Enhancements to Advanced 2D Mill
Advanced 2D Mill has been the great addition to the previous 2021 version of SMIRT. It consists of the implementation of a couple of Hexagon CAM Engine components that allowed to automate some computation of toolpaths that are recurrent for SMIRT users when they machine large castings. This provides considerable amount saving in programming time and enables them to use more efficient machining techniques.
With version 2022.0, we have made this type of toolpaths more usable and created a very efficient workflow so that SMIRT NC users can take full advantage from this feature.
Multi-plane milling pages
In SMIRT NC, planar milling paths have always been created inside “pages” defined for each milling plane, changing the height of the plane or the angle imposed to create a new page. With SMIRT 2022.0, it is possible to create an Advanced 2D Mill page to compute toolpaths on planes with different height and orientation, assuming that they can be reached with the selected head with workpieces in the selected position.
This feature helps to arrange machining jobs in a better manner, reduce machining time, reduce risk of missing milling faces and generally simplifies the management of toolpaths.
Stock pre-set upon face selection
It is now possible to set pocket stock, initial stock and final stock for each face, while creating the Advanced 2D Mill page or editing such values later. Toolpaths will be computed on each face accordingly to the stock parameters set.
The stock, being a property of individual faces, toolpaths with different stocks can be computed altogether in one page, allowing a more efficient workflow.
Automatic filter-out for small internal boundaries
An option is now available to automatically remove internal boundaries with one dimension smaller than a given value while selecting faces to be machined. This speeds-up the definition of milling limits and a default value is provided according to cutter diameter, to produce good results even with no user input.
Quick simplification of boundaries
A method to save some machining time on certain planar surfaces, such as the bottom face of castings of stamping dies, consists of removing unwanted slots from outer boundaries; this will generally lead to a cleaner and shorter toolpath. With this new function, the simplification of boundaries is done with just one mouse click.
The new option of calculating one path per each face, allows spreading the computation burden to the different physical threads of the CPU, increasing the calculation speed. User can set the maximum number of parallel processes up to the number of available threads to get the most form hardware.
Parasolid geometry and Send to CAM
SMIRT geometry is historically made by mesh data. This allows for very good graphic performance and light files, but also determines limitation of scope of application. Now, it is possible to read the exact geometry in Parasolid format, which opens possibilities for new functionalities and opportunities. The displayed entities are still mesh data, to save graphic performance, but the exact geometry is used in the background. With this version, we are offering new functions that take advantage from Parasolid geometry and lead to make SMIRT a possible access point to the design information for complex assemblies. In other words, SMIRT can be used as the hub of technical information for the manufacturing process. If the toolpaths required for a given product can’t be conveniently created inside the SMIRT NC module, SMIRT can now create the machining set-up from the complete assembly, selecting and positioning pieces from the design and then passing data to the chosen CAM.
This opens new door to industrial sectors different from the usual automotive stamping die one, which is the traditional domain of SMIRT. Customers of WORKNC and users of third-party CAM systems can take advantage from the capability of SMIRT in efficiently managing large assemblies and in creating detailed manufacturing plan.
The amazing fixture layout functionality, which was available inside SMIRT NC, is now available in the SMIRT base module and in SMIRT Die-Build operations. With this function it is possible to arrange one or more components from the assembly into a machining setup on a plate.
Parasolid exact geometry is set-up for machining along with the graphic view, ready for toolpath computation.
Send to CAM
With this function, a WORKNC work zone is created with the Parasolid geometry of the solids displayed on the screen. This allows using SMIRT to select the parts to be machined, set them up in machining position as required (fixture layout function can be used), then create the related work zone. WORKNC is then automatically launched with the work zone created.
SMIRT already had in the past the ability to create a WORKNC work zone from the SMIRT NC module, but the geometry exported was the set of tessellated surfaces that made the SMIRT data. This was a limitation that prevented machining large complex parts and created quality issues. Now, the exact geometry is passed to WORKNC which will run the internal tessellation with its own algorithms for a perfect quality and efficiency.
Like send to CAM, it is possible to export to a Parasolid file a group of parts extracted from the SMIRT design assembly and arranged in machining position. Then, the Parasolid file created can be opened with any other CAD CAM system. SMIRT is advantageously used to navigate the assembly and prepare parts for the detailed CAD/CAM activities that follow.
Refreshed user experience and other enhancements
A variety of other enhancements have been introduced with a more modern look and feel inline with the other Hexagon developments. Some obsolete features have been removed too.
New features worth of mention are the availability of more shortcuts, now user configurable, to speed-up recurrent tasks and an improved, more flexible “Page Manager” to better organize toolpaths in SMIRT NC.
Last but not the least, we are keeping SMIRT CadInterface updated to the last versions of CATIA and NX software, which is mandatory to keep automotive customers using SMIRT and encourages them to be on SMA (Software and Maintenance Agreement).