Thinking Outside the Mold: Mastercam Solutions for Moldmaking Productivity
Mastercam includes numerous prep tools to help moldmakers fix models quickly and cleanly, patch holes, and correct errors in CAD models. These software advancements for moldmaking ensure the mold can be used in production as quickly as possible, by reducing the occurrence of common problems that cause delays.
The primary focus is the moldmaker’s need for productivity that extends throughout the entire process, driving the trends seen in CAD/CAM software development—faster on the machine, faster off the machine, and highest possible quality. Embracing the growing trend of connectivity in manufacturing, Mastercam’s new suite of tools helps software, machines, and shop floor processes to talk to one another. With CAM, the connections to tooling libraries, inspection, shop monitoring, and a variety of other items are all part of making sure shops are ready for the shift to smart, digital manufacturing.
It all begins with CAD. Shops have an increasing need for specialty CAD tools that help to turn a concept or part model into a production mold. This requires design tools for model prep, solid model repair, gap filling, fixture creation, and highly focused needs such as electrodes, core/cavity model separation, and parting line creation. All things that should happen before a tool even touches metal.
As shops continue an aggressive push for reduced cycle times, one of the biggest areas moldmakers look at is the most efficient way to remove bulk material to near-net shape. Advances in “smart” roughing toolpaths continue to drive down machining time dramatically. Of course, the precision and quality of the final mold is what matters most. Shops are wise to examine capabilities of new types of tools, as well as new toolpath motion—all of which must be supported by their CAD/CAM software to yield measurable improvements in production speeds without sacrificing quality.
Taking all of this into consideration, Mastercam is continuously developed to address these issues—advanced CAD tools for moldmakers, revolutionary toolpaths for faster machine time, robust tool libraries, and proprietary techniques for better surface finish—with the end goal of boosting a moldmaker’s productivity. The latest enhancements to the Dynamic Motion® engine that powers many of the toolpaths are part of this evolution. Dynamic Motion constantly changes the amount of engagement of the tool in the cut to ensure it is continually removing material using the optimal chip load for the cutting condition. The resulting time savings in near-net mold roughing can reach 75%.
Finally, Mastercam, introduced an NC programming technique called Accelerated Finishing® that allows shops to benefit from advancements in tool development, such as the new shaped tools, using them in the way they were intended, for vastly improved outcomes. Mastercam engineers work closely with tool manufacturers in developing cut strategies aimed at oval form cutters, barrel mills, taper cutters, lens shaped cutters, and more. When programmed correctly, these cutters can allow a small diameter tool to have a large effective cutting radius which can reduce cycle time, increase surface finish, or both.
What this means overall is that moldmakers can experience an increase in productivity and a decrease in long delays with the latest suite of Mastercam installed in their shops. To add Mastercam to your shop’s toolkit, contact your local Mastercam Reseller for demos, pricing, and more.