Tag: NC

2010.04.21 02:42:03

As demand for more complex sheetmetal designs increase, the need to have the correct CAD system with the required features becomes ever more critical. Alibre Design Version 12 was released at the same time as Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0. Both of these platforms have the capability to create sheetmetal designs, but which one stacks better in the long term? Which one is easier to use?

Well let us view some critical points in both of these CAD systems and see how they compare:

Feature Design:

Alibre Design Ver12 Stamping in sheetmetal
Alibre Design Version 12 has  few new features such as Contour and lofted flange support.  sheet metal designs can include tapered corners or profile flange with variable radius along its length. These "lofted flanges" are nicely flattened in Alibre (along with the rest of the part) for the initial pattern stamp or cut-out. Also Alibre has a refined and enhanced interface compared to its previous version , however the design process still remains the same with a simple dialogue box with preset options and a limited amount of features which could be added. Any custom features will require importing into the catalog feature and then defined in the design. A bit of a long way about of adding custom designs for companies who require to add new features on the fly.

New lofted flanges for Alibre Design

However, where Alibre Design falls short, PTC Pro/ENGINEER NC Sheetmetal design picks up the pieces. Pro/E NC Sheetmetal provides a rich amount of sheetmetal features such as punching and die casting, creating various "notch/stress" reliefs on the design as well as creating sheetmetal designs for 3D solids. Require to import a custom design or edit the flange walls? No worries PTC allows for quick and efficient design change and importing from various CAD software to the Design process.

Pro/E Sheetmetal Design with Rips and reliefs

Ease of use/Workflow:

Alibre Design is still using a tweaked interface of their previous sheetmetal design CAD System, so the ease of use is still quite simple and easy to use,however the work flow of the Alibre Design is still somewhat staggered still, in the sense that the need to select multiple features and options to do the same task as Pro/E NC sheetmetal will do in one feature, providing all the necessary options to customize the feature to suit the needs of the design. Hence saving time and allowing the user to become more proficient in design more complex sheetmetal designs.

Nesting/Toolpath:

For Alibre Design, nesting function does not exist in their Sheetmetal CAD system, a serious flaw in making sure that the design data doesn't get lost in migrating over to other platforms to do the nesting and tool-path. This also adds in the necessary requirement to get another CAD system to do the nesting as well as the tool-path required for the manufacturing of the design. Pro/E NC Sheetmetal however looks after the nesting process as well as the tool-path creating a seamless integration from designing to manufacturing of the sheetmetal design. Also with a NC sheetmetal comes with a NC player which is design to show a preview of the path in which the tool will cut and the amount of time require for design to be cut from the stock material. A definite advantage in providing ways in saving money as well as time for PTC Pro/ENGINEER NC Sheetmetal.

Summary:

With everything weighed up, PTC Pro/E NC Sheetmetal is a clear winner by far in providing a seamless,feature rich CADCAM software for Sheetmetal design. However it doesn't meant that Alibre Design isn't worth buying. Alibre Design provides the  solution for sheetmetal CAD design system for Users wants an cost effective Sheetmetal CAD system without the bells and whistles attached. But for those who want to be serious about their sheetmetal design, PTC provides a clear- no compromise solution of NC Sheetmetal Addon.

 





2010.03.24 18:07:46

There many easy tips that will save you time and effort in Pro/E Wildfire 5.0.As i was working in Wildfire 5.0 today, i stumbled across some tricks which i found to be quite handy to have in mind the next time you run about in NC Sheetmetal Extension.Here are just three that i found particularly useful.

Tip 1: Use mill windows

Using the Mill window

Still using mill volumes? Mill windows are the fastest to collect geometry for creating volume milling and face milling sequences. In fact, for roughing, re-roughing, corner finishing, and finishing sequences, mill windows are the only way to collect the geometry. Mill windows allow for faster geometry collection, easier referencing for use in other models (via templates) and more robust updates when the underlying part geometry changes. Mill windows are: faster to create, more flexible, faster to regenerate, used in more types of sequences, and can do almost anything that mill volumes can do.

Tip 2: Reuse existing tool paths

There are more ways to reuse existing NC sequences than can be described here, so it will suffice to mention three.

First of all, if you want to quickly reuse one or more NC sequences in the same model, select the NC sequence(s) and pick Edit > Copy then Edit > Paste. You will be prompted for each of the required references (coordinate systems, surfaces, mill windows, etc.) and there you have it, the NC sequence is created and may be redefined if desired.

Second, manufacturing user-defined sequences(MUDF’s) provide a great way to copy manufacturing features into other models. MUDF’s can create any number of features, including datums, manufacturing geometry such as mill windows or turn profiles, and NC sequences. Common applications for MUDF’s include hole-making (especially auto-drilling), pocket roughing and finishing, and lathe programming.

Reuse Existing toolpaths

A third way to capture and reuse NC sequences is by creating templates in the NC Process Manager. This is a very fast and powerful way to create programs very quickly, especially when used in conjunction with the mfg_auto_ref_mfg_template config.pro option.

Tip 3: Use the correct post processor

Ideally, you should be able to create a program in Pro/NC, post process it, and send it straight to the CNC machine without ever needing to manually tweak the codes.

PTC offers around two hundred post processors for free download from our website, but while most of them are in use by someone, somewhere, that does not guarantee that they will provide you with the output that your machines (or your operators!) require. The posts may need some editing, or perhaps you will need a completely new post. To that end, every seat of Pro/NC comes with the ability to create and edit NC post processors.

These three tips will help you to be faster and more proficient with that design or project in Pro/E Widlfire NC sheetmetal!






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