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Software that's 'made to measure'

DN Staff

November 4, 2002

2 Min Read
Software that's 'made to measure'

Software allows users to program precision measurements directly on CAD models for off-line programming. For example, while a coordinate measuring machine on the shop floor is testing dimensional accuracy of the production run of a shaft, the measuring routine for a bearing can be created separately, and loaded at the moment it is ready for inspection.

Mitutoyo's coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) use proprietary software that enters the coordinates of a physical part taken by the CMM to create measuring routines. Called Cadpak-Win, the company's software has the same user interface and similar functionality as the machine software, but lets users create the routines directly from the CAD model. Machine time is optimized, and users can work in a familiar environment when creating routines.

While there are commercial applications available to create measuring routines from CAD models, Mitutoyo decided to co-develop a customized application that would maintain the same user interface, special functions, and routines as its proprietary CMM software. The company chose to work with Open CASCADE, an open-source tool for 3D modeling, for both Cadpak-Win co-development and maintenance. By combining the viewer capabilities of the Open CASCADE development environment and the company proprietary CMM code for the windows and screen layout, Cadpak-Win offers users the same look and feel as Mitutoyo's CMM application.

"The right software partner is crucial to being able to offer superior products," says Ken Edmett, Senior CMM Technical Manager at Mitutoyo. "By co-developing a customized program using Open CASCADE open source code, we have all our special functionality and routines available to the user at the CAD stage. Since users work in a familiar environment, there is a reduced learning curve."

The latest version of Cadpak-Win offers improved performance to accommodate CAD files in excess of 40 Mbytes. Supported CAD formats include Brep, IGES, 3D-DXF, STEP, and an optional Catia V4 direct reader. Mitutoyo has sold more than 200 Cadpak-Win seats, and plans to continue the development of the application with the support of Open CASCADE.

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