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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Optimised Preparation of Manufacturing Information with Multilevel CAM-CNC Coupling


The OPTIMAL project aims to develop a programming tool and a multi-level interface to the CNC that takes advantage of the capabilities and the flexibility of the CNC and machine tools to enhance accuracy and reduce the time for manufacturing, thus contributing to a reduction in costs. This will also be accompanied by a significant reduction of the amount of data produced and processed.

Numerical control (NC) programming systems are limited to the generation of NC programs capable of simple geometries such as lines and circles. For this reason it is often not possible to use the whole functionality of the CNC and the machine tool, especially when manufacturing complex geometries. The ability of current CNC systems to process geometrical data such as lines or curves on surfaces or to transform the workpiece geometry into axis positions is not supported by the programming systems available. Nor is the capability of five-axis machine tools to fully adjust the tool axis direction supported. For these reasons it is not possible at present to optimise the manufacturing process on the machine, to exchange the milling tool, or to alter the chucking position without generating a completely new NC programme in the CAM system. Furthermore, the increased functionality and computing power of current CNCs require complex CAD-CNC interfaces to elicit the full potential of the CNC and the machine tool.

Being of modular design, the OPTIMAL programming tool and the multilevel interface to the CNC will enable the partial transfer of functionality from the programming tool to the CNC. This enhances the flexibility that is already available on the machine side.

The results of the project will be particularly relevant for the automotive, aerospace and consumer goods industries.


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