Latest Edgecam supports one of the fastest 5-axis machining tools

The introduction of a specific 5-axis ‘Tilt’ control strategy, combined with a barrel cutter, is the most significant enhancement in the latest release (2020.0) of Edgecam from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Production Software division.

Brand manager John Buehler says barrel cutters are recognised as one of the fastest tools when performing 5-axis machining, and are now fully supported in the Edgecam Toolstore. As well as ‘side tilt by contact point’ capability, the ‘Advanced 5-axis’ cycle also offers further gouge checking in the ‘swarf’ command, along with extra ‘ink’ control in all strategies.

A number of newly developed and enhanced features in Edgecam 2020.0 provide increased productivity for both milling and turning users, while the recently introduced Edgecam Inspect module includes 13 upgrades.

Firstly, mindful of the need to generate quick tool paths and reduce production costs, Edgecam 2020.0 offers a performance boost when either roughing or profiling a solid model. Essentially, the machining engine will only compute data constrained within the boundary, ignoring the rest of the model. This functionality decreases the cache size, while generating faster tool paths.

Formerly introduced in the ‘Hole’ cycle in the 2018 R1 release, the ‘Deep Hole’ strategy has been enhanced, justifying the creation of its own individual cycle. The original modifiers have been improved, and further control tabs have been added to the cycle, giving greater control over the tool path.

In the ‘Turning’ environment there is a newly devised machining cycle – ‘Thread Profiling’. Reacting to a high frequency of enhancement requests from customers in this area, Edgecam 2020.0 allows users to machine complex form threads such as VAM and Acme. The cycle provides both roughing and finishing strategies, allowing users to specify their own thread forms.

‘Waveform Machining’ has been enhanced with ‘Chip Prevention’ control. Under certain conditions, a tool path can generate a thin island of material (chip) which, as it gets thinner, can cause machining stresses and potentially break the tool.

“We’ve found that to compensate for this risk, users tend to sacrifice productivity by reducing feeds and speeds,” says Buehler. “So we’ve introduced the ‘Chip Prevention’ option, which alters the tool path pattern by machining across the island of material, removing the possibility of machining stresses and allowing users to maintain optimum feeds and speeds.”

Supporting the growing number of machine tools possessing an auxiliary Z (quill) axis, Edgecam 2020.0 introduces a code wizard enhancement, letting users add a secondary working spindle. This addition supports multi-task machines, along with any combination of table/head milling machines. Furthermore, a new ‘Quill’ command offers greater control when controlling the second working axis.

When using the ‘Finish Grooving’ cycle, users can now control the break-edge angle, whereas in previous Edgecam releases, the break angle was set at 45°. A further enhancement in the ‘Finish Turning’ cycle means a stand-off value can now be defined when using ‘Up Cut’ control.

Two tool types – ‘Dovetail’ and ‘Double Angle’ – have been added to the Toolstore. This move does away with the need to create custom graphics, saving time and programming costs. Moreover, the tools work automatically with the ‘Slot’ cycle.

Moving to Edgecam Inspect, the overall interface has been upgraded to adopt the work-flow ribbon toolbar, improving interactivity. Meanwhile, the ‘Probing Options’ menu has been split into two separate dialogues, meaning users can concentrate on ‘output’ and ‘inspect’ preferences individually.

‘Safe Retract’ controls have been added to the inspection cycles, for users to state multiple positions while controlling the probe’s movement. What’s more, the ‘Index’ command now contains the ability for further positional manipulation, where an alternative angle may now be specified in order to view the components on the machine tool.

A newly developed ‘Angle to Line’ feature merges three previous commands into one function, allowing the angle direction to be specified in the data report. Among other enhancements to the Edgecam Inspect module, constructed features have been updated, so that ‘Straightness’ can now be specified while editing the ‘Constructed Line’ feature. And both the ‘Circular’ and ‘Arc’ features can now be converted and re-specified when edited.

Finally, around 50 enhancements have been made to the optional Edgecam Designer module, which is said to bridge the gap between CAD and CAM, focusing on the specific needs of programmers.

For further details contact Stillam CNC Programming Solutions on TEL: 011 663 2600 or visit