Listed below are the previous releases of SMIRT, to view what features where introduced in each of the releases click the buttons below.
SMIRT Version 2022.1
Several new enhancements have been made in SMIRT 2022.1. Major new enhancements within SMIRT 2022.1 include:
- Die Flats Finishing (new milling strategy)
- WORKNC workzone browser
- Enhancements to ‘Send to CAM’ function
- Enhanced management of machines in NcUtil
- Support for 3DXML data
- Export to VDF
- Compatibility with Windows operating system
Die Flats Finishing (new milling strategy)
This new strategy for machining planar faces within Advanced 2D Mill pages creates toolpaths that are more efficient than the strategies available in the previous version. Machining time is reduced, especially on faces with complex boundaries and many internal vanes.
The increased efficiency depends on a variety of advantages on previous strategies, that include, but are not limited to:
- A more efficient method to manage the step-over for spiral clearance, results in a reduced overall length of the toolpath
- Automatic orientation of lace direction, optimized for the local aspect ratio
- Option to cut narrow faces with only one central cut
- Different options to automatically simplify the outer boundary
WORKNC workzone browser
With the previous version of SMIRT, the ability to create WORKNC data (workzones) was introduced, if Parasolid data was imported in SMIRT. With version 2022.1 a workzone browser is introduced to allow retrieval of the WORKNC data created from a SMIRT file. The list of the workzones associated with a SMIRT file is available in the browser and a preview of the workpieces is displayed when an item is selected from the list. WORKNC is automatically launched and the selected workzone is loaded upon pressing OK button.
Enhancements to ‘Send to CAM’ function
With this version it is possible assign a WORKNC machining sequence while creating the workzone from SMIRT. This enables a further automation of the process, which leads to standardization and reuse of best practice methodologies.
Send to CAM Multiple DieBuild operations
‘Send to CAM’ has been enhanced to allow creation of a WORKNC workzone from multiple DieBuild operations. Machining axis and views for each operation as well as surface lists will be created and organized so that machining operations in more than one setup can be achieved. With this enhancement, one workzone can be created for a sequence of operations related to the same component or groups of components, for easier creation of toolpath.
Enhanced management of machines in NcUtil
With this version, handling machine definitions, machine head, tables and grid tables are much easier, improving productivity.
It is now possible to import a machine definition with post-processor configuration, a machine head, and a grid table from another database.
In addition, when a new head or grid plate is created, the selection of the related geometry is much simpler. Just import the .smz SMIRT format file, while, previously, it was necessary to browse the associated .sds file included in a temporary folder.
Support for 3DXML data
The 3DXML file format is growing in popularity in a variety of industrial sectors. With SMIRT CadInterface 2022.1, it is possible to read this file format.
Export to VDF
It is now possible export a .vdf file that can be used in DESIGNER or other Hexagon applications, if the Parasolid data has been created while importing CAD data in SMIRT. This allows better interoperability with the Hexagon software ecosystem.
SMIRT 2022.1 is compatible with Windows 11 and Windows 10 – 64-bit version. This version is not compatible with Windows 7 and 8.1.
With each new release, the SMIRT CadInterface is updated to the last versions of the CATIA and NX CAD applications, so users in automotive sector can use SMIRT along with the last versions of these CAD applications. In addition, SMIRT CadInterface is now capable of reading hole features from NX and storing them into SMIRT data.
A variety of other enhancements have been introduced to improve usability and enhance user experience, such as capability to show face tolerance in face ordinate dimensions, improved safety of toolpaths thanks to warnings displayed while trying to post-process paths with collisions, and better handling of drilling holes in SMIRT DieBuild operations.
SMIRT Version 2022.0
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).
SMIRT Version 2021
The 2021 release of SMIRT software from Hexagon features new NC functionality for machining planar surfaces and pockets.
SMIRT NC's long-standing, easy to use drag and drop capabilities are now complemented in the 2021 release by two new automated strategies geared towards high speed cutting of 2D surfaces on stamping die castings. With a simplified set of parameters and intelligent default values, NC users of all skill levels will be able to create consistent, efficient toolpaths with ease.
Milling paths Optimization
Customer requests to get fast, optimized milling paths for large planar faces with ribs and openings have also been fulfilled.
Page Manager Enhancements
Enhancements to the Page Manager have improved toolpath management. These include the ability to create named groups and functions for copying and modifying existing toolpaths, which speeds up the process of creating finish paths that use the same tool set-up as the rough paths.
All these new functions increase the efficiency of SMIRT NC, removing some user-intensive practices from the operator's workflow. The simple user interface, focused to the specific needs of the target market of automotive tool makers, makes the learning curve even faster than before.