As Cuffaro and his team were investigating 5-axis equipment in earnest, it became apparent to them that the CAM system running the machine was as important as the machine itself. After kicking the tires on a number of popular CAM systems, Miller CNC purchased the Hermle machining center and a seat of hyperMILL® from OPEN MIND at the same time. Cuffaro relates. “We were taking some really big steps in a really short amount of time, and I wanted to avoid any disruptions that would result in moving backward as opposed to the huge leap forward we wanted.”
Feature recognition played a role in helping Miller CNC tackle an amplifier box aerospace part with 600-plus holes. Where the shop had to pick every hole and program for center drilling, drilling, tapping, hole depth, and inclination, machining specialists at OPEN MIND were able to show Miller’s programmers how to build a macro that would communicate the entire job to the machine tool in a fraction of the time. With feature recognition, existing CAD geometry information is used for CAM programming, and typical and repeating geometries are defined as features. More importantly, programming the job and communicating all the information to the machine tool is now a matter of 20 seconds versus the three hours it previously took.