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Sandvik Coromant Announces Metal-Cutting Collaboration With Autodesk Fusion 360

Sandvik Coromant Announces Metal-Cutting Collaboration With Autodesk Fusion 360

Sandvik Coromant has partnered with Autodesk—developers of software for design and manufacturing, which will deliver significant benefits to the future of Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and help customers stay competitive.

The first step of the collaboration will tackle one of the most widespread challenges in CAM; the complex task of specifying cutting tools to determine the most effective way to use them.

“Today’s manufacturing world is increasingly competitive,” explained Jonas Ström, Product Manager at Sandvik Coromant. “Materials are lighter, harder and stronger, machines are more advanced, batch sizes are smaller and component design is increasingly complex — all of this leads to an increased need for CAM programming and skilled CAM users.

“As engineers, CAM users love seeking new technologies and testing solutions, but they are often limited by the time constraints associated with CNC machining. By providing them access to tool information, recommendations and knowledge of unique machining methods at the click of a button, we hope to simplify their process,” concluded Ström.

Typically, CAM users rely on manually transferring data from tooling catalogues and inputting the parameters into CAM software. This process is often laborious and can increase time-to-market expectations.

“Manufacturing and metal cutting are already complex processes, and they’re often made more difficult by manually managing tooling information resulting in delayed setup times and increased room for machining error,” said Srinath Jonnalagadda, Vice President of Business Strategy for Design and Manufacturing at Autodesk. “By pairing our CAM software solutions with Sandvik Coromant’s deep tooling knowledge and expertise, we’re helping customers reduce time and improve efficiency in the preparation phase.”

The Autodesk partnership is part of a long-term vision for Sandvik Coromant. The two companies have similar goals — to help customers stay competitive with new technologies and to provide digital design and manufacturing solutions.

The first step in this new partnership will remove the time-consuming nature of data selection by providing Autodesk customers with access to the Sandvik Coromant tool data.

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Hexagon Enhances Its Smart Manufacturing Solutions Portfolio With Acquisition Of D.P. Technology Corp

Hexagon Enhances Its Smart Manufacturing Solutions Portfolio With Acquisition Of D.P. Technology Corp

Hexagon AB, a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, has announced the signing of an agreement to acquire D.P. Technology Corp. (“D.P. Technology”), a leading developer and supplier of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology. 

The ESPRIT CAM System, its flagship solution, is the smart manufacturing solution for any machining application. Supporting any class of CNC machine via a common interface and workflow, it provides high-performance CNC machine programming, optimisation, and simulation for a broad range of precision manufacturing applications.

Well known for its machine-optimised, edit-free G-code (toolpath), ESPRIT leverages a digital twin simulation platform to model the finished part, tools, and CNC machine. AI-based algorithms eliminate manual data input and provide machine operators with greater assurance of what will happen on the shop floor. The result – simplified programming, increased tool life and utilisation, reduced cycle times and improved productivity. 

“D.P. Technology is an innovator with a strong focus on building smarter, data-driven manufacturing solutions. When combined with our production software portfolio, it cements our market-leading position in CAM, particularly around CNC manufacturing processes, and accelerates the development of our Smart Manufacturing portfolio,” says Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén. 

“Additionally, the D.P. Technology team has built excellent working relationships with leading machine tool providers and other manufacturing technology experts, which will prove invaluable in our open and interoperable manufacturing ecosystem approach.” 

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DP Technology Developed Machine-Optimised ESPRIT CAM Solutions For Willemin-Macodel

DP Technology Developed Machine-Optimised ESPRIT CAM Solutions For Willemin-Macodel

DP Technology engineers have worked with Willemin-Macodel to develop highly optimised support within their ESPRIT CAM software to drastically improve the user experience and programming efficiency for the MT series, including output of machine-optimised, edit-free G-Code.

Willemin-Macodel is a supplier of made-to-measure machining solutions for complex, very high precision workpieces offering high added value in industries like watchmaking, jewelry, medical, aviation and more.

Due to the innovative configuration and complexity of certain millturn machines (508MT, 508MT2 X400, 408MT), programming and simulating using conventional computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software can be a challenge. Without the right software to drive those powerful machines, it is difficult to fully utilise their capabilities and realise their complete benefits.

