Manufacturing: The SOLIDWORKS CAM Product

SOLIDWORKS CAM - Tolerance Based Machining
  • Category:
    • CAMWorks
    • Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
SOLIDWORKS CAM is the new CAM software integrated into every seat and upgrade of SOLIDWORKS 2018.

Powered by CAMWorks, it will let you integrate all your design and manufacturing processes under one system so you can evaluate designs earlier in the process, avoid unexpected costs and delays, and finish products on time. 
CAMWorks say, "It’s intelligent machining through automation.” We say it’s the best CAM software on the market. Here Paul Lester, NT CADCAM’s CAM applications engineer, talks us through everything you need to know about the software that could reduce your programming time by 90 per centi :

How much will SOLIDWORKS CAM cost me? 
There are two versions of SOLIDWORKS CAM. The standard version is available free of charge to customers who are on maintenance. The professional version is chargeable. Contact the team to find out more about which option would suit your set up best and also for pricing options. 

How much will SOLIDWORKS CAM save me?

This is a very difficult question to answer, as engineers tend to deal with facts, not promises. We have seen significant time-savings for users compared to traditional CAM systems. SOLIDWORKS CAM uses something called Automatic Feature Recognition (AFR). This recognises prismatic features from the SOLIDWORKS part or assembly and selects from a predefined database the most appropriate strategy to machine the feature. The best part of this process is if the SOLIDWORKS model changes then the features are regenerated automatically and new tool paths are created, offering even more time-saving efficiencies.

What CAM functionality do you get with SOLIDWORKS 2018?
2.5 Axis milling, AFR, Tolerance Based Machining, standard list of post processors

2.5+2 milling, AFR, Tolerance Based Machining, 2 Axis turning, VoluMill, Assembly Machining, standard list of post processors

What is VoluMill and Tolerance Based Machining?
VoluMill is included with SOLIDWORKS CAM. Professional VoluMill is a science-based tool path combined with really smart engineering. VoluMill delivers smooth flowing tool paths that never exceed your programmed rate of material removal. We can use this tool path to drive the cutter faster, with less stress on machine-tool and cutting-tools. There are no abrupt turns or over engagement any time during your operation, making it a more efficient method for removing bulk material. 

Tolerance Based Machining is included with SOLIDWORKS CAM standard. It was developed to use the power of MBD, or Model Based Definition (PMI data). SOLIDWORKS CAM will look at the dimensions stored on the model and alter the tool paths to allow for tolerance. This saves the CAM programmer having to adjust the model before machining to take into account Symmetrical or Asymmetrical tolerances. Also, surface finish data can be stored with the model and tool paths adjusted to suit. Another benefit of Tolerance Based Machining is the ability to pick a machining strategy based on MBD data. What if you have 100 holes to produce? 40 of them need to be drilled but the remaining 60 holes have to be drilled then reamed to a H7 fit. SOLIDWORKS CAM will automatically recognise the difference and add an extra reaming operation.

How do I begin incorporating SOLIDWORKS CAM into my design process? 

SOLIDWORKS CAM is integrated into SOLIDWORKS 2018. It creates tool paths using the live part or assembly. Then the SOLIDWORKS CAM data is saved with the part or assembly. The same file can be saved away to a PDM system.
SOLIDWORKS CAM is being shipped with a range of post processors for common machines. If your machine does not exist, NT CADCAM has some bespoke options to have one written. Find out more by contacting the team. 

We need Post Processors – can NT CADCAM help? 
NT CADCAM has written more than 400 different post processors for a diverse range of machines. We have been asked to produce posts for various complex mill/turn machines, 5 axis milling machines, lathes and routers. We have posts for Heidenhain, Siemens, Fanuc, HAAS and Mazak to name but a few. NT CADCAM has been a CAMWorks reseller for more than 15 years, so our engineers have vast experience in this industry.

What reaction are you getting from customers?

We always get a very positive reaction. Customers like the ease of use, the integration with SOLIDWORKS, the fact that the tool paths are updated when the model is changed and also that the data is all stored in the same file, which can be saved away to PDM.

What will designers/engineers like about SOLIDWORKS CAM?
Engineers will love Tolerance Based Machining the most. To not have to go through a model and change the diameter of every hole will save hours. Also, with no manual intervention, the user will be reassured they won’t select and drill the wrong holes by mistake.
Designers will like the fact they can send a SOLIDWORKS part or assembly file to the manufacturing team.

In your opinion, what is the single most powerful thing about SOLIDWORKS CAM?
AFR or automatic feature based machining on the live SOLIDWORKS part or assembly.

What if I already have CAMWorks?
You have made a good choice! Existing users will not be affected. All current post processors will work with SOLIDWORKS CAM. The database in the background will still work and existing users can use either SOLIDWORKS CAM or CAMWorks.

Is NT CADCAM running specialist training days on SOLIDWORKS CAM?
Yes, we will be running scheduled courses for new users of SOLIDWORKS CAM and update training for existing users of CAMWorks. CAMWorks training courses are varying lengths:

2.5 Axis Milling: 2 DAYS
2.5 Axis Milling Premium: 1 DAY
3 Axis Milling: 1 DAY
4 Axis Milling: 1 DAY
5 Axis Milling: 1 DAY
Nesting: 1 DAY
Onsite CAMWorks Training:  POA
Cert UPG Post Processor: 1 DAY

For more information about SOLIDWORKS CAM, call NT CADCAM on 0800 018 6957.

i Feature-based machining reduces programming time by as much as 90 per cent compared to CAM software based on traditional profiles and chains.  CAMWorks. 

Ro Pimlott - author


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My role as Content Marketing Executive within NT CADCAM is to manage all digital content across our social media channels, email communications and the website.