Taking off with adaptive roughing and complex surface machining

During the Inspiration Through Innovation aerospace event at Seco Tools UK earlier this year, an Airbus A350 fuel connector was produced using Tebis CAD/CAM software on a Hermle C32 U 5-axis machine.

Andrew Walters, application engineering from Tebis UK explains the process of manufacturing the part.

He says: “The complex design of the part matched our 5-axis functionality perfectly such as 5-axis adaptive roughing, port machining and surface machining. This allows the component to be produced in a single rather than multiple set-ups with a high-quality surface finish. Also this allows us to get down into complex forms. As well as improving operational cycles, cutting tool life is also extended through greater efficiencies.”

In most CAM systems it is necessary to create a control surface when programming 5-axis machining operations. Within Tebis CAD/CAM this function is automatic, with the control surface being created in the background by selecting only the surface you wish to machine.

This will give a very accurate creation of vectors for controlling cutting tool and machine head direction. There is no need to switch between CAD and CAM packages which saves time by not having to create the control surface data and also increases consistency and accuracy.

With CAM Automation and CNC Process Standardisation, Tebis replaces traditional, repetitive manual programming steps by automatically accessing stored manufacturing data. The software evaluates the digital CAD part model and accesses structured images of the company’s existing manufacturing environment and standardised manufacturing process data to calculate NC programs. Tebis offers reliable processes and makes quality highly controllable and repeatable.

Furthermore, Tebis completely simulates and checks NC programs against collisions to ensure the highest level of CNC machining safety, different from other CAM packages which are unable to check the connections between toolpaths.

Once the toolpaths are completed, the machine takes over the control and rotates and repositions the tool correctly. Tebis software has full control over the movements between the end and the beginning the next toolpath. These are fully programmed, controlled and fully verified in the Virtual Machining Technology.

Tebis software uses Virtual Technology at three stages of the process: machining planning; programming and verification.

The first stage is the planning process. The machine operator needs to know if a component to be machined will fit on the machine bed. This can be checked along with the optimum set-up position for the tool tilt directions and cutting tool lengths required. If this is not done like other systems, machine limits may be hit and cause machining problems.

For programming, Tebis CAD/CAM uses the Virtual Machine for calculation of toolpaths as it contains full machine information including linear as well as rotary limits. It is possible to see, during programming, if a toolpath angle can be achieved on a 5-axis machine. Tebis will not allow creation of a toolpath which is not achievable in reality.

The last of the three stages is the process of verification, which is the toolpath checking. This prevents any collisions, not only against the cutting tool and a component, but also the whole machine, its limits, shields, barriers, fixtures and any other component set-up on the machine at the same time. If there is a problem, it is easy to modify and recheck during the programming process.