More responses to software queries ...

Position::2003 software report - Software for the machinery industry

Matt Michaels VP of sales & marketing, Sescoi Inc.

  1. What are the one or two most important developments in your software?

    WorkNC has recently introduced feature recognition of holes with fully automatic and optimized G-Code output including canned cycles This functionality was originally developed for mold-plate producers but we have found it to be useful to die-makers and others as well.

    In Version 16 of WorkNC, Sescoi is introducing simultaneous 5-axis cutter path generation. The largest strength of WorkNC's 5-axis option is "Virtual Machine Simulation" that allows for full collision checking and path optimization prior to running at the mill. Considering the expense of 5-axis mills, Virtual Machine Simulation is critical.

  2. What are the benefits of solids-based machining? What are its limiting factors for users? Why is wireframe still necessary?

    Solid modeling can provide many benefits to tool path generation such as allowing the grabbing of "attributes" from the solid model for use in automating CAM processes Attributes or "tags" associated to entities within solid models can be read directly by feature-based machining functions leading to automatic CAM from 2D through 5-axis.

    Solids based machining is not necessarily the end-all in automating CAM processes. Feature based CAM does not necessarily need to be always dependent upon solid models. Features can be gathered from solid models, surface models, or curves. The bigger issue, beyond focusing solely upon solids based machining is "feature-based machining." Features can be defined in solid, surface, and wire-frame models. Hybrid modelers offer the best flexibility for CAM automation tools.

    In work beyond simple curve machining, wire frame models would not be necessary if specific CAM functions allowed for the grabbing of shared solid-edges or surface face extremities to be used directly as machining entities.

  3. How important is application specific software, such as that for mold base design, as compared to more generic modeling or NC programming software? Why?

    It seems to me that application specific soft ware, tailored for specific functions, is the wave of the future. Too much user interaction is required with "generalist systems." Niche sub-set products that are focused on automating specific manufacturing tasks, is where tire CAM/CAD business is heading quickly.

    Martin Hardwick, President and CEO, STEP Tools Inc.

  4. What are the one or two most important developments in your...

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