Evaluation of machining calculation solutions

If some machining simulation software already exists, it should be tested extensively to determine whether it can be adapted for use in the industrial context. Machining is a complex process involving a large number of parameters. It therefore requires a lot of testing. In this context, the company Third Wave Systems has provided Cetim with two software packages, each with different functionalities.

Production Module is a piece of software designed to cut cycle time and reduce forces on the tool. It demonstrated that it was possible, for various materials and machining operations, to save time and lower the forces exerted on the tool.

Advantedge is dedicated to simulating machining. This software was subject to an analysis of turning of TA6V under a range of different conditions. The results revealed some promising tendencies, which it would be helpful to analyse in greater detail, with the aim of improving performance.

Technical and economic context and challenges.

Machining is a complex process, which makes it difficult to obtain good results at the first attempt.

Many parameters have a part to play and can significantly influence the machining operation.

Testing phases allow for adjustments and improvements in productivity, tool lifespan and part quality, but carry a substantial requirement in terms of human resources and equipment.

The current challenge in machining is that of minimising the need for adjustments by replacing some of the tests with software simulating machining operations.

Review of requirements.

There are machining simulation software products available on the market. These need to be evaluated in relation to the industrial context in order to ensure that they are relevant.

As part of the study, the company Third Wave Systems proposed to make the Production Module and Advantedge applications available to CETIM for evaluation.

Results obtained.

Production Module and Advantedge are two software packages offered by Third Wave Systems. They are designed for two different objectives and offer very different functions.

The purpose of Production Module is to reduce forces exerted on the tool and to cut cycle time, in order to increase productivity. In order to do this, it regulates feed rate depending on engagement and therefore load on the tool. It is easy to use, with a graphical interface that makes it simple to analyse results, and suggested optimisation parameters for beginners, which can be modified as needed. For its analysis of machining operations, it uses a very large materials database.

The tests carried out were able to show, for different materials and different machining operations, that Production Module made it possible to save time and/or reduce the forces exerted on the tool.

Advantedge is a finite-element based software designed exclusively for machining simulations. It offers many different operations and is easy to use. However, the level of expertise needed to enter all the data needed for the calculation is higher than for using Production Module. A study of turning of TA6V under various conditions showed up some promising tendencies, but the results need to be improved.

It may be necessary to carry out a more detailed analysis of the data input process and the results. The work as it stands leads to no definite conclusion concerning Advantedge's capacity. However, the presentations made by some cutting tool manufacturers at the user conference show that using Advantedge can facilitate the process of developing new tools.

Use of the results.

To allow manufacturers to make their own use of the functions of these two software packages and to ascertain their relevance for use in their own environments, CETIM can carry out studies similar to this one to cover specific machining operations used by the companies concerned.

The study can also look at any particular problem scenario without affecting use of the software.

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