Edgecam’s 5-axis capability and Waveform advanced machining functionality have been demonstrated at SGS Tool Europe’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Wokingham.
The Edgecam User Group Meeting and 5-axis Workshop also included high performance cutting tool presentations and machining demonstrations using 3-axis and 5-axis DMG machining centres installed in the company’s Technical Centre.
A roughing strategy used as a high speed machining technique, Waveform maintains a constant tool cutting load by ensuring the tool engagement into the material is consistent. The tool follows a smooth path to avoid sharp changes in direction which maintains the machine tool’s velocity.
While a concentric pattern looks much simpler at first glance the problem is the tool ‘digs’ into each corner causing it to overload, leading to reduced tool life or tool breakage. In reality the machine tool operator may have to reduce the cycle feed rate to compensate, increasing the manufacturing time. As Waveform maintains a constant engagement the feed rate can remain at the optimal value throughout the cycle. This will improve the tool life and greatly reduce the risk of tool breakage.
For pocket regions the tool will helical in to depth at the centre and open the pocket up so that it can create a continuous spiral cut until the edge of the pocket is reached. Any remaining corners are then removed.
To maintain the tool engagement and the chip load the tool path is automatically adjusted by the software to compensate. When cutting into a concave area, tool engagement is increased. The cycle adjusts the step over between the passes to compensate and maintain the desired engagement.
When cutting a convex area the opposite effect occurs. As the material falls away the tool path step over is increased to maintain the desired engagement.
Barry Ward, SGS Technical Manager, explained that while Waveform toolpaths could be applied to any SGS high performance cutting tool, there were crucial points to be considered that would help make the ideal tool selection. These include raw material, type and power of the machine tool, rigidity of workholding, tool holding grip and quality, tool protrusion, internal corner radii, chip evacuation and coolant supply.
His presentation encompassed established SGS products, such as the V-Carb and Z-Carb AP as well as more recently developed products. These included Multi-Carb, that has been designed for stability with high feed finishing capabilities and features an increased number of flutes: T-Carb that has been specifically designed for trochoidal toolpaths; and Series 33 end mills that are ideal for aggressive ramping, pocketing and slotting of materials such as stainless steel, titanium and Inconel.
What the guests said:
Triumph Actuation Systems’ facility on the Isle of Man has three Edgecam seats complete with the software’s 5-axis machining module to support its Mazak multi-axis machine tools.
Karl Sharp, NPI Engineer (New Product Introduction), says: “We use Edgecam to support production and we use a lot of SGS solid carbide tools, so it is great to see the two companies working together. The presentations have given us a few ideas, combining the high performance tooling with Waveform techniques.”
The company always re-evaluates its manufacturing operations, and has seen benefits from the application of SGS tools with high efficiency NC toolpaths created in Edgecam. “We have already made savings of around 10 per cent on our longer machining cycle times,” explains Karl Sharp. “We have touched on Waveform’s capability in the past, but never really dived in. Now we have the impetus to reduced cycle times and increase tool life.”
Mike Simmonds has been Senior Production Engineer at Hewland Engineering for the past two and a half years. The motorsport transmission specialist is a long-term Edgecam user and sees the software as being at the core of its business. “We currently have seven seats but customer demand means we are looking to increase to 10, with additional 5-axis machining modules and on-machine probing. “As well as seeing how Edgecam is being developed, events such as this provide us with the opportunity to get out of the rut. We can all become guilty of always doing things the same way, and it was refreshing to come here and see how others are using the software. Engineering is developing constantly; the rate of progress is fast and it provides growing challenges. In the motorsport industry we need to find things that are more productive and we are always looking to progress; looking outside of the envelope wherever we can.”
Wesley Tonks, Edgecam Strategic Partnership Manager, concludes: “Edgecam has been working closely with SGS Tool Europe during the past 18 months, combining CAM and tooling expertise. This has been very evident at this event with the case studies presented highlighting the gains that can be made.”