July 14, 2008
DP Technology: “Change Before You Have To”
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Control production (multi-turret or multi-spindle) turning with ESPRIT’s program synchronization, dynamic simulation, and accurate collision detection. Work simultaneously on the front and/or back of the work piece with one, two or more cutting tools. ESPRIT unlocks the potential of a turning center, cycle times are dramatically reduced, and parts are completed in a single set-up. ESPRIT’s comprehensive suite of machining cycles includes all part handling cycles — from initial material bar feeds and stock chucking, through steady rests, and part cut-off and pick-up.

ESPRIT streamlines and standardizes traditional lathe machining, with a minimum investment of time and training. ESPRIT offers contour profile cutting for facing and OD or ID turning, a universal machining cycle driving single-point tools for a wide variety of machining tasks. ESPRIT’s roughing cycle enables work from castings, pre-roughed, irregular-shaped, or bar stock, and has options for controlling every aspect of machine movement — from clearances to differing Z and X stock allowances. For drilling and hole making, choose between ESPRIT’s pre-programmed machining cycles and your machine tool’s canned cycles, or use a combination of both.

ESPRIT provides seven grooving cycles with a variety of optional tool movements, including single plunge, multiple plunge, peck grooving, zigzag grooving, and even contouring with grooving tools. For thread machining, ESPRIT offers multiple threading options, including single or multi-point, with straight or tapered threads, and constant or variable leads. ESPRIT automatically calculates the depth and number of cuts, with a manual override option.

ESPRIT SolidWire for 2 – 5 axis wire EDM

ESPRIT provides a universal electrical discharge machining (EDM) contouring cycle to machine any contoured mold, die, core, cavity, shape or profile for small lots of sub-micron precision parts or as a workhorse for production machining. This versatile machining cycle supports straight or tapered rough and skim cuts while optimizing wire cutting paths. Strategies for all styles of EDM machining such as punch, die, multi-cavity parts, and unattended machining are included. Between cuts ESPRIT automatically handles all the necessary wire-cut and wire-thread instructions, and part-handling functions of the machine: flushing, tank fill, and tank drain.

The complex tapers common to mold components, forming dies, and cutting tools with the advanced conics capability of ESPRIT’s contour cycle can be programmed. When cutting a radius during tapering, built-in advanced conics allows you to alternate between cylindrical constant radius corners and conical constant taper corners. ESPRIT also provides independent programmable upper and lower radius control. While tapering into sharp corners, ESPRIT offers you the flexibility to maintain sharp corners top and bottom or machine a blended radius on the secondary plane.

Parts with extremely complex tapers or completely independent freeform shapes, top and bottom, with ESPRIT’s XY (lower), UV (upper) 4-axis contouring cycle can also be programmed. Select any two three-dimensional profiles and the 4-axis cutting process is automatically synchronized; you can add an unlimited number of additional synchronization lines. ESPRIT adds tabs automatically and creates skim cuts for unattended machining. Get 4-axis programming for any geometric shape with any number of elements: 3D, non-planar, UV and XY profiles, and non-planar fixturing.

Handling slugs efficiently during EDM machining becomes more difficult with decreasing workpiece size. ESPRIT provides a special EDM no-core pocket machining cycle to erode away all the material inside a given cavity without creating a slug. With no-core cutting, a start hole is drilled into the workpiece and ESPRIT recognizes and automatically machines only the slug, preventing wire breakage and minimizing machining time

ESPRIT SolidMillTurn for multitasking mill-turn machining

Today, multitasking machine tools with mill, turn, and drill capabilities are becoming increasingly popular in metalworking. These sophisticated machines allow manufacturers to perform simultaneous milling and turning operations, on the front and back of a part, in a single setup. Mill-turn machines represent an enormous potential for profitability, but possess inherent programming challenges due to their complexity. The right CAM system is a key factor for success in the mill-turn equation.

ESPRIT delivers an approach for solving the issues that arise with programming complex multitasking machines, such a post processor writing and machine definition. Imagine programming your multitasking machine with a complete, pre-configured solution— developed in cooperation with the machine tool builders and tested extensively at the factory level.

