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.
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.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis and the looming economic recession, the aluminium castings market worldwide will grow by a projected US$32.1 million from 2018 to 2025, driven by a revised compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc.
Die casting, one of the segments analysed and sized in this study, is forecast to grow at over 6.7 percent and reach a market size of US$51.3 million by the end of the analysis period. An unusual period in history, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a series of unprecedented events affecting every industry. The die casting market will be reset to a new normal which, going forward in a post COVID-19 era, will be continuously redefined and redesigned. Staying on top of trends and accurate analysis is paramount now more than ever to manage uncertainty, change and continuously adapt to new and evolving market conditions.
The United States is forecast to readjust to a 4.9 percent CAGR, while within Europe, Germany will add over US$971.8 thousand to the region’s size over the next seven to eight years. In addition, over US$938.1 thousand worth of projected demand in the region will come from the rest of European markets. In Japan, the die casting segment will reach a market size of US$2.4 million by 2025.
Amid the growing push for decoupling and economic distancing, the changing relationship between China and the rest of the world will influence competition and opportunities in the aluminium castings market.
Against this backdrop and the changing geopolitical, business and consumer sentiments, the world’s second largest economy will grow at 10.2 percent over the next couple of years and add approximately US$8.5 million in terms of addressable market opportunity.
As production begins to ramp up in some sectors, mould and die manufacturers turning to automation of design and manufacturing to regain lost revenues.
Swoosh Technologies & Solutions, a certified-Smart Siemens Digital Industries Software business partner, has noticed more interest in mould and die-specific programs that automate tasks in the design and manufacturing of moulds.
“By automating some of the more tedious and predictable steps in the production process like creating parting surfaces or feature recognition for CNC programming, manufacturers can step up the speed of production throughput with the workforce they have in place,” notes Dan Wibbenmeyer, Managing Partner at Swoosh Technologies.
“And in an industry like consumer products or automotive, speed of delivery and cost will determine who receives the order.”
A recent survey from the American Mould Builders Association found that most plant operations fared well during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic operating at full capacity, while only two percent had to shut down operations entirely. Those who specialise in the medical device market are seeing the highest production levels with 91 percent of companies reporting they are 90-100 percent staffed and 55 percent looking to add staff.
The Department of Science and Technology – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) is ramping up production of medical face shields to meet the Philippines’ demands for personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the frontline workers battling COVID-19.
Through its Additive Manufacturing Center, DOST-MIRDC was initially producing 50 3D printing face shields a day. To ramp up its production, DOST-MIRDC has fabricated a plastic injection mould at the Die and Mould Solution Center in its Bicutan, Taguig City compound. Using plastic injection technology, it has boosted its production capabilities to 2,500 face shields a day.
Furthermore, DOST-MIRDC has partnered with Omnifab, which fabricated another injection mould, and Megasamsotite Plant in San Pedro, Laguna which serves as another site for mass production—totalling production of another 2,500 face shields daily.
“With the mass production of the medical face shields being done simultaneously in Laguna and in Taguig, we can assure the enhanced protection of our frontliners,” said Engr. Fred P. Liza, Chief of the Materials and Process Research Division, and Project Leader of the DOST-MIRDC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen).
In addition, the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), another DOST R&D institute has 3D printed 100 face shields for Philippine Heat Center.
“As we make change happen through research and development, we find ways in helping out our new heroes facing COVID-19. We shall continue to look for better means to support our frontliners through research and development,” said Rowena Guevara, DOST undersecretary for R&D.
Here’s how to bring out the best of a machine in any machining scenario while efficiently meeting workpiece accuracy requirements. Article by Heidenhain.
The Dynamic Precision package of functions for the TNC controls perfectly combines a high level of accuracy with dynamic motions.
In tool and mould making, dimensional and contour errors need to be so low as to be barely measurable and must certainly never be visible. These requirements are increasingly at odds with demands for higher productivity and lower costs.
Here are some common user questions when it comes to getting the most out of a milling machine, and how Heidenhain’s TNC technology can help solve those issues.
How can I optimally tune my machine to the given machining conditions?
In Cycle 32 Tolerance, the TNC user can precisely tune the machine setup by adapting the contouring deviation T to the task at hand, thus individually specifying the path width that is available to the control. The user can so directly influence the maximum attainable contouring feed rate, and therefore also the machining time, in particular for contour elements with numerous changes in direction—a common characteristic of free-form surfaces.
Some machine tool builders also offer their own cycles based on Cycle 32. These are often designated Cycle 332. In addition to the contouring deviation T that the TNC user enters, these cycles make further modifications to the machine setup that the OEM had programmed for specific machining operations, such as roughing, finishing, or pre-finishing.
