Surfcam Product History

Listed below are the previous releases of Surfcam, to view what features where introduced in each of the releases click the buttons below.

Surfcam Version 2017 R2

Surfcam 2017 R2

There are around 20 items of new and enhanced functionality in Surfcam 2017 R2, from the Vero Software stable, covering turning, milling, simulation, and wire EDM.

New B-Axis Turning Cycle

This new feature in Surfcam 2017 R2 allows greater accessibility when machining complex profiles, by dynamically positioning the insert.

The toolholder is gouge-protected during deployment, and the user can have additional control over the toolpath by deploying over-ride angles. This new cycle can be used with all types of turning tools, and for both roughing and finishing operations.


Measures In Fixture Database

When using the Fixture Database it is now possible to measure fixtures and other workholding devices. It’s essential to be able to accurately measure the exact position and size of the fixture, as well as clarifying its relationship to components, stock and any other workholders.


CadLink Feature Finding

Regarding Feature Finding, information transmitted by CadLink has been enhanced where ‘Limits and Fit’ data is now passed to the Surfcam feature. This support covers CREO, SolidWorks and Inventor files. As well as showing the characteristic of the feature, this information also empowers strategy manager authors to capture and use the data when creating machining routines.


Live Job Reports

The Live Job Reports function was previously run as a windows service. Surfcam 2017 R2 swaps it to a desktop application, improving reliability when altering user profiles.


New Quick Search Function

With so many software tools available in Surfcam it can sometimes be difficult to judge which commands to permanently fix on the interface, but the latest release overcomes this with a new Quick Search function. Less common functionality can be easily located and deployed by simply searching the command library.


Cycle Dialog Updates

The 2017 R2 release continues Surfcam’s evolution of updating cycle dialogs with pictures and context sensitive help. Slot Milling, Project Flow Curves and Project Circular Pattern cycles have all been updated. This feature not only assists regular users to easily interpret infrequently used commands, but it also aids less familiar users to quickly understand fundamental functionality.


Inspection Module

The Inspection Module offers an “unparalleled ease of use and sophisticated probe path generation” for both in-process and end-item part inspection. It provides a robust environment for on-machine probing, supporting a wide array of feature types, path creation and report generation.

Responding to the growing need for offline inspection and probing, Surfcam caters for CAM programmers, and utilizes CAD models. Using a set of easy to use commands, the user creates a set of inspection features which are then converted into a toolpath and simulated. This means the machine code macros are created via Surfcam’s postprocessor.


Machine Simulator

The Machine Simulator benefits from two additional enhancements. The ability to pick the target component while using View Comparison was introduced in the previous release, and has now been enhanced so that users can now opt for ‘All components’…especially useful when working with numerous parts on a multi-loaded fixture.

And secondly, a quicker, more convenient way of rewinding the toolpaths has been introduced when exiting Machine Simulator: rather than use the traditional menu option, users can now simply hold down the ‘Shift’ key.


Roughing And Hole Drill Cycles

Roughing and Hole Drill cycles have been upgraded to be more consistent with existing functionality – namely when roughing to full depth, users no longer need to state a ‘cut increment’ value. In previous releases, it was necessary to provide a figure.

Similar to the Roughing cycle, when set to ‘Use Current Stock’ the 2017 R2 Hole cycle no longer requires a Z Level value -- the system automatically detects the start position for the toolpath.


Wire EDM Enhancements

Finally for Wire EDM users, numerous enhancements have been made to the Machine Configurator. Support for multiple versions of EDM Expert is now available, and a new technology setting has been added, allowing cycles to automatically switch to the appropriate EDM Expert technology page.


ACVision & Excetek Postprocessors

The ACVision and Excetek postprocessors now have more options, giving greater user control.


Tagging functions

The Tagging functions now allow a non-parallel movement when exiting a machining path. This assists with better code output and allows a constant tag width along the entire part.
 

