Category Archives: CAD/CAM

MachineWorks used across Vero Software portfolio

Vero Software the world’s number one CAM-focused software, has renewed their 17-year long relationship with MachineWorks, and also extended the use of MachineWorks Software throughout its wide product portfolio.


In recent years, Vero has acquired a number of leading CAM manufacturers who were existing clients, and already successfully using MachineWorks to drive the CNC simulation with its industry standard verification engine. Products such as PEPS, Alphacam, Edgecam, and Surfcam were already benefiting from MachineWorks’ algorithms for CNC simulation and collision detection.

“As more and more CAM applications joined the Vero Group, it made sense for Vero Software to reassess their use of component technology, and after extensive benchmarking, we came to the conclusion that MachineWorks APIs were the right choice for the products within the Group”, says Steve Youngs, Technical & Integration Manager at Vero Software.

“We are thrilled that Vero Software, the largest CAM provider in the world, has chosen MachineWorks as the component software to be used  within their numerous CAM packages for CNC simulation and verification”, says  Mike Nicholson, Sales & Marketing Director for MachineWorks.

About Vero Software
Headquartered in England, Vero Software designs, develops, and supplies CAD/CAM/CAE software radically enhancing the efficiency of design and manufacturing processes, providing its customers with exceptional value through high productivity gains and significantly reducing time to market. The company’s world-renowned brands include Alphacam, Cabinet Vision, Edgecam, Machining STRATEGIST, PEPS, Radan, SMIRT, SURFCAM, WorkNC and VISI, along with the production control MRP system Javelin. Despite the diversity of application, these solutions have one thing in common: they all address the rising challenges of achieving manufacturing efficiencies and bring huge value to the operations in which they are deployed.

Vero has direct offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Brazil, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Spain and India supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network. Vero is part of Hexagon (Nordic exchange: HEXA B), a leading global provider of information technologies that drive quality and productivity across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications.

About MachineWorks

MachineWorks Software sets the standard for CNC Simulation and Verification component software in the industry. More than 60% of CAM developers in the world have integrated MachineWorks technology into their applications and benefited from MachineWorks’ cutting-edge functionality since 1994. MachineWorks’ toolkit has been integrated by software and hardware OEMs looking for a solution in simulation of material removal and clash and gouge detection of any type of CNC machining. MachineWorks’ core technology combines speed, accuracy and stability. It is ideally suited for anti-crash systems, complex machining and full machine simulation.

MachineWorks New Software Development

MachineWorks Software sets the standard for CNC Simulation and Verification component software in the industry. More than 60% of CAM developers in the world have integrated MachineWorks technology into their applications and benefited from MachineWorks’ cutting-edge functionality since 1994.


What’s New in MachineWorks?
The forthcoming MachineWorks release contains many exciting developments, one of them being the support of cloud-based applications for CNC simulation and verification. This new feature allows networked devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops to visualise MachineWorks simulations running in the cloud.
A new geometry query API makes rendering integration much easier for applications. It has been designed to be future-proof and flexible.
Customers who use both MachineWorks and Polygonica will benefit from a new API to provide a seamless transition between the toolkits, allowing direct and efficient transfer of geometry and associated data.Real-time gouge detection has been extended to support more machining types, including linear, rotational, arc and B-axis turning and multi-axis wire EDM.
Although Rapidcut simulation was already extremely fast, the new multithreaded Rapidcut engine makes it even faster by taking advantage of multi-core CPUs.
Where is MachineWorks embedded?
Leading CAM software suppliers, CNC Controller and CNC Machine Tool manufacturers from across the world integrate MachineWorks’ industry-proven APIs into their software applications in order to create systems with complex simulation, real-time verification and look ahead collision detection in the full envelope of the machine.
Tools up MachineWorks’ Sleeve
MachineWorks also provides tools for toolpath optimisation, for healing solids and for easy integration such as MachineWorks Simulator that produces a working prototype within a day and help customers get quickly to market. MachineWorks Support team is there for the customers every step of the way and continue to provide support and innovative solutions throughout the full extent of the partnership, becoming an invaluable asset for the developers using MachineWorks.

