PMI uses Helix Modeling, one of several Helix products CSC/MICROCADAM offers. Helix Modeling provides tools for designing mechanical parts and assemblies with surface and solid modeling capabilities. A suite of geometric editing tools lets designers create and modify models of parts and assemblies, investigate design alternatives, and produce the documentation and engineering drawings.
Since 90% of PMI's work is with sheet metal, PMI relies on Helix Modeling's sheet metal capabilities. The package includes flat pattern, flat wrap, and inverse flatten or bend operations. Flat pattern capability unfolds the faces of solids or surfaces into a two-dimensional wireframe drawing, taking into consideration the bend allowance due to characteristics of the material.
Starting with a flat pattern, PMI engineers use the unfold feature to unfold parts, and create instructions for cutting, shearing, bending, and working with the sheet metal.
To translate design into computer-aided manufacturing, PMI exercises a customized MICROCADAM ACCESS program that extracts the detail page, in form of an XL file, and outputs the parts geometry into Optimation, PMI's CAM system.
Optimation reads the flat pattern data to automate manufacturing. It feeds data to tool paths to drive numerically controlled machine tools. From the parts geometry, Optimation also performs parts-in-parts nesting for maximum plate utilization.