Tag Archives: Delcam

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.


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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3-M5UQQHB0


Delcam launches 2016 FeatureCAM with new high-efficiency roughing

Delcam has launched the 2016 release of its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software. This includes a range of enhancements, in particular more options for the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, support for bar-fed mills, more efficient turning and user-interface improvements to make programming even easier and faster.


FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming software when it was launched in 1995. Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths that give greater productivity on a wider range of machinery, including mill-turn machines, five-axis mills and wire EDM equipment.

The 2016 release includes a number of enhancements to the Vortex area-clearance strategy. Vortex gives the fastest safe metal removal from solid carbide tooling, in particular designs that give deeper cuts by using the full flute length as the cutting surface. It produces toolpaths with a controlled engagement angle and so maintains the optimum cutting conditions for the complete roughing cycle, giving faster machining and longer tool life.

The ability has now been added to adjust and fine tune the non-cutting moves of 2.5D and 3D Vortex toolpaths, with options to retract the tool and/or to increase the feedrate. These options can be set individually, or can be combined to achieve an optimum toolpath, with a reduced cycle time.

Other roughing improvements include the ability to take into account any remaining stock on the model during holder collision checking, ensuring that Z-level roughing toolpaths are completely free of tool-holder collisions.

Milling of inside or outside groove features has been upgraded with a number of improvements. These include support for different types of roughing links, wind-fan approach and retract moves for finishing, better gouge checking for plunges and retracts, and tool radius and partline cutter compensation support.

Support has been added to FeatureCAM for multi-tasking bar-fed milling machines, such as the Mazak Integrex I150, and the Willemen-Macodel 408T and 508T. Access to the back of the component is possible with an option to set the swivel angle of the machine, with additional cut-off operations now available that use milling tools.

Five-axis swarf machining has been made more flexible with a new option to control the upper and lower Z limits of a simultaneous five-axis swarf toolpath. This is useful if there are limitations on the tool length that can be used or if the stepdown needs to be varied for different segments of the toolpath.

For users of FeatureTURN, the selection of turning tools has been simplified with the ability to use a single tool in multiple orientations. This new automatic tool orientation categorises tooling into either outside-diameter or inside-diameter turning tools, so shortening the time taken to program parts and reducing the number of different tools required in the tool crib.

In addition, the engage angle can now be set for the lead-in approach move. By controlling the approach move in this way, smoother chip formation and lower cutting forces can be achieved.

FeatureCAM now allows the quick import and alignment of a variety of pre-defined vices and chucks into a machining project. The result is increased productivity, not only due to the speed of programming but also because collision checking is provided automatically during simulation.

Used in combination with PowerSHAPE, FeatureCAM now allows machining files to be selected and nested automatically in a single block to optimise stock material usage.

Interface improvements include the ability to create additional setups quickly during FeatureRECOGNITION, via a new button in the Feature Wizard. This reduces the overall programming time significantly.

In addition, items within the part view are now highlighted when the cursor hovers over them. At the same time, the items are also highlighted in the graphics screen, making it easier to find and select the desired items quickly.

Finally, Autodesk RealDWG has now been integrated into FeatureCAM, bringing with it increases in the speed of import of DWG files and support for DWG solid model import.


Delcam’s new PowerMILL CAM can mirror complete machining projects

Delcam has launched the 2016 version of its PowerMILL programming software for five-axis and high-speed machining.

In PowerMILL 2016, time can be saved by mirroring programs for symmetrical parts or tooling
In PowerMILL 2016, time can be saved by mirroring programs for symmetrical parts or tooling

The main enhancement in the new release is the ability to mirror complete machining projects in one operation and to maintain automatically the machining characteristics, for example to choose automatically whether climb or conventional milling should be used in each section of the toolpath. Previously, only individual toolpaths could be mirrored.

Automatic mirroring saves considerable time whenever right- and left-hand versions are needed of a part or tool. It will also be faster to program the machining of symmetrical objects since it will be possible to program one half and then mirror the toolpaths to complete the program.

To ensure that the mirroring has performed as expected, the new option can be used with the ability, introduced in PowerMILL 2015 R2, to undertake complete verification of a project for machine-tool issues such as collisions. Comprehensive verification can be performed, including ensuring that the machine tool is capable of running the mirrored toolpaths, as well as checking for both machine-tool collisions and tooling collisions.

PowerMILL 2015 R2 also saw the introduction of the ability to simulate machine-tool movements as tool changes are executed. The capability has been enhanced in the 2016 release by allowing more complex tool changes to be simulated, in particular those involving a carousel mechanism.

Other improvements to simulation in PowerMILL 2016 include a new form to print out the position of the cutting-tool tip during simulation, an auto-translucency option that will allow viewing of the table attach point at all times, and the ability to draw translucently the safe areas for rapid moves.

Development work has continued on the optional modules for PowerMILL as well as to the main program. In particular, a new, more efficient strategy to machine single blades has been developed for the Blades, Blisks & Impellors module, and a constant-Z machining option has been added to the module for programming the machining of ribs into tooling.

Delcam makes Learning Zones available as a free iPad App

Delcam has made the Learning Zones for its full range of CADCAM software available as a free App for iPads. The App can be downloaded from the Apple App store at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id988414798


The Delcam Learning Zone App comprises tutorials for the latest releases of all Delcam software, including the company’s CAM programs, PowerMILL, FeatureCAM and PartMaker; the PowerSHAPE Pro CAD and reverse engineering software; the PowerINSPECT inspection system and the ArtCAM range of artistic CADCAM programs, plus the Delcam CRISPIN range for the design and manufacture of footwear.

