New capabilities and interfaces with CAD formats mark the latest trends in CAM software, as represented by new products from these suppliers:
WorkNC V15 from Sescoi has improved surface context integration and its ability to machine with conical tools. In addition, it can access native file formats for Catia V4 and V5, Unigraphics, Pro/ENGINEER, and others. The new version includes WorkNC-CAD, the company's new CAD application for mold and tooling (www.sescoi.fr).
Missler's TopCAM 2002 offers an integrated production mode for part finishing in a single operation, as well as functions for automatic milling. NCDATA has integrated the tool data management system TDM into the TopCam software.
Surfware has launched SURFCAM 2002, offering 2-axis associativity with the geometry and an advanced Tool Path Smoothing algorithm. The new Advanced Machining Logic Series is a suite of add-on modules, available separately or included in higher levels of SURFCAM (www.surfcam.com).
New from Delcam: AutoCAM, a knowledge-based machining option for PowerMILL. AutoCAM analyzes all surfaces of the CAD model, selects the most appropriate machining method, and automatically generates the toolpaths (www.delcam.com).
NC operators can calculate toolpaths and minimize the need for a simulator with Cimatron QuickNC preview technology. Cutting strategy decisions are made before actual toolpath calculation (www.cimatron.com).
CNC Software's Mastercam Version 9 release improves the following modules: Mill offers enhancements to 3D and Multiaxis functions; Lathe adds new verification tools; Wire combines new wirepaths with new interfaces; Solids let users sew an unlimited number of surfaces and create sheet solids; and Direct allows users to open a model in Mastercam while in an Inventor, Solid Edge, or SolidWorks session (www.mastercam.com).
SPRING Technologies' NCSIMUL 2000 v5.0 includes: turning support in 5 axes plus mill-turn capability; pixel (NCVERIFY) material removal engine for milling; exact cut (NCCUT) and surface (NCMOLD) material engines for Die-Mold makers; automatic detection of potential collision; and of gouging of material remaining on the stock; and dimensional analysis of the machine part (www.spring.fr).
MSC.CATCMM from MSC.Software Corp. is a CATIA-based inspection tool that allows engineers to more efficiently perform those inspections that ensure manufactured parts meet the design requirements set forth by OEMs (www.plm.mscsoftware.com).
Tecnomatix has launched eM-PLC (jointly developed with Siemens) in conjunction with Siemens' STEP 7 Professional, a development environment software tool designed to configure and manage a plant-wide automation system. The combined tools enable engineers from both mechanical design and control departments to work in parallel and share information. In addition, Tecnomatix's new eM-Test Expert v8G tool allows users to import CAD data and automatically create test programs for more than 75 in-circuit test (ICT), flying probe, and AOI test equipment and systems (www.tecnomatix.com).
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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