Use of MachineWorks
MachineWorks functionality offers real-time simulation and verification for any type of CNC machining including kinematics, multi-axis, mill-turn, robotics, Swiss-type turning, Wire EDM, hybrid machining (subtractive + additive manufacturing) with features such as on-the-fly crash and gouge check, target part comparison, material removal and infinite zooming.

Delcam customer Jaivel programs 50 Bloodhound SSC parts with PowerMILL

International manufacturing technology company, Jaivel, has used Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM software to generate programs for the machining of more than fifty parts for the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car project. Bloodhound SSC, which is powered by a combination of a Rolls Royce jet engine and a rocket, aims to set a new world land speed record of 1,000 mph in South Africa next year.

Bloodhound SSC includes more than 50 parts programmed by Jaivel using PowerMill

Staff at Jaivel, which has grown over almost twenty years into an international supplier of technology solutions for advanced manufacturing, are more used to working in the aerospace industry. The company has played a key role in the manufacture of parts for some of the world’s largest commercial aircraft.

However, the company has also a strong background in other sectors including medical, Formula 1 and energy. Managing Director, Vipul Vachhani, explained, “I had worked in the Indian aerospace industry since leaving university so, when I started my own company in 1998, I wanted to continue in that sector. I soon realised that it was much too early to build a business in aerospace in India so diversified into providing design and manufacturing services for other engineering sectors. Equally, I found that using manual programming was limiting the projects we could undertake so, in 2001, I decided to invest in a CAM system. The system that I had used in my previous job was no longer available and PowerMILL seemed to be the only software that offered the same level of flexibility.”

The optimal balance of automation and flexibility still remains the main benefit of using PowerMILL. “PowerMILL incorporates a lot of automation which makes programming faster and the software usually gives the toolpaths we need,” claimed Mr. Vachhani.

PowerMILL has also allowed Jaivel staff to customise the software for common applications. One example uses a combination of Excel and PowerMILL to generate plunge milling routines for complex blisks with limited space between the blades.

By 2004, the business in India was growing well but Mr. Vachhani still had ambitions to expand within the aerospace industry. “The Indian industry remained very small so I decided to open an office in the UK to be closer to aerospace customers there. I choose Mansfield because it was a central location near to Derby, the home of Rolls Royce,” he said.

Jaivel now uses PowerMILL in both the UK and India. More recently, the company has added FeatureCAM to provide programs for turn-mill equipment. Jaivel became involved in the Bloodhound SSC project after being asked to develop programs for one of its customers that was making some parts for the car. Over time, its role expanded to more than fifty components, the most complex being parts for the car’s gear box.

The work on Bloodhound SSC has highlighted another strength of PowerMILL – the quality and flexibility of its post-processors. Involvement with Bloodhound SSC helped Jaivel to raise its profile, initially in the UK but now in India as well. The country’s media is starting to make enquiries since Jaivel is the only Indian company involved with the car. A growing track record of other successful projects is also helping to bring in more business.

As well as producing toolpaths for new components, Jaivel is also being asked to revisit the programs it developed for some of its earlier projects. The demand for year-on-year cost reductions is prompting requests for more efficient tooling or newer strategies to be used. While it is more unusual for the machine tool to be changed, this is now happening in some cases where the original equipment purchased for the project is getting older.


Delcam enhances section measurements in PowerINSPECT inspection software

Delcam has released the 2016 version of its PowerINSPECT inspection software, the world’s leading hardware-independent 3D inspection solution. The new release includes greatly enhanced options for section measurement, more comprehensive collision avoidance, improved point cloud inspection, the ability to add notes to reports, and improved user control of CNC surface inspection routines.