 

Surfcam Version 2017 R1

Surfcam 2017 R1

Surfcam 2017 R1 offers nearly fifty items of new and enhanced functionality covering turning, milling, wire EDM, machine configurations, and user experience. Individually these items each produce time savings, improved performance or enhance the ease of use. Taken together they represent a significant improvement in the overall user experience for our customers

Tombstone Module

The new 2017 release of Surfcam introduces a Tombstone module for assembling pre-existing parts on a defined mounting device such as a Tombstone or dowel plate. A simple dialog window enables users to add pre-machined part files, specifying the positions they are to be mounted on the multi-component work-holding device.  Once they are assembled, Surfcam automatically merges and rationalizes all machining sequences by tool or index position and optimizing the NC output into sub-routines.

This new feature offers huge time savings, as users no longer need to manually carry out the load, insert, merge and rationalize commands.
 

Machine Configuration

Surfcam’s Code Wizard includes two highly significant enhancements in terms of machine tool configurations for lathes. When specifying Turret Type, the code wizard now supports Linear configuration. On this type of turret tools are mounted in a linear fashion, across either the X, Y or Z axis.

Radially and axial mounted tools are also supported, in both single and multiple spindle environments.

Another new feature is a sliding spindle or material, providing support for machines where the tool is static but the material slides in and out of the chuck or collet. These enhancements are made to accommodate the tooling and motion used in Swiss-type machines.
 

Probing

Having supported probing on mills for many years, the latest release of Surfcam introduces the same technology in the turning and mill-turn environment. Renishaw and m & h probing systems are supported, as well as a new Probe category in the Toolstore. Users can choose from a list of seven command cycles, all fully supported in the machine simulator.
 

Wire EDM Improvements

The new release includes three specific enhancements for wire users – transformation, Fanuc technology, and Wireframe Feature Finder. The previous of Surfcam introduced the Transform command, and this latest version evolves the Translate function within that, by adding two further significant time saving Transform commands: Rotate and Mirror, which also supports sub-routine output. And the new software also supports Fanuc a-C600Ia in the Technology tables.

The new Wireframe Feature finder command caters specifically for users working with 2D/3D wireframe CAD data. It removes the need to rely on Linked and Taper Profile commands, making it easier to work with intricate profile shapes.
 

Milling Profiling

Three new pieces of functionality have been added to the Profiling cycle. Cut Increment Stand Off, under the Links tab, gives control of the cutter’s position during passes. The Helical function now has a Supress Helical Clean Up Pass Offset option in the Multiple Passes function determines the order of cuts. The Multiple Passes function now offers Cut By Offset, which allows the user to determine the manner in which the toolpath is distributed.
 

Workflow and Planning Board

Numerous new features have been added to the Workflow and Planning Board automated machining commands, leading to toolpaths being generated faster. Strategies are now applied to both Main and Sub Spindles in the Turning environment, instead of only in Main, meaning the strategies now support the Spindle Set-Up command by transferring the workpiece from the Main to the Sub Spindle. And the introduction of Hole Finish Method in the Options dialog now allows Reaming to be specified as a method of finishing a hole feature by checking the hole’s finish attribute. A new Use Current Tool check-box in the Machine Feature option can force the strategy to use the current turning tool or milling cutter.

Session details have been added to Setup Browser and Rotational Handle on Dynamic CPL Marker within the Turning environment. Within the turning environment users will notice that the CPL Marker looks simpler by just displaying the X and Z markers greatly improving ease of use. The new marker can be used to dynamically rotate, pan and translate the component. The Set-Up window has been split into two distinct panels – Session, which displays environment and material information, and Set-Up dealing with datum and positioning. And when loading multiple parts the Set-Up window will individualize each solid model and automatically add a new CPL datum, meaning each model can be scrutinised individually, and datum altered.
 

Improved Display enhancements

Several background enhancements not only improve picking/highlighting when working with solid files, but show improvements in speed and part file manipulation. These enhancements come about through improvements to Surfcam’s own internal engine, and by upgrading the OpenGL 3.3 technology.
 

CAM Cycle Dialogs

Surfcam 2017 R1 continues to evolve CAM cycle dialogs by adding images and context-sensitive help to more commands focusing on the turning environment. Specific dialogs which have been updated include Thread Turning, Rough Grooving, Finish Groove, Rough Side Groove, Finish Side Groove, Rough Profile and the 5-Axis Tab - "Tool Axis Control" tab. These improvements can be extremely helpful for infrequent users.
 

