CGTech provides a VUE of the future

CGTech’s VUE (VERICUT Users’ Exchange) events were developed to provide a conduit between the software specialist’s development engineers and its global customer base. More than 50 such events have been scheduled worldwide for 2019, with more than 5,000 attendees expected.

At each event, the technical staff from CGTech provide customers with a feature review of the latest release of VERICUT, imminently Version 9, of the world’s most advanced independent CNC machine tool simulation and optimisation software, with the focus on providing convenience features to improve simulation visibility, speed and efficiency of the user’s verification process.

From a global user base of more than 7,000 customers in 55 different countries using 20,000-plus seats of VERICUT to support the drive towards ever-increasingly complex components produced on multi-axis machine tools and using advanced processes such as material deposition additive manufacturing, the VUE attendees were shown that the advances in VERICUT are intended to match the pace of change of their needs, providing an opportunity for VERICUT to support industries’ goals for efficiency and productivity.

This year the UK VUE events have been organised in Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), Renfrew, Scotland; Nikken Innovation Centre Europe, Rotherham; Carillon Industrial Services, Buckinghamshire; Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle upon Tyne and  Seco Tools, Warwickshire. .

Speaking about the VUE events, CGTech Ltd. Technical Director, Gavin Powell, says: “VERICUT has a diverse user base and our customers are found in almost every one of the advanced and demanding industry sectors, such as aerospace, defence, marine, motorsport, medical, oil & gas, petrochemical processing and other high precision engineering operations. These events provide the opportunity for users from different sectors, that may never meet, to get together and find out more about each other’s challenges. We can also explain how other sectors use VERICUT, provide a better insight into our company and software, as well as share future plans.”

He continues: “One of the key elements is direct product feedback from customers. While we have an exceptional software development team, there is no substitute for demands ‘from the coalface’. Ideally, we aim to match or even exceed the requirements from our users.”

Senior Technical Engineer, Gavin Bridger, and Technical Engineer, Dave Woolams, highlight the new features due with the release of Version 9.0. “Faster is better,” says Gavin Bridger, with the development of the new graphics display providing significant gains for users. “You can render faster with more realistic and crisper views of cutting processes and machines. With dramatic improvements in the view environment; rotate or zoom while cutting, seamlessly switch view types or layouts, and change model translucency, colours or other appearance properties at any time. New flexibility to use major functions (like Section, X-Caliper and AUTO-DIFF) in any view will help programmers get things done faster.”

Speed matters…

VERICUT can simulate faster in the new viewing environment thanks to using much more GPU hardware than ever before, with dramatic performance increases for additive and grinder/dressing operations. Huge performance boosts are seen with NC Program Review and VERICUT’s free Reviewer application provide significantly faster review times for all staff, from the shopfloor to the top floor.

Mill-turn tooling enhancements include new multi tool station for turret lathes with easier setup for an arrangement of cutting tools accessed through a turret index position. Activate a tool for cutting via its offset and check remaining tools for potential collisions with the part or machine.

New turret setup feature speeds up the lathe tooling setup by selecting tools from a list, or drag ‘n drop from VERICUT’s Tool Manager to turret positions. Identical ‘sister’ tools are easier to setup by simply referencing a single tool in the library and set different offsets.

‘Restart’ and ‘Stop At’ capabilities quickly verify changes made to an NC program, and have more control over the simulation. Initiate Restart action on any line in the NC Program window and the simulation quickly processes up to the restart line, then the display updates to show the result. A new Stop At Line Number/Count option enables programmers dealing with looping and branching logic to stop at a specific occurrence number of processing a line in the NC program.

“We have conducted numerous verification speed trials in V9.0 with significant gains achieved,” explains Bridger. “For example, a 5-axis job with 35,000 lines of code running on a Matsuura MAM 72 in Version 8.2 takes 10 minutes, with the faster processing available in Version 9.0 the same job is finished in 5 minutes 31 seconds.”

VERICUT simulates 6-axis articulated-arm robot motion from leading robot machine builders including Fanuc, KUKA, ABB, Kawasaki, Motorman and others. VERICUT also supports robots that have additional ‘external’ axes such as mounted on a linear rail.

In addition to simulation, VERICUT can also be used to adjust motion and post-process for robots. VERICUT computes joint positions from the incoming tool point commands and orientation, and then post-processes for the specific robot-language program. Most robots are programmed by ‘teaching’.

Off-line programming is preferred when there are many motions, precise positions are needed, or the process must be controlled or traceable. Support has been increased for robots including Quaternion robot motions and PentaPod (5-pod) machines with improved work offset handling, angle head attachments and probing.

Sale Engineer, Scott Ravenscroft, presents the latest FORCE module developments. Force is a physics- and mathematics-based module designed to optimise machining rates. The software uses actual data for cutting tool forces and spindle power readings to calculate maximum chip thickness and feed rate.

He explains: “VERICUT covers the obvious and visible production elements, such as crashes, scrap, gouges and prove outs; Force addresses the hidden opportunities. These include inefficient programming and suboptimal feedrates caused by the CAM system’s inability to adjust cutting feedrates for varying cutting conditions.”

Breaking the key parameters of Force down into ‘attack’ and ‘defence’ to highlight how the software achieves its goals. “In attack – we create optimal cutting conditions by maximising chip thickness and keeping the chip thickness constant. Defence comes from setting limits to prevent failure, such as maximum feedrate, cutting force and deflection. All of which is done without altering the trajectory or path of the cutting tool,” Ravenscroft states.

Force relies on proven technology to maximise program efficiency and productivity and typically achieves savings of 8 to 15 per cent on aluminium and 15-plus per cent on difficult to cut materials. Return on investment can often be as little as one production component, with the opportunity to analyse cutting conditions, improve tool life, protect CNC machine tools and reduce operational costs.