ALPHACAM 2022 continues its mission to help manufacturers save time and materials, increase accuracy and improve efficiency, with a range of enhancements across the breadth of the product. With improvements to CAD, clamps, automation, machining, nesting, working with solids, and much more, ALPHACAM 2022 sees significant advancements to improve workflows save time and help users go from CAD to machine code even quicker.
With more flexibility when working with arcs and many improvements to the imports for DXF, DWG and SpaceClaim files, getting engineering CAD out to the CNC machine has never been easier than with ALPHACAM 2022.0. ALPHACAM 2022.0 adds layer support for solids, improved DXF and DWG import options, and improved support for leader entities making it easier to work with CAD files. Also, with ALPHACAM 2022.0, when importing SpaceClaim assembly files the original part names from SpaceClaim are retained, making it much easier to identify the parts being worked with.
Further to the clamp inserter improvements from ALPHACAM 2021, support has been added for defining a clamp from multiple solid bodies or even an assembly. A new edit clamps/fixtures button has been added to the clamp inserter project manager page which allows the clamp or fixture to be edited directly on the screen. Pop-up clamps now take material thickness into account when clamps pop up and down. These changes to clamps give even more real-world visualisation capability inside ALPHACAM 2022.0.
ALPHACAM 2022.0 continues to help users automate more and more daily tasks. Several improvements have been made to the Automation Manager such as the ability to automatically assign fittings based on their workplane or work volume. The folder watcher functionality has been expanded to not only manage the watched folder but also move completed jobs and failed jobs to separate folders so their status can be tracked. Also, with ALPHACAM 2022.0 new options have been added to the Automation Manager for assembly handling that allows end-users to add assembly files to jobs, and individual solid bodies are extracted and added to the job as subcomponents for nesting.
Obviously, the heart of ALPHACAM is its machining capability. ALPHACAM 2022.0 sees improvements to its machining capabilities that will help users perform even more complex operations. A new option allows users to define a 2D/3D drive curve/spline that passes through the centre of a part, through axis drive geometry preventing damage to more complex parts. Rough finish now allows geometry order to be maintained, enabling a reduced number of extra rapid distances between toolpaths and, therefore, minimising cycle times.
A new option to combine open-ended faces has been added to the rough finish solid faces with tool side dialog to control how external corners are managed by not combining open-ended faces. When used, any open-ended faces will be treated as a single face and the tool will not follow around onto adjacent faces. This helps avoid excessive tooling depth which can sometimes be caused when adjacent faces are combined.
ALPHACAM 2022.0 includes numerous enhancements to its industry-leading nesting technology, giving more control over how to manage nested parts.
Not all parts in a nest are created equal, and this latest release offers new and enhanced options to control nest settings for specific parts. The new extra part gap feature ensures that proper spacing between specified parts is maintained based on specifications for each part where a gap is required. The new ignore apertures setting allows users to tell the software to ignore any inner full-depth toolpaths for specific parts. ALPHACAM 2022.0 also adds a new force for strict part priority setting, making sure that parts needed urgently can be placed on available sheets in order of their priority.
In addition to greater part-level control, ALPHACAM 2022.0 adds support for nesting vertical blade saw toolpaths. The saw cuts are nested with cuts fully overlapping and cut extensions can even be off the sheet for better material utilisation.
Combined with an enhanced progress bar giving more detailed progress notifications, ALPHACAM 2022.0 represents the most advanced and intuitive nesting technology on the market.
Working with Solids
With solid models becoming more and more prevalent, ALPHACAM 2022.0 continues its improvements to make working with them easier. With ALPHACAM 2022.0 the selection of solid model faces has now been enhanced to highlight the face and its edges to show what will be selected.
ALPHACAM’S automatic feature extraction intelligence has been enhanced to include new method options that include the simplified solid body outlines command, perfect for simpler parts with no internal pockets or for parts with a moulded outside profile that only requires the extremity profile to be used with a profiled tool. When run in conjunction with the contours feature extraction option, both sets of geometries are created in the assigned layers.
Importing solid model CAD files is now easier than ever with this release. Detailed part information can now be extracted and applied as attributes on the solid, including part property sets from Inventor parts and assemblies, and part-level custom data from Solidworks parts and assemblies. DESIGNER users will benefit from VDF file import improvements, including the retention of the layer structure, names, and colours when inserting into an ALPHACAM job.
…And much more
ALPHACAM 2022.0 sees many other features and enhancements to help improve workflows, including improvements to sawing, simulation, API, user interface, queries, reports, advanced 5-axis machining, and drilling cycles.