Last year at Solid Edge University (SEU2013) I was introduced to CAMWorks from Geometric. What I had always considered a competitive product was now being offered as an add-on to Solid Edge. Being a long time NX CAM user, I was a little surprised that Solid Edge would partner with another CAM package, especially one so closely linked to another CAD package. At my company’s request, I put aside my skepticism and started to find out what I could about this new offering.
The first release of CAMWorks for Solid Edge was limited to 2.5 and 3 Axis Milling and Turning. Since most CAM packages can easily handle this type of manufacturing, I focused on what made CAMWorks unique, and how it worked with Solid Edge. Three distinct factors stood out for me during my initial analysis of the product:
1. CAMWorks for Solid Edge is embedded and fully integrated into Solid Edge.
When you install CAMWorks for Solid Edge, it becomes part of Solid Edge. A CAMWorks ribbon is created, and a CAMWorks edge bar is added to the PathFinder.
This eliminates wasted time and potential errors in loading your Solid Edge model into external CAM packages. Plus you can easily switch back and forth between the CAD and CAM ribbons, to make associative edits or revisions.
2. CAMWorks for Solid Edge utilizes feature-based machining to allow for rapid tool path generation.
CAMWorks for Solid edge utilizes automatic feature recognition and an advanced database to create some truly impressive knowledge based machining. Once setup the basic workflow is as follows:
- Identify the parts for machining
- Extract features to be machined
- Generate the Operation Plan (utilize the database to determine how the features are to be machined)
- Simulate/Verify the toolpath
- Post process to create the G-code
If the database is setup correctly, each process is automatic. I’ve seen situations where you can go from CAD model to G-code in 5 button clicks, if you skip the simulation step.
- 3. CAMWorks for Solid Edge can be customized to meet the individual needs of each company.
The database (TechDB) used in CAMWorks for Solid Edge, can be set up differently for each company and even each user. This allows companies to capture and reuse their best machining practices, saving time and eliminating repetition. It should be noted that you can create operations on the fly and save them to the database, allowing you to continually expand and improve your knowledge base for future machining. The potential exists to reduce programming time from hours to minutes, but it does require some up front effort to realize this kind of result.
Despite these impressive points, I wanted to learn more about future plans for the product. Two weeks ago, I was invited, by Geometric, to attend a training session for VAR’s in Scottsdale, Arizona. I eagerly accepted the invitation, mainly to escape the brutal winter we’ve been having, but it also gave me an opportunity to get answers right from the source.
I was not disappointed; the temperature ranged between a balmy 25-28 degrees Celsius, and the capabilities of CAMWorks exceeded my initial expectations. They have recently added Multi-Axis milling, Mill-Turn, and Wire EDM capabilities and continue to work with Solid Edge to improve the product.
As a combined result of my investigation, and the work of our management team, we will be adding CAMWorks for Solid Edge to our product line. We believe this will complement our existing products, and provide more choice to our customers. We will be adding more information to our website, as it becomes available, and have plans to offer training in the future. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about CAMWorks for Solid Edge, please contact your account manager or contact us directly at [email protected].