Medical technology

Software supplier lends a hand to toolmaker for artificial limb

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Adding machining prowess

The initial 3 + 2 machining was carried out on Delta Tooling’s range of DMGs and Bridgeports, which were programmed with Visi. However, as the complexity of the components grew, it became clear Delta required the flexibility of continuous 5-axis machining. The shop explained that it invested in an AgieCharmilles Mikron UCP 800 Duro and updated its software to the latest 5-axis release of Visi 20. This is said to provide both a better quality finish and allow the company to manufacture the product in a more efficient timescale to reduce the number of set-ups and create cost-effective production runs.

Five-axis machining is said to be perfect for fashioning these products, and the software offers operators a productive solution for preparing the geometry for manufacture and creating the efficient toolpaths required to manage the oft-increasing complexity of the required components.

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Suite stops collisions, too

CAD data is readily imported into Visi in whatever format the customer supplies it, whether it’s a STEP, IGES or Parasolid file. “We carry out various checks on the file to ensure its integrity, before laying it out in a way that can produce the component from the machine tool’s point of view,” Childs said. “Then we’ll assess the part’s machineability.” He noted that this is where Delta Tooling finds the software’s collision control and kinematic simulation valuable. “Having made a major investment in a new 5-axis machine, the last thing we want is to cause a collision.”

No cutting fresh air

Childs said one feature that represents “a huge step forward” for the shop is the dynamic incremental stock (DIS) command. It automatically creates the stock model from the uncut material of the previous toolpath, to be used as reference data for subsequent milling operations. It automatically trims the toolpath to remove unnecessary movements and fresh air cuts. He said, “This allows us to machine rough from one side of the component. When we turn it over we have a new machining cycle that allows us to rough again, but we’re not cutting fresh air. This reduces machine cycle time further.”

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