The Advanced Dynamic Prediction (ADP) function offers another possibility for optimizing the machining process. It starts with the data quality of the NC program and enables optimized motion control for feed axes in three- and five-axis milling. An insufficient quality of data frequently causes poor motion control, leading to inferior surface quality of the milled workpieces.
With ADP, the TNC control can dynamically calculate the contour in advance and adapt the axis speeds in time for contour transitions using acceleration-limited and jerk-smoothing motion control. As a result, clean surfaces can be milled in short machining times even for contours with highly irregular point distributions in neighbouring tool paths. The strengths of ADP are apparent, for example, in the resulting symmetrical feed behaviour on forward and reverse paths during bidirectional finish milling and in the form of particularly smooth feed-rate curves on parallel milling paths.
KinematicsOpt and 3D-ToolComp make it possible to efficiently create a highly accurate workpiece using the true accuracy of the machine and tool.
How can I take full advantage of a milling machine’s dynamics?
The Dynamic Precision package of functions for the TNC controls is a collection of functions that combine high accuracies with dynamic motions. These functions minimize not only forces that affect the mechanics of a machine tool during operation, but also the resulting deviations at the tool center point.
The Cross Talk Compensation (CTC) function compensates for forces that are introduced by dynamic acceleration processes and that briefly deform parts of the machine, leading to deviations at the tool center point. Regardless of the actual acceleration, CTC makes either more precise production with better surfaces possible, or it significantly reduces the machining times by increasing the jerk.
Active Vibration Damping (AVD) suppresses dominant low-frequency vibrations and permits fast, vibration-free milling. This makes it possible to set high jerk values. Machining times can be reduced without compromising surface quality. In particular, the combination of CTC and AVD helps reconcile the contradictory requirements of accuracy and speed. In practice, this functionality provides greater efficiency during the milling of high-quality, free-form contours.
The Load Adaptive Control (LAC) function continuously determines the current mass for linear axes, or the mass moment of inertia for rotary axes, and adapts the feed-rate control to the values measured at any given time. This improves the dynamic accuracy of the axis for every situation under load, enabling the use of optimized jerk values for the feed axes on the workpiece side. The result is a shorter machining time, since the feed axes reach the desired positions sooner. In addition, LAC compensates for all changed friction values and therefore ensures higher contour accuracy.
Batch Process Manager and StateMonitor from HEIDENHAIN make process monitoring and automation easy.
How can I implement the accuracy requirements of a workpiece efficiently?
Accuracy requirements are becoming ever more stringent, particularly in the realm of 5-axis machining. Complex parts must be manufactured with both precision and reproducible accuracy, including over extended periods of time. During machining, however, machine components are subjected to relatively high temperature fluctuations. The kinematic transformation chain should therefore be adapted correspondingly. The KinematicsOpt software option not only handles the recalibration, but also saves all data regarding modifications to the kinematic configuration.
A triggering 3-D touch probe is used to measure the position of a precise calibration sphere at various rotary axis settings. The result is a report providing the current actual accuracy during tilting. If desired, KinematicsOpt also automatically optimizes the measured axes simultaneously, and requisite modifications to the machine data are also automatically implemented. The user needs no detailed knowledge about the kinematic configuration of the machine and can recalibrate his milling machine in just a few minutes. If the calibration sphere is permanently mounted on the machine table, then this procedure can even be performed as an automated step between the individual machining processes.
Radius cutters whose geometry deviates from the ideal circular shape also negatively affect the machining result, since the contact point of the cutter radius with the workpiece as calculated by the control does not match the value for that of the actual radius.
The 3D-ToolComp option and touch probe Cycle 444 together are a powerful method for three-dimensional tool radius compensation. A compensation table enables the specification of angle-dependent delta values that describe this deviation. The TNC control uses this data to compensate for the radius value defined at the current tool contact point on the workpiece.
For the contact point to be determined with precision, the NC program must be generated with surface-normal blocks (LN blocks) by the CAM system. These surface-normal blocks define the tool position and the contact point on the workpiece, and optionally specify the tool orientation relative to the workpiece surface.
How can I plan and monitor automated production with ease?
If the machine tool provides perfect machining results, then the associated processes should also run in an optimized manner. Intelligently networked systems for job planning, job management, and job monitoring should provide a comprehensive view of job lists, running processes, work progress, and any necessary interventions.
Batch Process Manager organizes pending jobs clearly and in a logical manner. To accomplish this, the user creates a lineup of jobs directly on the Heidenhain control. These might be jobs for the approaching night shift, for an entire day, or for the upcoming weekend. Batch Process Manager checks this job list and provides important information prior to machining, such as when manual interventions will be necessary and how long the machine will be utilized. Batch Process Manager thereby allows for precise planning of the machining sequence and facilitates the smooth execution of pending jobs.