Some of ESPRIT’s key capabilities for these machines include:

  • Create and sort operations in the required work coordinates
  • Optimise simulation to match the output NC code and actual machine behavior
  • Display various operation information to make programming in ESPRIT easier
  • Provide a simple interface to set global machine settings
  • Offer an easy way to mount vise jaws on the turret
  • Offer a quick solution to mount chuck and collet on the main and sub spindles
  • Allow programming of tailstock engage and disengage cycles
  • Enable programming of vise steady rest engage and disengage cycles
  • Let the user flag a milling operation as a cutoff operation

DP engineers also worked closely with Willemin machine specialists to create a turn-key digital machine package, consisting of post processors and virtual machines for the MT series. This eliminates the time spent on editing the G-code and streamlines the machine setup and first article run off for the end users.

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Flexible Production Capacity

Flexible Production Capacity

With the right tools and state-of-the-art CAM software, toolmakers and mould makers can keep their production capacity flexible, and will be able to ramp it up by up to 85 percent once the economy picks up again. Article by Michael Knauer, Hoffmann Group.

Flexible Production Capacity

Parabolic Performance Cutting (PPC) with a larger effective radius achieves better surfaces in less time.

Toolmakers and mould makers are amongst the companies keeping a firm handle on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many companies are asking themselves how they can weather the storm unscathed as far as possible and adapt their capacity quickly once the market improves. This has placed the spotlight on production methods such as ‘circle-segment milling’, also known as ‘Parabolic Performance Cutting (PPC)’ or ‘barrel milling’.

PPC tools enable the finishing work for a tool mould to be completed up to nine times faster or, alternatively, the surface quality to be improved up to 80-fold. For example, Koller Formenbau GmbH has used PPC milling cutters supplied by the Hoffmann Group to reduce the finish machining time for geometrically defined surfaces from 100 hours to 15 hours. The PPC method is also ideally suited to finish machining work on 3D-printed parts.

Reasonable Expense

On PPC tools, the main cutting edge on the milling cutters is curved. Compared against a classic ball-nosed slot drill where the effective radius is half the tool diameter, PPC tools have a much larger effective radius, up to 1,000 millimetres, thus permitting a significantly larger engagement length on the workpiece. However, their more complex geometry means they place higher demands on the CAM software. The software not only needs to offer the ‘circle-segment milling’ strategy, it must also have a tooling database which holds the exact geometries of the PPC tools. What’s more, since the tools are aligned obliquely to the workpiece, the method can only be employed in conjunction with a 5-axis milling machine. Not all 5 axes need to be in use here. Often, once the tool has been set up, the draft angles can also be finished with 1 to 2 axes clamped. It may also be possible for flat faces and freely accessible surfaces with no interfering contours to be machined on a 3-axis machine. In the past there were only a few software programs that offered the ‘circle-segment milling’ functionality. However, that is no longer the case. Koller Formenbau, for instance, already used a 5-axis machine and the Hypermill software, so they only needed the right tool. At reasonable expense, the company was able to boost productivity by up to 85 percent, thereby increasing its capacity without having to procure a new machine. 

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Hexagon: Time-Saving And Productivity Enhancements In Latest VISI

Hexagon: Time-Saving And Productivity Enhancements In Latest VISI

A raft of new and enhanced functionality features in VISI 2021 – the latest release of Hexagon’s specialist mould and die CAD/CAM software.


CAD analysis benefits from a new function which improves the suite of analysis shading modes. Draft Analysis has been added to the existing Undercut and Accessibility shading, performing an on-the-fly analysis of the draft angle. This uses the same technique as in the undercut mode, but extended to more ranges. The colours and angular value of each range can be changed by simply clicking on the colours or numeric labels on the graphics toolbar.

Repair functions used in the Repair Invalid Faces of Bodies command are now integrated in the Validate command. It is now also possible to zoom in on any potential issues using the Auto Zoom function.

Developments to the CAD Reverse module enhance the Reverse and Casting processes. VISI Product Owner Marco Cattaneo explains that the scanning operation has been improved with the shaded view, giving better and faster feedback.

With Point Scanning, the shaded point cloud is now shown during the scanning operation, giving the operator an immediate view of what has been correctly scanned, and if anything is missing.

