Siemens Conducts "Technology Days" at DMG in Los Angeles
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Siemens Industry, Inc.
390 Kent Ave.
Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007
Press release date: October 16, 2009
Aerospace and job shop seminars presented to demonstrate CNC and CAM options during recent event
Hosted by its machine tool builder customer, DMG America, at their technical center in the Los Angeles area, the Siemens Drive Technologies - Motion Control Business conducted a "Technology Days" seminar on September 10 and 11 to present new concepts in CNC and CAM for both the aerospace and job shop market sectors. This two-day event attracted numerous local companies and included multiple presentations and hands-on machine demonstrations by the technical training personnel, as well as product managers from Siemens.
Leading the presentations was Daniel Martinez, regional manager for dealer and end user support at Siemens. Daniel shared his extensive experience in hands-on problem solving with the audience and answered many questions from attendees. The first day of the event was geared to the Siemens Sinumerik CNC five-axis functionality in aerospace machining. Topics covered included the unique Siemens transformation orientation (TRAORI) feature, which optimizes the machine cycle time by integrating the tool tip position, the workpiece orientation and the particular machine kinematics, to provide a much smoother, more accurate finish in the overall work envelope. Other topics included the benefits of the compressor function onboard the CNC (COMPCAD), which uses the look-ahead function to read successive program blocks and interpolate them back to their original spline to maximize the machine tool's capabilities in time and motion. In contrast with the conventional CNC and its point-to-point protocol, this approach eliminates the block cycle time barrier in programs with smooth contours, while minimizing the possibility of motion-induced vibrations in the machine.
Additionally, 3D tool radius compensation was discussed at length, as this feature maximizes the effectiveness of the cutting tool orientation to the workpiece, further improving the overall performance and substantially reducing setup time for different tool lengths, since tool adjustments may be made without the need of re-posting the part program. Whether doing face or circumferential milling, this feature sets the contour path and tool center path in the optimum orientation for speed and accuracy. The resulting finish improvements were demonstrated during Daniel's presentation.
Canned cycles and macros were detailed next, with particular emphasis on Cycle 832, where the roughing, semi-finish and finish cycles are no longer treated as specialized subroutines, but rather as "learn as you go" commands that can be called upon in-process. This feature specifically addresses the problem of setting the appropriate values in the control that permit changes in the behavior of the machine to maximize the cycle time of each pass directly from the part program itself. Parameters such as feed-forward, TRAORI and the block to block path behavior are controlled by the programmer to affect a better finished product, as Martinez noted. All this is done while the jerk that results from the changes in the acceleration/deceleration rates on the machine is completely kept under control.
Taking center stage for the balance of the aerospace presentations was a team from Siemens PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) in Cypress, California. Leading the discussion was Detlev Muehl, program manager for CAM-CNC integration, who spoke on the NX CAM support for the Siemens CNC platform functions, using its optimized post-processor suite and how Siemens effectively supports the CNC's core software from the machine's control to the CAM package. By affecting a more representative simulation of axis, junction motion, swivel table, rotary axis and tool path, plus its ability to keep all data and verification within the Virtual NC Kernel (VNCK), NX CAM allows the entire simulation sequence to be maintained true to the original controller. Using an aerospace engine bladed disk (blisk) example that was set up and running on a 5-axis DMG machine at the tech center during the presentation, Muehl walked the audience through the entire process from CAD/CAE to CAM software, the post-processor function and finally the CNC program on the machine tool. He thoroughly detailed the full cycle sequencing on the machine, including all stages of roughing, hub floor finishing, blade finishing, swarfing and point contour cutting, blend finishing, plus leading and trailing edge finishing. Through the advanced and optimized post-processor function of NX CAM, Muehl noted, the machine tool controller and specific machine parameters are incorporated into the full simulation sequence using VNCK. This means a particular program can literally think its way through the specific motions on a machine tool, even among those of the same make and model. This statement caused many in the audience to snap to attention.