The StateMonitor software gives a fast, real-time overview of the current machine and job statuses for all connected machines. This monitoring software enables machine data acquisition (MDA) and provides information about machine messages. The user thereby maintains an overview of his machine tools and jobs at all times. The user can access StateMonitor from any device featuring an up-to-date web browser, meaning not only PCs, smartphones, and tablets but also, of course, controls from Heidenhain and Extended Workspace.
Many powerful TNC functions of Heidenhain controls offer possible solutions to the key questions that arise between the conflicting demands of a production process that is highly precise and at the same time highly efficient. The user can take advantage of these functions that bring out the best of a machine in any machining scenario while efficiently meeting workpiece accuracy requirements.
Up until now, tool and die processing required large components to be transported to the respective machine. The start-up company Picum MT is presenting its system for the mobile machining of workpieces at this year’s EMO Hannover. A spin-off of the Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Machine Tools (IFW) at Leibniz University Hannover, Picum MT developed the lightweight and compact Picum system that is designed to handle all necessary work, including machining and build-up welding directly on the component itself. Picum is especially useful for revisions, tool adjustments or repairs. In line with the concept “machine to the workpiece” instead of “workpiece to the machine,” the use of large conventional machine tools and time-consuming transport is no longer required.
All Key Machining Processes With One Machine
The extremely compact and lightweight Picum system is based on conventional 5-axis serial kinematics. The machine is mounted on the workpiece and positioned over the machining point. Before processing starts, the system automatically detects the exact position and orientation of the workpiece in relation to the machine and adapts an NC code to the current situation. An innovative quick-change system makes it easy to switch between machining processes, for example from build-up welding to milling.
The axis system is attached using an adaptive framework. This ensures maximum rigidity at low weight. Various compensation methods enable Picum to achieve a level of precisions that meets the highest toolmaking standards. The system can be easily repositioned for machining extremely large surfaces. The software recognises the new situation and automatically transforms the NC code.
The compact Picum system can be transported to the deployment site in a small van, trailer, or airfreight container. Unlike transporting a very large tool or die, users benefit from lower transport costs and save a significant amount of time. Picum MT is marketing a system that combines the accuracy of a machine tool with the flexibility of a robot and the mobility of a drilling machine. Typical applications can be found in industries that manufacture large parts, including aerospace, automotive, energy technology, mechanical and plant engineering, shipbuilding, and process engineering.
There are plenty of potential benefits in making good use of standardisation concepts when sourcing a mould base. Article by Lung Kee Group (LKM).
Injection moulding is one of the key processes in today’s manufacturing industry, enabling manufacturers to achieve economy of scale in production of high-volume plastic or metal parts. The quality of the mould, usually defined by its precision and overall reliability, plays a critical role in determining the success of the final product.
In very simple terms, a mould base is a semi-finished mould. The basic structure of a mould base consists of several drilled or machined mould plates assembled together with mould components. Modern mould makers tend to purchase mould bases from specialist mould base suppliers, in order to reduce overall manufacturing time and the costs associated with machinery and raw material investments. Perhaps most importantly, using a mould base enables the mould maker to focus on the high value-adding portions of the mould manufacturing process, such as design, polishing and final production tests.
Just like many industrial processes, there are plenty of potential benefits in making good use of standardisation concepts when sourcing a mould base. The most obvious one is cost, as standard mould bases can be ordered from catalogue, offering good price transparency. The leading suppliers in Japan, Europe and Asia all have highly engineered production lines to achieve a high level of machining precision on a consistent basis—so, by making use of their standard products, mould makers can also enjoy the economy of scale in terms of competitive pricing. Standardisation also helps mould makers’ internal workflow by speeding up the design process. In fact, many CAD packages contain libraries of common mould base standards.
A good standard mould base has three defining qualities: reliable material, reliable precision, and reliable availability. The importance of raw materials should not be underestimated, as moulds made with poor materials risk plate deformation or even fracture due to metal fatigue. Reliable precision is quite often easier said than done, as the quality from small scale manufacturer tends to highly depend on individual workmanship.
And of course, good quality products mean nothing if one cannot buy them easily. Leading mould base suppliers tend to have superior financial strength to invest in good material procurement capabilities, strong CNC machine portfolio and large inventory, and above all, they tend to have a commitment to high quality.
LKM Discusses Benefits of Standard Mould Bases for Vietnam Manufacturers
Established in 1975, Lung Kee Group (LKM) is one of the leading mould base manufacturers worldwide. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong, with product lines ranging from standard and custom-made mould bases, to precision machining and mould components. LKM is also a distributor of quality tool steel brands such as Japanese Daido, Assab Uddeholm, Arcelormittal, Bao Steel, and its own brand ‘LKM Special Steel’.