An additional option has been added to automatically create a mesh as a scanning result, which he says is particularly valuable when a quicker, rather than detailed, result is needed.

Enhancements to probing during the Reverse process now detect the correct diameter of the part in relation to the position of the probed points. A Circle/Slot probing feature has been added for probing and designing a circle or slot, giving several options to guarantee the probed element is the correct size and in the correct position.

MOULD – Body to Mould

Additional options to existing commands, along with new items of functionality, make part position management considerably easier.

With Body to Mould, there is a new option to select multiple elements, including solids and surfaces, and move the selected bodies to the mould position. During the part positioning, ‘non-uniform scaling values’ can now be defined by the user, and the system automatically sets the relative shrinkage data in a special Assembly Manager field (Bill of Materials).

With Mould to Body, the system allows multiple element to be selected, including solids and surfaces, and to move the complete mould back into Body position. “This will be valuable for operators using CMM to check tools in the body position. When they select the part to move back, they get an option to select multiple elements to go with the tool back to Body position,” says Marco Cattaneo.

PROGRESS – Part Unfolding

To provide a powerful and complete solution to this new unfolding approach, additional features have been included for flanges and non-linear bends.  The Part Definition feature has been improved, giving better and faster part analysis, identifying the different face types, defining material, and setting linear bends unfolding. Different colours can be set, relating to different neutral fibre values, giving quick identification for unfolded linear bends and fibre value.

A new feature manages flange unfolding on the analysed part, and shows the result in preview mode, so the operator can evaluate the result and set different parameters, while preserving the link with the original part. This automatically recalculates the flanged part, meaning all linked parts can then be rebuilt in reference to a modification on the original.

CAM Simulation

An interface with Hexagon’s G-code simulator, NCSIMUL Advanced comes as a cost option in VISI 2021. Marco Cattaneo explains that NCSIMUL manages the complete machining process from the NC program to the machined part.


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Hypertherm Releases Version Update Of CAD/CAM Nesting Software: ProNest 2021

Hypertherm Releases Version Update Of CAD/CAM nesting software: ProNest 2021

Hypertherm has released ProNest 2021, a major version update of its advanced CAD/CAM nesting software for automated cutting. This new release contains new features and enhancements designed to make customers more efficient and profitable. These features include:

  • Redesigned 2D CAD package provides improved font support, ability to shape text, and other new features that are especially popular among sign makers.
  • CAD editor preference users to set a default CAD program for edits to parts in the ProNest part list. Select the embedded ProNest CAD software or choose a third-party software such as AutoCAD.
  • Part report quickly opened from the part list so users can add individual part reports with an image of the part, plus dimensions, size, material, class, process, costing information, and more.
  • Interior bridge cutting to add bridges to text and other interior geometry so that pieces don’t drop when cut. This helps minimise interior cutouts on parts for aesthetic purposes and reduces tip-ups.

“ProNest 2021 builds on the strong foundation of ProNest 2019 to make the programming process more efficient,” said Tom Stillwell, Marketing Project Manager for Hypertherm CAD/CAM software products. “Whether using plasma, waterjet, laser, or oxyfuel cutting, this new version provides the powerful tools fabricators and manufacturers need to increase material savings, boost productivity, lower operating costs, and improve part quality.”

In addition, Hypertherm is releasing upgrades to its ProNest LT software for lighter production environments. Users with an active subscription, and customers with an active maintenance plan can upgrade to the new version of their respective product at no additional charge and continue to receive unlimited technical support, and other benefits.

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Integrated CAM/Postprocessor Module Simplifies Creation Of Part Programs In CNC Cutting Machines

Integrated CAM/Postprocessor Module Simplifies Creation Of Part Programs In CNC Cutting Machines

CNC specialist NUM has launched a new HMI (human-machine interface) software package that features a fully integrated CAM/postprocessor module to further simplify and accelerate the creation of part programs for CNC cutting machines. The software also includes two new real-time analytical functions for water jet cutting applications, designed to improve cutting accuracy and quality.

Many of the world’s leading manufacturers of water jet, laser and plasma beam cutting machines nowadays choose to base their products on NUM’s CNC systems, in no small part due to the inherent functionality and control flexibility of the company’s Flexium+ platform. Launched in 2012, Flexium+ has acquired an enviable reputation amongst machine manufacturers and end users for its control flexibility and ease of use – and NUM continuously enhances the platform to address users’ changing needs and new cutting machine technology.

