A CAD/CAM concept for High Speed Cutting compatible rough machining in die, mould and pattern manufacturing




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


Die, mould and pattern manufacturing plays a central role in the production of capital and consumer goods. Ever-shorter product life cycles and the expanding diversity of features require continued cuts in production lead times. Recently, these developments in the market, accompanied by a simultaneous demand for improved quality at a lower cost, are becoming clearly noticeable. Along with the streamlining of organizational structures and advanced technological developments, it is above all the introduction of CAD/CAM software that offers great potential for reducing lead times for components with free surfaces. The role of milling in the integrated process chain of die, mould and pattern manufacturing is steadily gaining importance. This is due to the ongoing further development of milling-machine technology, the cutting tools and their coatings, and of the CAD /CAM systems themselves. Generally speaking, the milling process is divided into the operations of roughing and finishing. For rough milling, efficient machining means high stock-removal rates together with close contour approximation and low tool wear. Rough milling is normally carried out layer by layer, i.e. in a 2.SD machining operation with constant depth per cut because the rate of material removal and process reliability are usually highest when this method is used. High-speed cutting (HSC), which has been the subject of extensive university research for far more than ten years, has meanwhile become established as a finishing process in many companies. However, the application of HSC demands the observance of geometric and, above all, technological constraints. A considerable degree of optimization can be achieved when these constraints are applied to rough milling. In the integrated process chain, the CAD/CAM system performs the task of calculating NC programs based on CAD data which meet the requirements posed by rough and finish machining operations. While general interest was focused on the development of CAM strategies for HSC finish machining, advanced development of technology-oriented CAM modules for upstream roughing operations was neglected. The paper at hand deals with the development of a CAM module for rough-machining complex components in die, mould and pattern manufacturing. It provides an insight into the process-technological demands made on HSC operations and their application in rough machining, from which guidelines and requirements on technologically oriented NC functions for CAM software were derived. These encompass both the complete development of an interactive, dialogue-based user guidance function and the algorithmic conversion of the calculation routines. The concept at hand was almost entirely implemented and integrated in the CAD/CAM system developed by Tebis AG, Germany, which was conceived especially for die, mould and pattern manufacturing and is scheduled for introduction to the free market starting in April 2001.





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