definitions (MBD) in their latest NX CAD/CAM software.

NX X enables companies to use rules- and knowledge-based approaches for MBD. This builds on best practices and leverages AI. NX MBD allows for a wide range of characteristics, beyond size and shape, to create a digital twin. Engineers can now create a digital product definition by including non-geometric information in the CAD model.

Many companies end up with a 3D drawing when trying to duplicate a drawing-based workflow within the context of 3DCAD design. This is because the company does not have the right tools to capture true business intelligence to take advantage of digital twins and digital thread. Siemens says that engineers and designers can use NX's MBD to automatically create and reuse data. This adds more intelligence to the model and allows them to leverage the data to inform their other products and business decisions.

FANUC Controls Optimized Five-Axis Post Processor

FANUC users can reduce cycle time and increase part accuracy with a new Mastercam post-processor.

CNC manufacturer FANUC America Corp. of Rochester Hills, Mich., and Mastercam developer CNC Software Inc. of Tolland, Conn. have released a new post-processor designed to optimize FANUC CNCs' five-axis capabilities. This new post-processor allows machine-tool operators to decrease cycle times and improve part accuracy.

Rick Schultz is FANUC America's aerospace program manager. CNC Software has been working closely with FANUC to help programmers create optimal toolpaths by using the advanced algorithms in the FANUC 30iB and 30iB Plus Series control packages.

The Milling Standard Package FANUC Controls includes the following key functions: Tool Center Point (TCP); Error Compensation; Workpiece Setting (WSEC); and Easy Setting Function. These allow for multiple process profiles and acceleration. Advanced look-ahead algorithms AICC II and Smooth Tolerance Control+. Schultz stated that the new Mastercam post processor unlocks all the potential of machine tools using the five-axis Milling Standard Package. "Mastercam-generated code will create a new standard in machining by allowing for shorter cycle times, better path accuracy, and mirror surface finishes.

MillMax aims to optimize milling productivity

MSC Industrial Supply Co. is a distributor of MRO services and products based in Melville (N.Y.) and Davidson (N.C.). MSC MillMax is a new service that aims to maximize manufacturers' milling productivity while reducing costs.

MSC MillMax combines MSC's expertise in metalworking with the impact testing equipment of MSC to increase milling performance on CNC machines. MSC's specialists in metalworking will recommend the best tool/holder for each application within its portfolio. The specialists will perform an impact test, and then share the optimal performance parameters with you in minutes. MSC representatives can also help with documentation of application cost savings.

MSC MillMax was developed through a cooperative R&D arrangement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This agreement was intended to increase the U.S. manufacturer's competitiveness. ORNL trained MSC's metalworking experts to assist manufacturers in optimizing their CNC machine tools and collecting data that will help advance American manufacturing.

Software for Manufacturing Assembly

Retrocausal Inc. of Redmond, Wash. is a developer and marketer of visual mistake-proofing technology. RetroActivity software offers advances in quality control in the manual assembly in discrete manufacturing.

Retroactivity is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and detects missed steps or errors in assembly workers using verbal prompts as well as visual cues. Retrocausal projects have an average improvement of 10% in first-time yields and a reduction of 60% in quality-related issues in manual assembly.

Retrocausal was initially developed in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center and CAE Healthcare to assist nurses and surgical residents in learning complex medical procedures. Retrocausal identified a larger need in U.S. manufacturing to provide continuous quality monitoring and training for workers as well as for analytics for managers and industrial engineers. Retrocausal recently partnered up with Siemens Digital Industries Software to address quality issues in manual assembly.

The company stated that RetroActivity technology is based on AI and can understand complex human actions as well as the details of parts being assembled. RetroActivity is loaded onto a small computer equipped with a Bluetooth camera, an adjustable mount, and a Bluetooth microphone. Alternately the project engineer could install RetroActivity software onto an existing hardware system, or via the cloud. NASA has awarded the developer a grant to help astronauts perform complex space operations. RetroActivity is available for subscription.

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AI Solution for Plant Optimization

Aspen Technology Inc., Bedford (Mass.), a developer of asset optimization software, has introduced the aspenONE V12 program, which embeds artificial Intelligence (AI) across its portfolio. This software supports increased safety, sustainability, and better margins for industrial businesses.

aspenONE V12 solutions include an Industrial AI hybrid model that is specifically designed for process industries and other capital-intensive sectors. Aspen Hybrid Models collect data from assets throughout the enterprise and then apply AI and engineering first principles to create more detailed, accurate models.

AspenONE V12 software now includes the Aspen Maestro which is available for Aspen DMC3 or Aspen Mtell. This allows for the creation of faster models by automating the process. Aspen Deep-LearningIQ IQ enables the construction of more precise models. Aspen Verify For Planning uses AI to collect knowledge and verify that plans are correct to avoid costly errors. Aspen Multi-Case allows for more detailed analysis, allowing users to make better decisions and navigate operational complexity more quickly.