The latest version of NUM’s software for CNC cutting machines is the result of significant development work. It embodies Industry 4.0 connectivity principles and features an entirely new HMI, known as NUMcut, which incorporates functionality that previously required separate CAD/CAM postprocessor computing resources.

READ: NUM Flexium+ CNC Enables Sheet Metal Laser Cutting System To Achieve Exceptional Accuracy

READ: NUM Launches Active Vibration Control System For CNC Machine Tools

Users generally prepare part programs for CNC cutting applications upstream of the machine in the production area, on some form of CAD/CAM system. A key element of this work involves post-processing the resultant ISO file to incorporate machine-specific cutting data. This is a highly iterative procedure, which can lead to interpretation errors and time-consuming resolution of machining issues.

To shorten the path, NUMcut includes a powerful, machine-resident CAM/postprocessor module. The only data that needs to be transferred to the machine prior to commencing cutting operations concerns the geometry of the part and the desired quality of each cut. This data can be derived from virtually any type of CAD/CAM software, running, for example, on a standard PC.

All other necessary data, such as cutting speeds, abrasive quantity as a function of the material to be cut, etc., are calculated by the control system itself. The CAM/postprocessor module utilises a technology database containing all the relevant information needed by the control system in order to automatically generate an executable part program. The values in the database are preloaded by the machine manufacturer, and can be modified or added to by users if necessary – for example, to accommodate new materials.

The database itself – which effectively contains the expertise of the production company – can either be located on individual cutting machines, or stored on a network drive so that it can be accessed by several machines.

The NUMcut HMI displays all files that are available to the machine operator in a clear, unambiguous style. Using the CNC system’s touch-sensitive screen, the operator can determine each successive machine action simply by clicking and dragging icons from the pool of files into a ‘job list’. Both the job that is currently being processed by the machine, and the current position of the cutting tool within the job, are marked graphically. If required, the operator can change the job list while it is being processed to accommodate different production needs, such as express deliveries.

NUMcut also offers two real-time analytical functions for water jet cutting applications. During water jet cutting, the processing speed needs to be decreased before corners in order to reduce the wake of the cutting jet and thus maintain the cutting quality. Using data from the technology database, NUMcut’s adaptive feed control (AFC) function analyses the path geometry and automatically optimises the cutting speed to best suit the curve radius or corner angle.

Another inherent characteristic of water jet cutting is that the shape of the kerf changes with the cutting conditions, which means that a significant change of gap width can develop, depending on the speed. If this inaccuracy needs to be compensated for, NUMcut offers a variable offset control (VOC) function. This allows the cutting path to be changed automatically, so that the final contour of the part remains true to size despite the changing radius of the cutting jet, thereby maintaining the dimensional accuracy of each cut part.


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Optimised Tool Management Through Integrated Process Chain

Optimised Tool Management Through Integrated Process Chain

From the shrink fit chuck to the presetting device, aerospace supplier Heggemann relies on consistent Haimer quality in tool management. Article by Haimer.

Anyone who concentrates on the development and production of sophisticated metallic lightweight components and subassemblies is a predestined partner of the aerospace and automotive industry. And Heggemann AG is one such company. Since the company was founded in 1962, it has been supplying these two premium industries. But most of the orders come from the aerospace industry, for which Heggemann holds all the important certificates.

“We also undergo annual audits, not only by the German Federal Aviation Administration, but also by major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing, as well as first-tier suppliers such as MTU, Rolls Royce, and so on,” says Dr. Christian Howe, a member of the board at Heggemann. “Our slogan is ‘360°–From Engineering to Production’. Accordingly, we support our customers in all phases of the product development—from conception and development through simulation and engineering, to prototype construction, and the general and functional testing or the production of small series.”

The intelligent NG coil and integrated contact cooling make the Haimer Power Clamp Comfort NG shrinking machines very comfortable to work with help.

