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Nesting & Assembly Machining with CAMWorks

Ricky Huynh

By Daniel Lyon

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Machining and Nesting in CAMWorks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aircraft seat assembly ready for nesting and machining

With the markets ebbing and flowing, talks of fiscal cliff deals, and the lessons learned from the past few years, it seems the age old adage of "time is money" has never rung so true. Whether it’s honing your systems and procedures using data management tools, sharpening your modeling skills by taking a class, or optimizing your products using finite element analysis, the focus on productivity and streamlining is apparent in many areas of business. But what happens when the design gets approved and released for production? Productivity has always been a priority of any machine shop; maximizing the use of the stock, minimizing the cycle time and managing waste are just a few examples – but what tools are available to assist?

For maximizing the use of stock material and minimizing waste, there are a variety of nesting packages available. Many are predominantly geared towards the sheet metal market; as such they use a DXF format to adjust the orientation of the flat pattern. Other packages use a block nesting approach for 3D files whereby an imaginary rectangle is fitted to the part as closely as possible resulting in a quick nest but not an optimal solution from a waste perspective.

CAMWorks Nesting is a true-shape nesting program that creates fast and efficient nested layouts of 2D flat patterns and 3D parts. Being the first CAM gold partner for SolidWorks has its advantages also. The program allows you to use either SolidWorks files or imported geometry (such as Parasolid, STEP, IGES etc), in either part or assembly format and works with multi-body parts (a commonly used modelling practice for sheet metal and welded components).

                                                                                                                                                                                  CAMWorks Nest

                                                                                                                                                                                              A fast nest solution showing room for improvement, but still well nested.

Have a tight deadline? You can choose to run a fast nesting process which will quickly create a nest of the parts but may not be the optimal nest. Machining that expensive Inconel? You can also choose to optimize the nest and it will produce an assembly of well nested components so you’re not giving your profits away to the swarf recycler. And for those that are down to the wire but need the best efficiency, you can set a time constraint for optimization.                    

                                                                                                                                                                                Optimization has managed to increase the material utilization by nearly 7%

                                                                                                                                                                                     Optimization has managed to increase the material utilization by nearly 7% 

So you’ve set everything up, ran the nesting, got a great looking nested assembly and just as you’re about to hit the big green button the customer calls saying they need to make a change! It’s usually at 4:59pm and the job’s got to be running. Not to worry! You can either make the changes to the SolidWorks file or update the imported file and rebuild the nest. The nesting will update to accommodate the changes to the file.

Need to machine your parts? Use all the benefits of CAMWorks - a true feature-based, parametric CAM tool, right inside of the nested assembly. The key time-saver here is the automatic feature recognition (AFR). The speed at which it can detect features such as pockets, holes, and bosses, associate machining operations to the features, and generate the toolpath is mind-boggling at times. But one of the greatest assets is the ability to teach it the way you machine your components. That one click button to program your parts isn’t so much a dream – with CAMWorks it can be your reality!

The greatness of CAMWorks is not just about the tools themselves; it’s the support we can offer. Our dedicated support team is second-to-none, and has the can-do attitude it takes to get to the bottom of any question quickly and efficiently so that you can be productive. Hawk Ridge Systems employs a number of engineers with CNC experience, and because of that we will be able to relate and relay this information to ensure that our software and support continues to be the best.

See CAMWorks in action - Watch this video.

If you’d like to find out more information about CAMWorks or request a demonstration, please give us a call at 877.266.4469 in the US or 866-587-6803 in Canada, or email us at info@hawkridgesys.com. You can also check out our Webinar Wednesday schedule for upcoming CAMWorks eDemos!

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