A selection of case study videos from the Delcam.tv website is also included, in which a number of customers talk about their relationship with Delcam and the benefits they get from using the software.

Users with suitable internet connections can stream the videos using the Learning Zone App. Alternatively, the videos can be downloaded and then viewed offline at any time.

The videos can be filtered by product and/or by industry category to help viewers find the content that is relevant to them. In addition, any of the videos can be made a ‘favourite’ so that it is easy for users to go back to their preferred material.

While the Learning Zone App is intended mainly for existing customers, it will also help companies interested in adding Delcam software to see the latest developments in the programs.

New tutorials for new product releases will be added to the Learning Zone App as they are developed to help users make the most of each new version of their Delcam software.

The current version of the Learning Zone App can only be used on iPads but an Android version is also being prepared that will be released shortly.

Delcam launches new FeatureCAM for feature-based programming

Delcam has launched the 2015 R3 release of its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software. This includes a range of enhancements to give high-quality results on all types of machine tool, including complex mill-turn equipment and five-axis machining centres, while retaining the rapid programming times for which FeatureCAM is renowned.

Turning-head holders have been added to the range of machining accessories supported by FeatureCAM
Turning-head holders have been added to the range of machining accessories supported by FeatureCAM

FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming software when it was launched in 1995. Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths that give greater productivity on a wider range of machinery, including mill-turn machines, five-axis mills and wire EDM equipment.

The most significant new option is the ability to duplicate the physical constraints of the machine tool in simulations in FeatureCAM. Machine-tool limits can be added to the models to be used in the simulation for three-, four- and five-axis milling machines, for turning equipment, and for mill-turn machines, including those with multiple turrets and/or multiple spindles. It is then possible to check that the chosen machine tool is capable of completing the proposed program for all types of equipment, from the simplest lathe to the most complex multi-tasking machine.

The simulation will pause whenever the program attempts to move the machine beyond the specified limits. In many cases, simply changing the position of the part on the machine bed will allow the whole operation to be completed. Alternatively, modifications to the fixturing or to the length of the cutting tools may be required. Whatever changes are made, the computer simulation can then be repeated to check that the modified program will run successfully. Proving out the program on the computer will save time and money on the machine tool, as well as checking that the part can be cut safely.

In another improvement to FeatureCAM simulations, more accurate representations can be created of shanks and holders. These allow three-axis and five-axis collision checking to be undertaken more reliably.

Two enhancements have been made to five-axis machining with FeatureCAM. Firstly, more control is available with the ability to set the C-axis orientation about the Z axis so helping to avoid machine collisions and to make the program more efficient by avoiding over-travel. Secondly, support for five-axis operation is possible in 2D spiral operations, giving better control of the tool axis. This can ensure uniform depth of cut and cross-section when engraving onto complex surfaces, including parts with undercuts.

Additional accessories that are supported in the new release include turning-head holders and mini turrets. Turning-head holders allow turning to be undertaken on a milling machine, while mini turrets allow more flexible positioning of the tooling and faster tool changes. In both cases, the new options can be simulated on the computer before being sent to the machine.


Delcam adds more reverse engineering tools to PowerSHAPE Pro CAD system

Delcam has added a number of new options for reverse engineering to its PowerSHAPE Pro software for the design of products and tooling. The 2015 R2 release of the software also includes improvements to speed up and simplify the editing of product designs to make them more suitable for manufacture.

The new alignment tool in PowerSHAPE Pro 2015 R2 makes it easier to align sets of scan data
The new alignment tool in PowerSHAPE Pro 2015 R2 makes it easier to align sets of scan data

By offering a combination of solid, surface and direct modelling, together with reverse engineering, PowerSHAPE Pro provides the most comprehensive range of design techniques available in a single CAD program. Having all the different technologies in the same package reduces the need to transfer data between multiple programs and so streamlines any product-development process that requires both reverse-engineering and CAD functionality.

PowerSHAPE Pro can connect directly to most scanning hardware to capture and display scan data in real time. The 2015 R2 version includes a new split-screen alignment option that makes it quicker and easier to combine multiple scans, taken, for example, from the opposite sides of a part. The new method also allows more accurate snapping of alignment points, giving greater accuracy in the resulting single CAD model.

PowerSHAPE Pro can be used to take cross-sections through the scan data to generate wireframe for the development of surface models. The wireframe can be simplified automatically into lines and arcs, reducing the number of points needed to describe the item and giving more precise geometry for the re-engineering of the model.

Another new option is the ability to morph a complete solid or surface model to a mesh. This can be used to compensate for spring-back when pressed parts are released from their tooling. Morphing can be used to update a nominal CAD model to match the part as it is made in reality or to modify the surfaces of the tool so that the part can be produced in the desired shape represented by the CAD model.

On the modelling side, analysis of models has been made easier as the Smart Feature Selector now displays the type and parameters of each feature interactively as the cursor is moved around the model.

In addition, the ability of the Smart Feature Selector to find, select and edit multiple similar features has been extended. Now, any number of items of the same type, not just similar features, can be edited in a single operation. For example, all the arcs within a model could be set to the same diameter or all the holes could be made the same depth.

Two enhancements have been made to the tools for the creation and editing of curves. Firstly, the Composite Curve tool has been more efficient so that it needs fewer clicks to create the curve, even when following fragmented edges. Secondly, the Re-point dialog now displays the deviation between the original curve and the new one, and it is also possible to re-point a curve to a known tolerance. This makes it even easier to create high-quality, smooth surfaces when re-engineering scan data or when remodelling an existing design to allow it to be manufactured.