Various improvements

The Update Fixture command has been enhanced to include optimised Indexing moves. “Previously, users had to pick a safe Index position for the whole sequence. Surfcam 2017 R1 removes this limitation, by automatically checking and correcting all Index Moves against stock and fixtures.”

Additional updates have been made to the Rough Groove cycle…this time to include canned cycle support, through a Canned Cycle check-box.

There is no longer any need to program Rapid To Toolchange and Rapid To Home commands when working with turning and mill-turn machines, as this can now be set as the default.

Users working with multiple components will gain significant benefits from two new features in the Insert Component command. “It’s now possible to insert separate machining sequences – whereas in the past all sequences had to be inserted, which, in certain set-ups, wasn’t necessary.” Also, CPL datum can now be selected from a simple drop-down menu.

 
 
 

Surfcam Version 2016 R2

Surfcam 2016 R2

Surfcam 2016 R2 offers significant time savings while loading solid model part files. During trials, the files loaded around 20 times faster, because less time is taken opening files, due to ‘tessellation.’
 
This latest release of Surfcam breaks the model down into triangles, which are then stored in such a way that they can be read back much faster than before.
 

Fully 64bit & Full Support

The new release is fully 64bit, improving access to memory. In the past, although Surfcam’s machining engine and machine simulator have been 64bit, the overall package was 32bit. This restricted large part files, but now Surfcam is completely 64bit, it has the ability to store larger, and more, solid parts and toolpaths. Also, this speeds up toolpath transfer into 64bit memory.

Full support is provided in a new module, for rotary heads typically found on Trevisan type machine tools, common to the oil and gas industry where very large components require a turning operation provided by the rotating head. The component remains stationary on the rotary table, with the secondary spindle being used to turn profiles and bores.
 

Ramp Cut Strategy - Rough Turn

Following on from Waveform turning, the existing Rough Turn Cycle now features a new Ramp Cut strategy. This method is typically used for turning deep recesses with double-sided turning inserts...and extends tool life as the contact point on the insert is constantly changing, avoiding notching. The new strategy can be used with decreasing cut increments.
 

Enhancements & Machine Configuration

Improvements have been made to machine configuration when simulating lathes with slanting turrets. In the past, simulation showed this type of lathe as having the upper and lower turrets in line, but Surfcam 2016 R2 displays slanting turrets in their true position.” 

Turning, milling and wire EDM functions all benefit from numerous enhancements, including three for turners in the area of grooving. Improvements to the rough grooving cycle have done away with the need to manually add radius compensation, as the cycle now incorporates that functionality.  

The cycle now automatically detects a small radius or chamfer on a groove feature, and removes surplus cuts where applicable. This not only saves cycle time, but also alleviates the need to manually check for wasted cuts. The rough groove cycle also offers a new Intermediate Cuts function for determining the number of extra cuts required to successfully machine across a large chamfer or radius on a groove feature.
 

Surfcam | EWS

Surfcam 2016 R2 continues to evolve its EWS product by importing 3D IGES wireframe files. Once the files have been loaded they can be turned into solid models with existing EWS tools such as Sketch Plane and Ruled Surface.
 

Wire EDM Improvements

Three enhancements are aimed specifically at Wire EDM users. Firstly, new output options for each controller family have been added to the Machine Configuration settings – and the Makmino technology database has been updated to support additional machines and controllers.

Secondly, the Move command now supports rotary axis positioning, meaning users can choose not only a linear value, but also an angular co-ordinate. And thirdly, the Wire Ribbon Interface now has a ‘Translate’ command, giving the ability to globally move either single or multiple CAM instructions. The command works in the same way as that in the mill and turning environments where ‘from’ and ‘to’ group the translated CAM instructions.
 

Mill/turn & Milling Profiling

Improved functionality to both mill/turn and milling profiling include a refined algorithm which generates less code while maintaining accuracy. This is clearly seen when a user picks solid edges or loops from a solid model. The code is now converted to line/arcs if possible, dramatically reducing the amount of NC output.
 

