June 14, 2019
The introduction of a specific 5-axis “Tilt” control strategy, combined with a “Barrel Cutter,” is said to be the most significant enhancement in the latest release of SURFCAM, from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Production Software division, the company reports. Barrel cutters are recognized as one of the fastest tools when 5-axis machining, and are now fully supported in the SURFCAM Toolstore, according to John Buehler, brand manager.
As well as the new “side tilt by contact point” capability, the Advanced 5-axis cycle also offers further gouge checking in the Swarf command, along with extra control in all strategies.
New and Improved Features
A number of new and enhanced features in SURFCAM 2020.0 provide increased productivity for both milling and turning users. And the recently introduced SURFCAM Inspect module includes 13 upgrades.
SURFCAM 2020.0 offers a performance boost when either roughing or profiling a solid model. The machining engine will only compute data constrained within the boundary, ignoring the rest of the model. This will decrease the cache size while generating faster toolpaths.
Formerly introduced in the Hole cycle in the 2018 R1 release, the “Deep Hole” strategy has been enhanced. The original modifiers have been improved and further control tabs have been added to the cycle, giving greater control over the toolpath.
The Turning environment offers a new machining cycle—Thread Profiling.
“Reacting to a high frequency of enhancement requests from customers in this area, SURFCAM 2020.0 allows users to effortlessly machine complex form threads such as VAM and Acme,” Buehler says. “The cycle provides both roughing and finishing strategies, allowing users to specify their own thread forms.”
The Waveform Machining Strategy has been enhanced with ‘Chip Prevention’ control. Under certain conditions, a toolpath can generate a thin island of material (chip), which, as it gets thinner can cause machining stresses, and potentially break the tool.
SURFCAM 2020.0 also introduces a Code Wizard enhancement, letting users add a secondary working spindle. This supports multi-task machines, along with any combination of Table/Head Milling machines. Coupled with that, a new “Quill Command” (Move menu), offers greater control when commanding the second working axis.
When using the Finish Grooving cycle, users can now control the ‘Break Edge’ angle. In previous SURFCAM releases, the break angle was set at 45 degrees.
In the Finish Turning cycle, a “stand-off” value can now be defined when using “Up Cut” control.
An XY Offset can be set when deploying the Hole Cycle’s “Helical” strategy, allowing users to control both surface finish and tool wear.
Two new tool types—Dovetail, and Double Angle—have been added to the Toolstore. This does away with the need to create custom graphics for them. And the tools work automatically with the Slot Cycle.
Moving on to SURFCAM Inspect, Hexagon has expanded the ability of Inspect components in both the turning and mill-turn environments.
The overall interface has been upgraded to adopt the workflow ribbon toolbar. The “Probing Options” menu has been split into two separate dialogs, meaning users can concentrate on Output and Inspect preferences individually.
Safe Retract controls have been added to the inspection cycles for users to state multiple positions while controlling the probe’s movement. The “Index” command now contains the ability for further positional manipulation, where an alternative angle may now be specified to view the components on the machine tool.
The new “Angle To Line” feature merges three previous commands into one function, allowing the Angle Direction to be specified in the Data Report.
Amongst other enhancements to the SURFCAM Inspect module: Constructed features have been updated, so that “Straightness” can now be specified while editing the “Constructed Line” feature. And both the Circular and Arc features can now be converted and respecified when edited.
Also, around 50 enhancements have been made to the optional SURFCAM Designer module, which bridges the gap between CAD and CAM, focusing on the specific needs of machinist programmers.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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