For the past 40 years, LKM is instrumental in the growth of the mould making industry in Asia. Through commitments to quality and integrity, and a relentless drive to excellence, LKM has developed from its modest beginning into an industry leading powerhouse in mould base manufacturing. In fact, LKM was the first Hong Kong company to introduce CNC machining centres for mould base manufacturing. LKM’s reputation as an industry leader in the mould base industry was further solidified through its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1993.
At present, LKM manufactures over 55,000 complete sets of mould bases per month. In term of custom-made mould base, the company has world-class machining capacity, powered by a team of engineers and machine operators with over 30 years of combined experience in making complex custom-made mould base for the automotive industry and precision machinery.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Cyrus Lau, assistant manager of Lung Kee Metal Japan Co. Ltd (HCMC Office)—LKM’s Vietnam office—talks about Vietnam’s mould & die industry and what’s driving growth in the market.
Q: How would you describe Vietnam’s mould and die industry?
Cyrus Lau: Vietnam is one of the biggest centres of manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia. Its mould & die market is comprehensive, ranging from sheet metal dies, die casting dies, and forging dies, to jigs, fixtures, gauges, and more. Key factors driving the market include the growing support from Japanese moulding companies. Overall, there is a large number of local manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors operating in Vietnam’s mould and die industry.
Q: How does LKM position itself in the Vietnam mould & die market?
CL: We are a mould base manufacturer and machinery specialist. We don’t think any company in our industry can claim to produce over 100 tonnes of metal chips like we do! But most importantly, our LKM standard is known to be very reliable, and is one of the most popular mould base brand in the world. When customers buy LKM, they know they get good and reliable quality. We have a large number of Japan-made machining centres, and we can cut over 100 tons of steel materials a day. In addition, we work with customers and provide them with materials and processing advice.
Q: How are you helping your customers address their manufacturing challenges?
CL: For Vietnamese mould makers, reliable quality and speed are very important—and the easiest way to improve this is by adopting standardisation in mould bases. This will improve lead time, quality, and make mould designs easier. Of course, standard products also tend to be cost efficient, which is clearly beneficial for mould makers.
With global interest in additive manufacturing technologies on the rise, TRUMPF presents its new 3D printing applications that can drive advances in various industrial sectors.
Additive manufacturing processes enable the creation of unprecedented complex shapes that are both light and stable. With the benefit of digital connectivity, they fit seamlessly into state-of-the-art manufacturing systems in use today. The 3D printer is a key tool for many manufacturing processes ranging from mass customisation to one-off builds. It can print anything from bespoke facial implants to special parts for cars or airplanes. Able to print components in one piece, these systems often spare vendors the effort of multiple manufacturing steps.
“Interest in additive manufacturing technologies remains high because the process’s benefits are proving their merits in more and more practical applications. This applies as much to conventional metalworking companies as it does to future products in the aerospace industry,” said Thomas Fehn, general manager at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.
Three examples of TRUMPF 3D printing in industrial manufacturing:
Personalised Craniomaxillofacial Implants
Russian medical device manufacturer CONMET has been using a TRUMPF 3D printer to produce craniomaxillofacial implants since early 2018. 3D printed implants are ready for insertion, precisely fitted and cleaned, before the procedure begins. This enhances patient safety while cutting costs and speeding up surgery. Furthermore, it can print parts that are sturdy and durable while still cushioning against blows. The implant’s porous structures facilitate the ingrowth of healthy tissue. CONMET has managed to reduce the cost of manufacturing craniomaxillofacial implants by around 40 percent.
A Lightweight Mounting Bracket For Communication Satellites
TRUMPF has been commissioned by the space company Tesat-Spaceroom to produce a 3D-printed mounting structure for Germany’s Heinrich Hertz communications satellite, which will be used to test the space-worthiness of new communication technologies. In collaboration with the company AMendate, TRUMPF engineers succeeded in optimising the geometry of the mounting structure and reducing its weight by 55 percent. This optimised mount is both lighter and more robust. During the launch of the satellite the new mounting structure will withstand the same high forces and will hold its shape better.
“This is just one example of how we can use additive processes in satellite construction to reduce weight and increase payload capacity,” says Matthias Müller, industry manager for aerospace and energy at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.
Easy-To-Make Sewer Cleaning Nozzles
TRUMPF joined forces with USB Düsen and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences to demonstrate the benefits of 3D printing in the fabrication of cleaning nozzles for sewers.
The 3D-printed variant eliminates the need for milling and gluing. The component can be printed without any supporting structures, so there is no finishing work to be done afterwards. The software-driven process is far more accurate than manual gluing. Measurements have shown that printing cuts production time by 53 percent. For the first time, this will allow up to 10,000 parts to be manufactured per year. Another benefit is a smoother flowing jet of water. TRUMPF engineers expect the new nozzles to reduce water consumption and boost cleaning performance.
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.