Machining at the Highest Quality Level

The highest quality standards apply at all times. This can be seen in production with state-of-the-art CNC milling and turning centres at the company. Ulrich Ahlers, head of machining at Heggemann, explains, “Here we cut a wide range of very demanding materials from titanium, Inconel, stainless steel, and steel, to high-strength aluminium. In most cases, it is the individual parts and small series that have a high demand for precision and quality. Accordingly, not only the machine shop floor, but also the tools and the tool management are of great importance.”

Ahlers and Juergen Ballbach, who is responsible for tool management, have taken on this field in order to optimise it. “Our desire was to achieve the greatest possible consistency in terms of the shrinking, balancing and presetting devices used. We succeeded in doing this together with our partner Haimer,” says Ahlers.

Ballbach has been using two Haimer Power Clamp Comfort NG shrinking machines in order to shrink the required milling tools. “As the name implies, the intelligent NG coil and integrated contact cooling make these devices very comfortable to work with,” says Ballbach.

Balancing System for Tools and Flywheels

Two years ago, Heggemann invested in a Haimer Tool Dynamic Comfort balancing system. Ahlers explains, “We mill here with up to 18,000rpm and use cantilevered tools. If they show an imbalance, this puts a strain on the spindle and noticeably shortens its service life. These are considerable costs that can be avoided by the balancing process on the Tool Dynamic. In addition, finely balanced tools achieve a higher level of precision and surface quality on the component due to reduced vibrations.”

The Heggemann staff wanted to balance not only the tools, but also the special products. These are the elements for flywheels, for which the client orders the balancing including documentation. After consultation with Haimer, the strategy was to install just the large standard software package to define forbidden areas for balancing. The software tool ‘Alternative Balancing Positions’ is also required here. Appropriate holders for the flywheel elements were made by the machining specialists themselves. Ahlers sums up, “We saved the required external service and thus time and money.”

When an outdated tool presetting device was to be replaced, the staff in charge tested, amongst others, Haimer’s Microset VIO linear—a fully automated presetting device.

“Due to our small lot sizes, we have to measure tools every day. That is why we wanted to keep the effort as low as possible,” says Ahlers. “The HAIMER Microset VIO has fully convinced us with all its capabilities. Especially since we now achieve a manufacturer’s consistency for shrinking and balancing, which gives us further advantages.” Amongst other things, he highlights the completed premium maintenance service contract, which covers all Haimer devices, thus minimising effort and costs.

Fully Automatic Tool Presetting

In addition to the fully automatic operation, which ensures simple operation and process-reliable measurement, it was important for the chippers to be connected to the hyperMILL CAM system used in Heggemann. It should be possible to realise a functioning process chain from the CAM to the machine, which looks like this: The programmers create a tool list for each job based on the included tool library, which is then sent to the Microset VIO linear as a measurement job for tool presetting. The operator inserts the respective tool, selects the link to the 3D CAD tool data via the touch screen, and starts the automatic measuring process.

The Haimer Microset VIO linear receives all the required information regarding X and Z dimensions as well as the starting position through the connection to the CAM system hyperMILL. The presetting device then supplies preselected actual values ​​in the complete tool set via post processor and network to the intended machine tool.

“Previously, we used different brands that are usually cheaper to buy, but do not have the same precision nor comparable life. We have found that if the quality is right—and at Haimer, it fits 100 percent—the extra investment will pay off long term,” says Ballbach, who now prefers to use Haimer devices, including Haimer tool holders.

Increasing Cooperation with Haimer

Heggemann and Haimer have been continuing to develop their partnership. When Ballbach spoke with Thorsten Böker, technical sales representative at Haimer, about the difficulty of special processing, he had a proposed solution. It concerned a bifurcated component into which two elongated grooves approximately 100mm apart must be inserted as fits. So far, this task was taken over by an oversized carbide end mill, which had to be ground free by hand to get through the first tab. Heggemann now manages this machining with Haimer Duo-Lock, a modular tool system with solid carbide exchangeable head milling cutters and extensions in various geometries and lengths.

“The switch to this tool has paid off in no time,” says Ahlers. The problem solver was ultimately the extension that Haimer has already delivered unencumbered. It saves the manual grinding of every single tool. All that needs to be changed is the HM tool head, which is considerably less expensive. In addition, the screw head can be changed quickly at the workplace, according to Ballbach.