Inspection of sections has been improved in PowerInspect 2016

Section inspection has been improved with easier creation of sections, better visualisation and enhanced reporting. The enhanced options for section editing in PowerINSPECT 2016 include a slider that can be used to move the section through the part with real-time updating of the CAD view. A specific value for the section intersection can still be entered if required.

New graphics options help with visualisation and reporting. In the CAD view, the default option highlights the section cut and displays a semi-transparent representation of the material in the foreground, providing an accurate 3D visualisation of the section in place on the part. During section creation the shading is updated dynamically as the section moves through the model. Alternatively, the near side can be hidden completely, or the complete CAD model can be shown in a solid colour as before.

Once the desired section has been chosen, the inspection path can be generated automatically. The points generated can be edited if necessary. The section can also be viewed and reported as a 2D true view of the section profile that is currently selected.

As with other PowerINSPECT measurements, the results of the section inspection can be viewed as spot confetti, deviation lines or vector lines. The results can be displayed either on their own or as part of a larger inspection sequence.

Automatic collision detection was introduced in PowerINSPECT 2015, with probe paths adjusted automatically when a direct move between inspection features would result in a collision. A new collision-free mode extends this capability by automatically creating links between inspection features as necessary. If a potential collision is detected, the software automatically creates and calculates a new linking path that avoids the obstacle. Collision avoidance is recalculated when the order of the inspection sequences is adjusted in the sequence tree.

Intermediate paths can still be created or updated manually. This is required when the CAD model does not include complete information about the physical reality, for example if clamps or fixtures used to hold the part are not included in the CAD data.

PowerINSPECT 2016 has improved reporting with the ability to include additional user-defined information. New ‘Report Note’ items allow the user to insert additional observations, including text and pictures. As with all other items in the report, the notes can be shown, hidden and re-ordered within the report.

The formatting of labels has also been enhanced, particularly for GD&T items. New options have been added to the dialog for session settings to enable further control of the label display. Furthermore, the label sizes can be edited in the session settings and grid lines can be displayed for clearer reporting.

A number of enhancements have been added for inspections based on point clouds. Firstly, point clouds can be imported from DMT and STL triangle files. Scanning acquisition performance is improved and points can be saved from a point-cloud scan each time there is a pause during the scan. Several point-cloud items can also now be created in a single point-cloud session without having to leave the full-screen acquisition view.

CNC surface inspection has been improved, making it easier to produce consistent results across a batch of components. New surface inspection groups provide better user control of point naming, and the positioning, contents and formatting of report images. It is also possible to reference CNC surface inspection groups directly in RPS alignments.

Finally, there are significant usability improvements for the CAD File Manager. It is now possible to import one or more CAD files by dragging and dropping them into the main graphics window. The highlighting and visualisation of individual objects in CAD models is further improved, making it easier to identify named objects and levels.

Vero Rolls Out New High Speed All-Format 3D Viewer

Vero Software is rolling out a new high speed 3D viewer which directly displays and evaluates 3D CAD files without the need for the original CAD application. PartXplore can open the native files of Edgecam, VISI and WorkNC, with further brands in the Vero portfolio expected to follow suit in 2016 R2.


PartXplore has been created to efficiently import and analyse all file types and sizes at high speed. It often takes less than half the time to open a file compared to the original CAD application. Both novices and experienced users can build virtual unified prototypes or 3D models imported from a wide range of file formats, including Catia, NX, Parasolid, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, STEP, IGES and many more. The software saves the native CAD data in its own lightweight format, meaning manufacturers can carry out tasks such as calculating surface areas and volumes, and measuring thickness, dimensions and angles without requiring the original CAD information.

PartXplore Product Manager Massimo Vergerio says: “Users don’t have to worry about format compatibility, or what CAD system their customers use. And a stand-alone lightweight application enables users to easily sends 3D parts to colleagues and sub-contractors through the internet, where recipient can immediately display and work on the 3D model.”