ESPRIT provides an integrated programming environment specifically designed for multitasking, multi-function CNC machine tools. ESPRIT supports any combination of independent, synchronized, and synchronous milling and turning utilizing any configuration of A, B, C, X, Y, and Z axes. ESPRIT’s five levels of functionality for 2–5 axis machining fully support your mill-turn needs, including milling with full, simultaneous 3-axis and 5-axis 3D multi-surface solid machining.

ESPRIT’s full 5-axis control lets you easily program the non-perpendicular multi-axis tool movements required to machine the intricate features and compound angles of medical components, complex valves, tool holders, oil drilling tools, etc. ESPRIT provides advanced 5-axis control for its machining cycles including facing, boring, grooving, threading, contouring, pocketing, hole making, and 3D finishing

ESPRIT features five levels of C and Y-axis machining functionality providing support for a full range of multitasking machine tools. Choose from milling contour and profile cutting, pocketing, or a variety of drilling machining cycles. Perform 2 1/2-axis milling operations on your lathe using Z, X, and C, or Z, X, and Y axes. Slotting and cross drilling can be accomplished by “wrapping” pockets, holes, and profiles around a rotary C-axis movement. For off-center, Y-axis milling, ESPRIT provides an extensive set of milling cycles including facing, pocketing, contouring, rest machining, hole making and more. Use these cycles on the C, Y, and B axes to machine features at
compound angles on the part face, ID, or OD.

ESPRIT simulates and synchronizes virtually any combination of mill-turn (2-5 axis) and turning cutting cycles, multiple spindles, multiple turrets — up to 22-axes — in one display. View a combined listing of all your milling and turning operations and their associated cycle times. You can verify how a part is machined eliminating any potential machine crashes along with the ability to move, copy, edit, and synchronize your operations to minimize cycle times

ESPRIT Mold for 3- and 5-axis high-speed milling

ESPRIT Mold is an automated 3-axis and 5-axis CAM system. Utilizing knowledge of in-process stock, remaining material, and integrated simulation and verification ESPRIT Mold delivers programming for a wide variety of 3D machining applications.

ESPRIT Mold automatically manages the in-process stock model, allowing the user to combine milling strategies from 2½–axis to 5-axis for optimized tool paths. With 20 different milling strategies, ESPRIT Mold is a member of the ESPRIT family of CAM software which also includes ESPRIT SolidMill, ESPRIT SolidTurn, ESPRIT SolidMillTurn, and ESPRIT SolidWire.

ESPRIT Mold 3-axis Machining is a tool for producing models, prototypes, injection molds, die casting molds and sheet metal molds.

ESPRIT Mold 3+2 Machining provides optimized machining for improved surface finish utilizing A and B axes to incline the cutting tools. Shorter, more rigid cutting tools and direct machining of undercut areas are possible using this tool.

ESPRIT Mold 5-axis Machining is a set of functions for the latest 4- and 5-axis machine tools. All rapid movements between machining zones, even with different index angles, are automatically generated collision-free with respect to the in-process stock.

KnowlegeBase for leveraging knowlege

Lastly, ESPRIT can provide an extensive KnowledgeBase that lets you leverage your shop’s most important strategic assets — its best machining practices developed over the years — for maximized productivity and competitiveness. ESPRIT’s KnowledgeBase provides a push-button approach for any programmer or operator for determining the best method to machine a given part or feature by automatically selecting the most appropriate machining cycles, cutting tools, and machining parameters. The KnowledgeBase frees CNC programmers from repetitive parts programming, letting them focus on strategic process planning to further improve best practices.

With ESPRIT’s KnowledgeBase, process-specific information is stored securely and is readily available to any operator or programmer. ESPRIT uses the accumulated “knowledge” of a shop’s best practices and preferred methods to automate CNC programming. The multi-user SQL database built into ESPRIT’s KnowledgeBase provides a central repository for accumulating shop-wide machining experiences.

ESPRIT’s Automated Feature Recognition is a KnowledgeBase component providing CNC programmers with a new level of productivity-enhancing speed and accuracy. Automated Feature Recognition subdivides a given part into features like pockets, slots, shoulders, and holes. Each feature has a set of known physical characteristics including height, thickness, draft, volume, and area. This KnowledgeBase component automatically categorizes these features into feature cases based on a shop’s standards, terminology, and each feature’s characteristics.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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