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By introducing the job group as a new structural element in a position between job list and job, Alan Levine of OPEN MIND explains how new CAM software can arrange the machining process based on the sequence of worksteps, geometries, spatial orientation, tool orientation and more, allowing the user to streamline and automate a large number of jobs or programming steps.

Posted: August 10, 2010


hyperMILL from OPEN MIND Technologies USA, Inc. (Wellesley Hills MA) is a powerful CAM software product that enables the realization of complete machining in one system, even for complex geometries, supplying huge advantages for the user. The software enables the programming of 2D, 3D, HSC, 5-axis, and mill-turn strategies using a single interface. There are also special applications for multi-blade machining, single-blade machining, porting of cylinder heads, and tire molds, among others.


The system is equipped with feature and macro technology that hugely simplifies and accelerates NC programming. Macros contain the machining rules for characteristic areas of the corresponding feature, such as thread diameter, sink type and depth, and open or closed pockets. After definition, machining sequences are automatically assigned to the current geometries of the selected feature. The CAM software contains many efficient machining strategies with a corresponding tool optimization. Plus, fully automated collision checking and avoidance, provide the highest process reliability.


This CAM software can be integrated into a wide range of leading CAD systems, specifically Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, Thinkdesign, and hyperCAD®.


Up to now, the machining steps in hyperMILL were structured in jobs and job lists. ?We are now extending this feature by introducing the job group as a new structural element. It assumes a position between job list and job and makes it possible to arrange the machining process based on the sequence of worksteps, geometries, spatial orientation, tool orientation, etc.,” says Hagen Rühlich, technical director of OPEN MIND Technologies AG (Wessling, Germany).


The addition of job groups improves the structure and particularly helps those users who deal with a large number of jobs or programming steps. Some users must handle several hundred different jobs. The additional structural options offer these users a completely new level of transparency and a better overview.


Several improvements in the new software version are aimed at making programming more efficient, even automatic in selected situations. The main focus in this respect is on transformations. They include all operations that move a stored machining sequence, be it a single job, a job group, or an entire job list, to a different position. This means, for instance, generating patterns (linear patterns, circular patterns, user-defined patterns), while also supporting multiple clampings, as well as mirroring, regardless of whether entire components or partial mirroring are involved.


The most important thing is when the reference geometry is changed, the derived machining steps are adjusted automatically. This associativity reduces programming time and increases security. The advantages apply to symmetrical parts or elements of a part, partially symmetrical parts, or left and right parts.


Increased process reliability in Version 2009.1 of the software is the result of a series of measures. These include:

? quick review of the entire part for relevant geometric data, such as minimum radius, planar surfaces, and angles between surfaces
? automatic location of the technologically optimal approach and retract strategy
? a guaranteed offset axially and laterally to the surfaces
? a soft approach

?2D machining now also follows this procedure, making it just as convenient as 3D and 5-axis machining,? stresses Rühlich. NC machining simulation contributes to process reliability. The simulation options in the 2009.1 version have been optimized; in particular, the processing time of the simulation has been considerably reduced. Hagen Rühlich explains: ?The situation on the market is such that the part production times in the factory have been considerably reduced in recent years due to modern machines and operational equipment. Now there is now considerable pressure on NC programming to supply programs more quickly. A faster simulation is a step in this direction.?


These improvements also provide related advantages for the user: a better finish, longer tool life, and greater ease of operation.


In order to further reduce machining times and door-to-door times, a new rapid traverse concept and an intelligent job link have been developed. The new rapid traverse concept ensures infeed movements take the shortest possible route in vertical and lateral directions. Using intelligent job linking, safe movements are generated between two consecutive operations without going to a home position. Furthermore, this feature prevents retraction movements between operations and also ensures a safe approach for undercut machining, which also results in more efficient workspace utilization.


To increase both performance and functionality, there are further improvements:
? Improved deep hole drilling with feedrate reduction for cross-holes
? 3D cutter compensation for Z-level and profile finishing
? 3D rest machining with new functions: Bullnose end mill as reference mill and new strategies for machining ribs
? 2D contour milling: Collision checking of the milling area, with additional finish path
? Automatic approach and retract macros
? Intelligent macros: The machining strategy can be associatively dependent on geometry or programming parameter values
? Playback milling: This enhances 2D machining. The aim of this is to create the simplest 2D applications, for example, for the face milling of clamping surfaces. This allows the user to work very fast, for example, by guiding the tool with the mouse, thereby generating the paths.


Thanks to innovations in the software, installation is even easier. In other words, it requires less interaction from the user. And, for the first time, the system has an automatic update function, similar to Windows. Users now have the option to consult the OPEN MIND server as a reference or to set up an internal company reference ? a feature of particular interest to larger customers. Depending on the installation guidelines of the customer, both options are possible. Users always have fast and secure access to the most appropriate and up-to-date hyperMILL version.


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Alan Levine is the managing director of OPEN MIND Technologies USA, Inc., 70 Walnut Street, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481, 781-239-8095, Fax: 270-912-5822,

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