Advanced 5 axis Cycle

The Advanced 5-Axis Cycle benefits from seven new aspects, each one aimed at either offering new toolpath functionality, or improving existing ways of working. Focusing on the ‘Multi blade machining’ module, additional Collision Check options have been added, along with the introduction of a specific fillet finishing option commonly found on impellor components. The Roughing tab now includes the ability to mirror a 5-axis toolpath, which not only creates a mirror image by reflecting it symmetrically, but also alleviates the need to add extra transformation CAM instructions.
 
When using swarf machining in the 5-axis cycle, users will find a new parameter in the Utility tab: Maximum Angle Step For Rotation Axis limits the rotation angle of the machine head, as some machine controls struggle to compensate for large rotation angles.

A new pattern type – Flowline – has been added to the advanced 5-axis cycle. It creates a toolpath aligned to either the U or V direction of the machining surface. “The user can determine the toolpath’s style, choosing either ‘along’ or ‘around.’ As only a single face is required, calculation is extremely fast.” A typical application for Flowline is where a specific surface texture, or grain, is required.
 

Port Machining Enhancements

Port machining is given two enhancements. The cycle now uses Automatic Spine, where, by default, it checks the spine position in relation to the machining surface. If it’s too close, the toolpath is automatically trimmed back. In previous versions the toolpath would not have been created.  Also, an ‘Edge Rolling’ checkbox has been added to the port machining option which extends the toolpath as it enters the port.
 

Improved Display enhancements

A number of new and improved display enhancements give a greater level of control in Surfcam 2016 R2. Machine Display buttons have been added to the Heads Up Display control, for toggling individual elements of a machine tool graphic. A ‘comment field’ has been added to all CAM cycles for outputting general information about a specific cycle, helping programmers communicate more easily. And, based on customer feedback, the new Setup Browser has replaced the Component Setup Window. While retaining all previous functionality, it adds the ability to dock and undock the display. The browser can be displayed on multiple tabs, but can also be hidden, if required.
 

CAM Cycle Dialogs

Surfcam 2016 R2 continues to evolve CAM cycle dialogs by adding images and context-sensitive help to more commands, specifically Plunge Roughing, Project Toolpath, Rest Finishing and Project Boundary Collapse. This new functionality helps users to quickly understand exactly what the function does, reducing their learning curve.
 

Various improvements

Support for Nutated Head on mill turn machines using Fanuc, Siemens and Heidenhain controllers is introduced into Surfcam’s machine tool configurations.

‘Corner control’ is now available when Compensation is set to Geometry. In previous versions of Surfcam, the ability to break the corner was only supported when Compensation was set to Center-Line.

And a further enhancement has removed ‘rollovers,’ which could happen when the cycle was set to Pick Solid Faces. This improvement will be applied automatically when the toolpath is regenerated in Surfcam 2016 R2.  

The new Editable Manual Turn feature means users can now alter a turned profile feature by simply checking an ‘edit’ command.
 
Colour is now taken into account on the Filter Entity Type command. This means users have extra control as they can identify all entities, including a solid feature, by their color.
 
While using any of Surfcam’s probing cycles entities, including linear and circular edges, vertices and circular faces, can now be picked directly from a solid model, and because they are associative to the model, the toolpath automatically updates after a design change.

Surfcam Version 2016 R1

Surfcam 2016 R1

The latest release of Surfcam’s game-changing manufacturing software contains over 30 important new and enhanced items of CAD and CAM functionality for milling, turning, and wire EDM.
 

Pre Plunge Finish Groove Cycle

Turners now benefit from a new time-saving Pre-Finish Plunge option found in the Finishing Grooving cycle in Surfcam 2016 R1. A single plunge cut is generated at the center of a groove feature, and the cycle then continues to finish the feature in the usual way. As this removes most of the material it does away with the need for a Rough Grooving cycle.
 

Ramp Cut Strategy - Rough Turn

Following on from Waveform turning, the existing Rough Turn Cycle now features a new Ramp Cut strategy. This method is typically used for turning deep recesses with double-sided turning inserts...and extends tool life as the contact point on the insert is constantly changing, avoiding notching. The new strategy can be used with decreasing cut increments.
 