“Because the Duo-Lock tools can be preselected with a repeat accuracy of 0.01mm due to their special interface, we do not even have to measure them after the change,” says Ballbach. In addition, the overall system runout of less than 5μm ensures best machining results and, according to Ballbach, tool life is three times as long as those of the predecessor tools.

Currently, further Haimer solutions are being tested and discussed at Heggemann. For example, the company is considering using the Haimer Safe-Lock system for heavy machining of demanding materials in the future. Its constructive design combines the frictional clamping forces of the respective clamping process with a form-fitting connection and thus reliably avoids the danger of tool pull out during roughing or power milling.

Focus on Quality

The process and results of the cooperation with Haimer not only satisfy the production staff and those responsible, the Heggemann management also appreciates the quality and reliability of their partner. CEO Christian Howe comments, “Thanks to the high-quality Haimer products, we have succeeded in further improving our production processes. The products perfectly match the requirements of our customers in the aerospace and automotive industries.”



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Hexagon Enhances Post-Processed Simulation, Automation Features In ALPHACAM

Hexagon Enhances Post-Processed Simulation, Automation Features In ALPHACAM

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Production Software business has enhanced the post-processed simulation, automation, and five-axis functionality of its ALPHACAM CAD/CAM software.

The Post-processor engine now directly configures and deploys a simulation session, resulting in more realistic motion, as well as the ability to support cycles such as M6. The Automation suite has been upgraded, improving the user’s experience and productivity when creating and deploying job configurations. Whether setting up a first automation job, or whether the user is involved in complex and dynamic environments, the new setup wizards will make short work of daily production tasks.

Regarding solids machining, specifically machining solid faces directly, ALPHACAM sets a new standard by allowing direct interaction with them. The Rough/Finish command (profiling) now allows the user to directly select and machine a solid face. And if the machine supports tool compensation on custom orientations (planes), this option provides the ability to create precision parts with minimal effort, via the use of G41/G42.

Advanced five-axis functionality also has been updated to include numerous improvements, such as the ability to integrate the Toolpath Optimiser into a core cycle which can then be stored in a machining style and deployed with Automation; and the inclusion of barrel mill and double profile tools. Improvements in SWARF machining, multi-axis roughing and toolpath smoothing are also included.

The geometry offset command is now intelligent and dynamic, making all operations more productive, whether the user wants to simply retain attributes and information on the geometry, or to completely re-assign machining cycle parameters to a newly created offset.

Regarding ordering and productivity tools enhancements, a new feature of ALPHACAM provides a simple, productive and effective way to set a user-defined order in seconds.


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Hexagon Upgrades VISI CAD/CAM Software

Hexagon Upgrades VISI CAD/CAM Software

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence has upgraded its VISI CAD/CAM software, enhancing the mould and progressive die design processes, along with improvements to the Reverse module.

Designed for the mould and die market, VISI 2020.0 features a new unfolding technology, giving users the ability to work directly on the original solid part without needing to extract the model’s skin. The sheet metal part recognition, meanwhile, now provides an improved graphical representation of the part analysed, by identifying bends, planar faces and features.

Enhancements to the Reverse module provide new functionalities for both reverse and casting processes, giving greater flexibility for both processes. Features such as clipping plane management for point scanning, planar face and draft analysis on mesh data, adapting a mesh to a boundary, and best fit, improve the reverse process from point scanning to solid model generation, and manufacturing.

The software’s new Compare feature lets user compare two entities, such as a point cloud, mesh, or solid, by checking the relative distance. The graphical results show different colours in reference to the distance ranges. Also, additional Meusburger Mould Tool templates (FB, FM and FW types) are now incorporated. VISI’s Flow Analysis has been improved by a new mesh group technology specifically designed for FEM analysis.  The flow lines in VISI 2020.0 can now be shown, highlighting possible ‘hesitations’ of the filling from isochrones.

With thermal analysis becoming increasingly more important in optimising mould cooling, the Flow Thermal function has been enhanced by improved coolant flow rate suggestions, giving an indicative value for a single cooling circuit, and an improved solid mesh definition for the mould cavity block, along with each axis, to offer more accurate results.

With the new direct interface between VISI and MSC Software’s Digimat, data showing material local rigidity can be exported into Digimat for the structural FEM analysis process.


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