Muehl further noted the G-code simulation is verified by the actual machine NC code leads, making the process one of true CNC-driven simulation, wherein all time, motion and tool paths are translated more effectively from the virtual to the physical world on the machine. As it happened, this presenter's machine simulation of the same model and part program was being shown immediately adjacent to the machine running the part, a very impressive scenario for the attendees. Muehl concluded by noting the company now has an entire PLM suite for all aspects of part production, from design through to the shopfloor output.
Following Detlev Muehl was Oliver Sing, product manager for CAM development and feature-based machining at Siemens. He gave the audience a brief introduction to NX 7.5, the company's newest software platform for running through all manufacturing process steps to formulate the ideal tool path. The software can also be used for tool path verification, he noted, expounding on the previous speaker's explanation of how the actual machine tool parameters are taken into consideration and incorporated into the final translation.
On the second day of this Technology Days event, Daniel Martinez gave the job shop group a short overview on the historical development of machine tool controls, leading up to the introduction of the newest compact class machine tool CNC, the SINUMERIK 828D, just unveiled to the world market at EMO.
For the specific challenges of the job shop world, with its fast turnaround demands, small batches, one-offs and other time-driven concerns, Martinez detailed the Siemens CNC software created for this sector. ShopMill and ShopTurn software allow quick and easy on-screen access to all machine settings, program files, program specifics, alarms, offsets, tool and workpiece identifications. With simple menu pages, fewer screens and plain language tags, Martinez explained, these products make the filing of many programs much easier for the busy job shop, plus they allow on-the-fly changes.
A quick search-and-start program screen, with folders for each workpiece directory and sub-routines, a simplified tool data and offsets area, plus easy to recall file names and fewer key strokes, make initiation of a part program very fast, while requiring no extensive knowledge of code. Setting up a new part simply requires some basic entries in the manual/jog mode. Depending on the programming input, the CNC automatically adjusts the work offsets for values entered on similar workpieces, as Martinez demonstrated on-screen, then afterwards on two DMG ECO machines, equipped with ShopMill and ShopTurn.
An automatic tool setter can be integrated into these controls, as well, he indicated, with the tools called up directly from the tool management screen.
Programming of 2-1/2 dimensioned parts requires only three easy steps, Martinez pointed out. Set up the blank, use the interactive displays to input the information on a feature (such as a contour or a pocket), then machine the feature by choosing one of the many machining functions available.
He then conducted a full programming exercise for the audience of job shop attendees. This portion of the day was very engaging for those present. Martinez further demonstrated how the file transfer from Ethernet, USB or a serial port was possible, with data access restricted via multiple security levels.
Following this portion of the day, Stephanie Wagg, account executive for Siemens PLM, gave a presentation on the history of synchronous modeling, detailing "The Ring" of CAD, CAM, FEA and SIM. Her essential message was to inform the job shop attendees on how CAM software can make their work much easier, with the company's downloadable posts for most machine tool models, support kits and tailored packages to meet the needs of any size job shop. These CAM Express packages can be tailored to a shop's budget and implemented, even at the smallest shop, with substantial savings as a result, Wagg observed.
The last speaker was Mark Reif, product manager from the Manufacturing Solutions Group at Siemens PLM. He detailed the post-processor download library, user tutorials available and other services geared to reduce the time to a quality first part, the mantra of all job shops. Since practically all currently used CAD programs are accommodated by Siemens PLM and many machine tool builders now have supplied their performance data to the company, Reif said, a job shop can easily manipulate more customer-supplied CAD files and customize part programs to suit the machines in-house. He finished up with a demonstration of trochoidal cutting that was most intriguing for the audience in attendance.
For more information on this story, please contact:
Siemens Industry, Inc.
Drive Technologies - Motion Control (Machine Tool)
390 Kent Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Attention: John Meyer, Manager, Marketing Communications