PartXplore features include:

Even staff who are not CAD experts can quickly master the software’s wide range of 2D and 3D measurement functions, by using predefined selection modes such as points, 2D entities, planes and surfaces. Measurements can be automatically included as entities and anchored to characteristic points of the part. Entity labels automatically pivot to remain visible at all times.
Specialist functions allow more experienced CAD users to recover point clusters from 3D measuring equipment or machine probes, and to quickly check revisions against the original CAD geometry. Point files can also be generated easily for sending to 3D measuring equipment and NC machines.
Ideas, observations, instructions and change requests can be conveyed quickly and easily. The need for 2D drawings is minimised, as users add dimensional and geometric measurements, annotations and labels directly to the 3D model.
A full range of specialist analysis tools assist with quotes, diagnostics, assembly notes, and preparing 3D models. Much of the analysis functionality is normally only associated with more expensive CAD solutions. The inside of parts and assemblies can be explored with high performance sectioning; the section plane rotated, panned or following a guide curve, simply by mouse clicks. Curvature radius and plane face analysis is a valuable tool for providing accurate production times. In addition, draft angles and undercuts can be calculated and displayed extremely quickly, even on large components.
Timeline animations are set up by initiating basic movements such as translation, rotation or following a guide curve.
Collision Detection:
Dynamic collision analysis ensures real-time control of mechanism interoperability or process control. Short videos can also be generated.
Screen captures illustrate technical documents and assembly sheets…and a large number of images can be readily managed and distributed.

Massimo Vergerio says: “PartXplore’s intuitive, easy-to-use interface enables novices and experienced users alike to explore any type of 2D/3D CAD file. It gives access to the full set of core functions to ensure everyone can be up and running with the software instantly. This collaborative viewer makes it easy to visualise, analyse and share files where access protection ensures that only designated staff can open and work on the files.”

Delcam’s FeatureCAM used to produce 815 mm steel part on Hermle mill-turn

A new video from Delcam demonstrates the improved metal-cutting possibilities on a Hermle machining centre with integrated turning capability when the machine is fitted with the latest TNC 640 contouring control system from Heidenhain and programmed with Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software.

Almost 1 tonne of steel was machined away to produce this part on the Hermle machine at the NAMRC
Almost 1 tonne of steel was machined away to produce this part on the Hermle machine at the NAMRC

The process starts with a 1.6-tonne EN8 steel billet measuring 815 mm in diameter and includes a complex series of machining operations that, in total, removed 935 kgs of material. It demonstrates clearly the improved productivity possible with the latest equipment and machining methods, through increased speed and accuracy, reduced idle times and longer tool life.

The filming was undertaken during two seminars at the NAMRC (Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) during May. Jointly sponsored and organised by Heidenhain (GB) and Geo Kingsbury, sole agent for Hermle machines in the UK and Ireland, the event was also supported by tooling supplier Seco and workholding firm, Schunk as well as Delcam.

Many features of the machine and control combination are shown in the video, including ‘A-axis Turning’, which allows the trunnion to be continuously positioned at any angle while the component on the table is rotated for turning using a fixed tool in the spindle. This simultaneous interpolation gives improve cutter access and allows shorter turning tools to be used for more stable machining.

Another attribute demonstrated was programmable ‘Adaptive Feed Control’ within the TNC 640 control, which continuously adjusts the feed rate to keep the spindle load constant as the milling cutter moves into different parts of a cycle. When used together with Delcam’s Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, AFC can significantly shorten cycle times as the full depth of the cutter flutes can be used rather than just the bottom few millimetres, leading to faster metal removal and longer tool life.

Finally, a series of five-axis finishing operations are shown, including swarf machining and deburring by edge profiling. All these strategies can be checked on the computer using FeatureCAM’s full-machine simulation to ensure that they will run safely on the machine.

To watch the video:

Milling, Turning and Wire EDM Updates In Edgecam 2016 R1

The latest release of Edgecam’s game-changing manufacturing software contains over 30 important new and enhanced items of CAD and CAM functionality for milling, turning, and wire EDM.

