Over 80 people from 45 of the UK’s leading advanced manufacturing and technology companies attended CGTech’s latest VUE 2017 (VERICUT Users Exchange) event, held during October 2017, in the impressive Wing facility at the home of motorsport in the UK, Silverstone racing circuit, Northamptonshire. The technical staff from CGTech used the event to provide customers with a feature review of the latest release of VERICUT, Version 8.1, the world’s most advanced independent CNC machine tool simulation and optimisation software, with the recently launched physics-based FORCE module taking centre stage.

All the attendees were welcomed by Rob Lightfoot, CGTech UK’s Sales Manager. He stated: “Within the leading technical industry sectors we see the ever-increasing complexity of components produced by machine tools and processes, that advance at a pace to match the needs of the customers, as an opportunity for VERICUT to support industries’ goals for efficiency and productivity. This latest release of our software ties complex processes together with the ability to monitor and evaluate many potential problems in an efficient and consolidated way, thereby reducing the time spent in the programming and machining cycle.”

Rob Lightfoot then went on to highlight the benefits of CGTech’s FORCE, a software module within VERICUT that uses a physics-based optimisation method to determine the maximum reliable feed rate for a given cutting condition based on four factors. They are force on the cutter, spindle power, maximum chip thickness, and maximum allowable feed rate. It calculates ideal feed rates by analysing tool geometry and parameters, material properties of the stock and cutting tool, detailed cutting tool edge geometry, and of course VERICUT cut-by-cut contact conditions.

Force excels in difficult to machine materials, and especially complex multi-axis cuts such as 5-axis flank milling. Initial users of this technology are already seeing productivity improvements of up to 50 per cent.

The company’s tech team then provided everyone at VUE 2017 with an overview of the changes and improvements offered by VERICUT Version 8.1 which is designed to run on 64-bit Windows on Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers. This latest release is focused on the various tools that can increase NC programmer efficiency, reduce production time, and detect costly errors before going to the shopfloor. For example, VERICUT Tool Manager imports 3D cutting tools from Siemens Teamcenter Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, connecting directly to Teamcenter to reference files, thereby avoiding the need to create external uncontrolled copies of models on a local or network drive. In one step, all 3D cutting tools for a job are imported at once.

The software now also enhances the support available for grinding and dressing operations; users can now simulate dressing where a secondary tool is applied to a grinding wheel to ‘freshen’ the grinding surface, or to change the grinding wheel cutting shape. VERICUT simulates the dynamic compensation needed while the dresser is used, even while the grinder is engaged with the part.

VERICUT’s new Section window makes it easier, and quicker, to see inside a part during simulation. This allows the user to check interference between the workpiece and machine components; it is also possible for the simulation to be continued while sectioned, and zoomed to achieve unobstructed viewing to pinpoint highlighted errors.

In version 8.1, the X-Caliper measuring tool creates a measurement label on the part, with label placement customisable for optimal viewing. Multiple dimensions can be displayed on the part to quickly document key measurements, create set-up diagrams or inspection aids; moreover, images with dimensions are easily referenced in VERICUT reports. Version 8.1 also includes a new Additive module, which simulates both additive and traditional CNC machining capabilities applied in any order.

CGTech’s Managing Director, Tony Shrewsbury, says of the VERICUT FORCE physics- and mathematics-based modelling software designed to optimise machining rates: “FORCE represents the current apex of machining optimisation because the software uses actual data for cutting tool forces and spindle power readings to calculate maximum chip thickness and feed rate. So, it offers a number of technical benefits for machined parts within aerospace, automotive, industrial and other markets that use automated machining.

“With the material properties of the component and the cutting conditions also considered, FORCE determines the optimum speeds for a cutting process and makes the CNC machine cut in the most efficient, fast and reliable way. This provides significant benefits when applied to any precision machining operation where challenging materials, such as titanium, high nickel superalloys such as Hastelloy, Inconel and Waspaloy, duplex and stainless steel, and any work hardening materials, that are typically used in mould & die and aerospace component production.”

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