Images on Cycle Dialogs

Five more milling CAM cycles have been upgraded to use images and help tooltips. Surfcam’s Product Manager, Simon Mee says: “This helps users to quickly understand the command function and also presents a consistent user interface.” The cycles are Parallel Lace, Pencil Mill, Face Mill, Flat Land Finishing, and Constant Cusp Finishing.
 

Surfcam Workflow Solids | EWS

Enhancements have been made to Surfcam’s 3D modelling software, EWS. A new 2D Offset Tool makes design creation easier. Common shapes and profiles are quickly duplicated and copies by an offset amount, reducing sketching time. More time is saved while creating constraints, as it is no longer necessary to exit the command – the dimension value is now immediately editable. And entities dynamically snap during the sketching phase. Also, an enhanced Arc command now includes a Set Diameter/Radius option, allowing multiple identical circles to be added to a sketch.
 

ACIS Solids | Performance Improvements

Surfcam 2016 R1 sees the completion of memory-handling developments for working with multiple solid models. “Similar to Parasolid, Inventor and Granite files, users will now see noticeable performance improvements when working with ACIS models. This is achieved by only storing a single solid model – when duplicates are required Surfcam creates references to the original geometry. Customers working with tombstone parts or sub-spindle lathes will reap significant benefits from this new functionality.”
 

Operation Upgrades

A number of significant upgrades have been made to the Operations function, which is used in particular by new or infrequent Surfcam programmers as a quick and easy way to develop complex toolpaths. Roughing, profiling, turning, and 4- and 5-axis commands have been enhanced, as well as the addition of a new chamfering operation.
 

Roughing Operation

The roughing operation is now stock-aware, and adopts the Waveform toolpath strategy. In addition, the rough turn operation now supports the B-axis...and the 4- and 5- axis operations can now directly pick on the solid model.
 

Simulator Update Stock Improvements

A function used for both milling and turning operations now saves additional time on the Update Stock command. “Through intelligent coding, the command no longer needs to process the graphical aspects of the machine set-up,” says Simon Mee. “This means the Machine Simulator can focus on pure toolpath. Further performance improvements have been made to the simulator when dealing with large toolpaths such as roughing and 5-axis cycles. The simulator now groups multiple cuts intelligently, to provide an optimum performance benefit.”
 

Feature Finder | Partial Holes

A further enhancement to the Automatic Feature Finding command means users can set a Partial Hole Angle when creating features. The value will control which hole features can be detected, and eventually machined. “This is particularly useful when the overall feature includes a hole or partial radius, and removes the need to manually create a hole feature or arc entity,” says Simon Mee.
 

Machine Tool Configuration improvements

New functionality has been added to the area of machine tool configuration – continuing the evolution of catering for milling machines with turning capabilities, Surfcam 2016 R1 has introduced full support for head-table machines, including support for Siemens, TNC and ISO programming languages.
 

Extended Collision Detection

Building on enhancements from previous releases, Surfcam 2016 R1 now offers extended collision detection and improved NC output for machining holes. Working in unison with the Update Fixture command, the Hole Cycle avoids collisions with fixtures by using clearance and retract values parameters. Simon Mee says this feature is especially beneficial when non-uniform clamps are used. “The cycle’s ‘link’ moves are minimised. As they’re calculated from the local fixture height, this reduces cycle time considerably. “As a result of this, the program output has been improved, as the specific retract value can be used in canned cycles.
 

Wire EDM

Wire EDM users benefit from a new Smart Cycle machining command. This combines 2-axis and 4-axis wire machining into one function, by analysing the input geometry shape. It guarantees that the output code always matches the feature shape, without the user needing to do anything else.

Surfcam 2016 R1 also introduces a ‘Test For Separation / Slug Removal’ function into the wire EDM simulator. “Users can examine if slugs of material can become detached from the main stock body. The simulation test displays all separations, and shows which direction they’ll take. By knowing of any problems at this stage, users can decide whether to change the machining process. This is especially valuable on complex 3D shapes, where it’s not always obvious if separation is possible.”