Head Table support for MTM Machines
Head Table support for MTM Machines

Turners now benefit from a new time-saving Pre-Finish Plunge option found in the Finishing Grooving cycle in Edgecam 2016 R1. A single plunge cut is generated at the centre of a groove feature, and the cycle then continues to finish the feature in the usual way. As this removes most of the material it does away with the need for a Rough Grooving cycle.

Following on from Waveform turning, the existing Rough Turn Cycle now features a new Ramp Cut strategy. This method is typically used for turning deep recesses with double-sided turning inserts…and extends tool life as the contact point on the insert is constantly changing, avoiding notching. The new strategy can be used with decreasing cut increments.

Five more milling CAM cycles have been upgraded to use images and help tooltips. Edgecam’s Product Manager, Simon Mee says: “This helps users to quickly understand the command function and also presents a consistent user interface.” The cycles are Parallel Lace, Pencil Mill, Face Mill, Flat Land Finishing, and Constant Cusp Finishing.
Enhancements have been made to Edgecam’s 3D modelling software, EWS. A new 2D Offset Tool makes design creation easier. Common shapes and profiles are quickly duplicated and copies by an offset amount, reducing sketching time. More time is saved while creating constraints, as it is no longer necessary to exit the command – the dimension value is now immediately editable. And entities dynamically snap during the sketching phase. Also, an enhanced Arc command now includes a Set Diameter/Radius option, allowing multiple identical circles to be added to a sketch.

Edgecam 2016 R1 sees the completion of memory-handling developments for working with multiple solid models. “Similar to Parasolid, Inventor and Granite files, users will now see noticeable performance improvements when working with ACIS models. This is achieved by only storing a single solid model – when duplicates are required Edgecam creates references to the original geometry. Customers working with tombstone parts or sub-spindle lathes will reap significant benefits from this new functionality.”

A number of significant upgrades have been made to the Operations function, which is used in particular by new or infrequent Edgecam programmers as a quick and easy way to develop complex toolpaths. Roughing, profiling, turning, and 4- and 5-axis commands have been enhanced, as well as the addition of a new chamfering operation.
The roughing operation is now stock-aware, and adopts the Waveform toolpath strategy. In addition, the rough turn operation now supports the B-axis…and the 4- and 5- axis operations can now directly pick on the solid model.

A function used for both milling and turning operations now saves additional time on the Update Stock command. “Through intelligent coding, the command no longer needs to process the graphical aspects of the machine set-up,” says Simon Mee. “This means the Machine Simulator can focus on pure toolpath. Further performance improvements have been made to the simulator when dealing with large toolpaths such as roughing and 5-axis cycles. The simulator now groups multiple cuts intelligently, to provide an optimum performance benefit.”

A further enhancement to the Automatic Feature Finding command means users can set a Partial Hole Angle when creating features. The value will control which hole features can be detected, and eventually machined.

Building on enhancements from previous releases, Edgecam 2016 R1 now offers extended collision detection and improved NC output for machining holes. Simon Mee says this feature is especially beneficial when non-uniform clamps are used. The cycle’s ‘link’ moves are minimised. As they’re calculated from the local fixture height, this reduces cycle time considerably. As a result of this, the program output has been improved, as the specific retract value can be used in canned cycles.

Wire EDM users benefit from a new Smart Cycle machining command. This combines 2-axis and 4-axis wire machining into one function, by analysing the input geometry shape. It guarantees that the output code always matches the feature shape, without the user needing to do anything else.

Edgecam 2016 R1 also introduces a ‘Test For Separation / Slug Removal’ function into the wire EDM simulator. Users can examine if slugs of material can become detached from the main stock body. The simulation test displays all separations, and shows which direction they’ll take. By knowing of any problems at this stage, users can decide whether to change the machining process. This is especially valuable on complex 3D shapes, where it’s not always obvious if separation is possible.