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An overview of manufacturing and prototyping technologies

CAD, CAM, and rapid prototyping technologies are critical elements in design, engineering, and manufacturing work-flows. CADplace looks at a selection of vendors which provide useful tools & technologies.

Trade shows like the 2014 incarnation of "Industrie" in Paris provide a snapshot of technology to visitors. This year we visited this French event and investigated the latest offers.

CAD/CAM tools are well established in the market, yet the technology innovations in this area continue. Vendors such as Vero Software (Sescoi) just released a new version of their well-known WorkNC product with optimizations in the products kernel. Delcam is another leader in CAM tools and presented new features in PowerMILL Robot which allows the milling robot to adapt dynamically to changes in the placement of the part to be milled. 

 

 

Missler Software with their TopSolid product line has released a faster, more efficient milling process. Spring Technologies demonstrated real-time simulation and monitoring of the milling process. And new players in the market such as GO2cam are taking computer-aided manufacturing into the cloud.

Other companies such as CADENAS, demonstrated products which can dramatically increase the efficiency of your design process and save time and (significant) money through efficient parts-library management. The start-up 1life, provides expertise in optimizing design-to-manufacturing processes which allow companies to increase their business in a profitable way. 

 

 

Stratasys, EOS, and leFabShop present unique products for rapid-prototyping using 3D printing technology. Whereas the company, leFabShop provides MakerBot 3D printers for the desktop of every proto-type engineer,

EOS supplies highend 3D printers to create functional, metal prototypes.  Stratasys is, simply put, the industry leader in 3D printing with solutions covering a wide range of processes allowing their customers to address many processes and industrial needs in rapid-prototyping.

 

CAM Solutions

WorkNC is one of the leading CAM offerings which comes from Vero Software. CADplace spoke with Jean-Louis Humbert about the latest changes for version 23 of WorkNC. In brief, you can get all the news and details in this CADplace special feature on WorkNC and listen to our interview with M. Humbert at Industrie 2014.  Among other features, the Vero team has done a lot of work at the heart of the product. WorkNC version 23 has a highly optimized kernel for more efficient tool-path generation and a faster 3D graphics kernel as well.

Delcam's sales director, Bruno Gubala, discussed the new additions to their flagship PowerMILL product. In particular, he pointed out how Delcam PowerMILL Robot now allows for adaptive manufacturing. Delcam PowerMILL Robot is not only a well-known product allowing robot milling, now it is possible to re-localize the piece and adapt to potentially deformed pieces.

 

 

Missler Software is produces a range of manufacturing related CADCAM and manufacturing management software. TopSolid director, Thierry Abiven, highlights a new feature for Missler Software's CAM product, TopSolidCAM known as VoluMILL. The feature dramatically reduces milling times and extends the life of your tooling by creating tool paths with smooth, flowing motions and eliminating sudden changes in milling direction or abrupt changes in the tooling load.

GO2cam produces several high-end CAM tools for milling, turning, and wire EDM. The Lyon-based company was formed five years ago and has been developing interesting features. The French sales director, Michel Vilas Boas, highlighted a new feature for CADplace. CAM software exists to help an operator program a milling machine for a particular task. The GO2cam product has a feature that allows an operator to create a preliminary program for a complex part and be guided by GO2cam not only for the programming of the machine, but in fact to the selection of the machine which is the best adapted to producing the part. This leads to more efficient use of milling resources and provides a support to the operator to produce parts faster.

 

 

Spring Technologies focuses on software to simulate your machining. NCSIMUL Machine eliminates wasted time and extra costs because it simulates accurately the milling. You can eliminate air cutting, tests with machinable wax, and you can avoid problems with collisions as well as avoid breaking tools.  The company goes further to support the machine operator with tools for real-time simulation of the machining process. A new highlight is called WYSIWYC - a slight change on the more common term. Here it means "What You See Is What You Cut".  The company has created a solution for the shop floor that integrates the the real-time simulation and machining status with online documentation and a durable mobile device. The benefits? The solution keeps machines running and if a problem arises, allows for a more rapid and efficient response to the problem.

Tebis provides CADCAM systems for the tool, die, and mold manufacturing industries. Their solutions are completely configured turnkey solutions. The company strives to accelerate processes related to engineering and manufacturing. Their software is modular which allows each workstation to be configured to meet the demands of individual team members. Marc Luisetti is the sales director in France and points out that Tebis strives to provide a solid, stable, and reliable solution for NC machining which means reducing issues during manufacturing and eliminating manufacturing down-time.

 

 

Open Mind is a leader in the specialized area of milling turbine parts. These products are in high demand in aerospace and energy applications. The company's flagship product, HyperMILL, is designed to provide customers with greater efficiency and reliability.

 

Managing your business and processes better

CADENAS is well known for their libraries, and hopefully you know them as well for the product PartSolution. Why? Because a company using PartSolution can better manage use their approved parts & can increase re-use of parts.  This capability allows CADENAS customers to work much, much more efficiently. Many CADENAS customers can measure the ROI in a matter of months which means their competitiveness and profitability can be dramatically increased with this solution.

 

1life is a new company but with years of experience. They are able to help customers optimize processes and integrate solutions to aid in the manufacturing process. 1life focuses on helping customers not only grow their business, but to grow their business profitably.

 

CAD CAM solutions for the entire workflow

Abisse is a long-standing partner in manufacturing for many companies. CADplace spoke to Serge Gauthier about the value the company can offer clients. Certainly Abisse are experts in the CAD and PLM tools from Siemens. The company also has the ability to support customers across the design-to-CAD-to-production work flow.

 

 

Solutions offered by Abisse can improve a company's productivity on a daily basis. In terms of conception and CAD design, a company can select Solid Edge or NX depending on their requirements. This expertise extends into mechatronics allowing customers to couple a 3D design with automation and simulation tools to compress the design steps from a sequence of steps to multiple steps in parallel leading to an increase in efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

 

Rapid Prototyping

3D printing solutions for rapid prototyping have been changing the R&D project work-flows. Just a few years ago, prototypes were expensive and not particularly rapid. CADplace had the occasion to discuss prototyping and 3D printing with Stratasys, EOS, and leFabShop.

Stratasys sports a full product line of 3D printers which can address nearly any of today's prototyping requirements. We spoke with Stratasys' manager, Patrick Kieffer, recently about a new product line at Stratasys, the Connex 3. This printer technology allows for multi-material printing which is a strength of the Statasys product line, and it also allows for printing in many different colors. The printer can produce hundreds of different colors and can print over 40 different colored materials in a single prototype. This is a benefit for companies which want to use multiple-color materials to produce prototypes  which more correctly and more accurately reflecting the final product.

 

 

EOS 3D printers use a laser sintering technology to create 3D printed metal parts.  The company was founded in 1989 and has been focused on producing metal parts for rapid prototyping for industrial customers since it's inception. Today, products from EOS meet the challenge of producing metal parts with the high level of quality required in many manufacturing domains, and to print parts of a larger and larger size. Today, the company is printing parts which are 400x400x400mm in size.

 

At Industrie in Paris, we spoke to a third company delivering solutions in 3D printing, leFabShop. The company sells the Makerbot product line which was acquired by Stratasys last year. The technology, Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM, is an efficient and affordable 3D printing technology. The Makerbot products from leFabShop start for less than 2000€ which is a price that can enables every design team to have a 3D printer sitting in the office.

 

The solutions outlined above address important areas for companies active in design, engineering and manufacturing. Increasing the effectiveness of processes will support profitable growth and competitiveness. The investment for many companies has been worth it.