What Machine Simulation Can Do For You – Part 4
Eliminate Costly Programming and Proofing at the Machine
There are still many 5-axis CNC users who program parts at the machine and then single-step through the program to make the first piece or cut a test part using a foam workpiece. Another old school trick is to replace the cutting tool with a pipe cleaner and run the program on a finished part. Then an experienced programmer will spend hours, even days, watching close calls with the pipe cleaner and altering the program to avoid them. This is a tremendous waste of spindle time and programming time.
One user we know of spent an average of ten hours creating programs at the machine and many more single-stepping through the first piece. Today, he uses Mastercam with 5-axis machine simulation. He can create programs and simulate comparable first piece programs in an hour. This gives him nine additional hours for programming, frees up the machine for ten additional hours of machining time, and allows a qualified operator to set up and attend more than one machine on the shop floor.
Grow Unattended Machining Capabilities
As you become more proficient with your machine simulation capabilities, you will automatically develop higher levels of confidence in the toolpaths you create for multiaxis work. Because you will no longer need to “babysit” most of your CNC programs, machinists will be able to spend more time staging work for operations on more than one machine, allowing the work to be performed largely unattended. From there, the next logical step is to go home on nights and weekends while the machines continue to cut parts. Doubling the spindle hours on an existing machine doubles productivity without the capital equipment costs of adding an additional machine.
See the next post in this series for more game-changing machine simulation applications.