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 2020.1
Toolpath associativity in the Face Mill cycle, extending the Parallel Lace toolpath, and enhanced Additive undercutting, feature in around 30 updates in the latest release of SURFCAM.
Alongside the new SURFCAM 2020.1, the optional CAD for CAM SURFCAM | Designer module has now replaced Part Modeler. From model design to part repair and modification, SURFCAM | Designer is said to be the ultimate solution for taking geometry through to manufacture.
SURFCAM | Designer
More than 50 enhancements have been made to SURFCAM | Designer – the three main ones being:
- The ability to attach finishing and tolerance information to models and faces with the new Surface Attributes command. SURFCAM reads this information and applies it to the features, so it can be used in strategy decisions, or to set speed and feed rates
- The powerful new Edit Boundary command for modifying the trimming of faces directly on a sheet or solid body, without having to extract any surfaces or edges
- A fresh new look and feel for the Auto-constrained surface command for quickly creating complex surfaces.
SURFCAM 2020.1 enhances the Additive Lace cycle’s ‘Undercut’ function, by allowing the user to set a maximum overhang angle. This is necessary because different materials and processes require different negative material build-up, depending on the target shape. If the undercut angle is too big, it can be compensated for by using the maximum overhang angle, effectively over-ruling the angle on the part.
Additionally, further ‘boundary control’ options have been included, which mimic the same functionality of other milling cycles, allowing for greater material displacement control.
The new release significantly enhances the Chamfering cycle, through five new pieces of functionality, which are similar to those already found in the Profiling cycle. Greater toolpath control is achieved with the new Cut Increment and Z Offset modifiers. Previously, if there were heavy cutting conditions, several Chamfer cycles would have to be created. Now, users simply set a cut increment value, which not only results in multiple toolpath passes, but also increases tool life.
Six ‘corner strategies’ have been added, enabling programmers to choose the type of external corner condition the cycle produces. This is particularly useful when a smoother corner blend is required.
The introduction of ‘Optimize Path and Lace Bandwidth’ modifiers reduces cycle time by determining the order in which the cycle is deployed.
Face Mill Cycle Lead and Stock Enhancements
Toolpath associativity is a vital factor when programming production components, as CAD modifications can take considerable time. SURFCAM 2020.1 removes such delays by making the Face Mill cycle sensitive to the stock model. When either the stock or component solid model are altered, the toolpath automatically adjusts both the X-Y and the Z height of the toolpath.
Secondly, the Lead modifier now helps increase tool life with a ‘Horizontal’ lead type, which ‘rolls’ the cutter into the initial face of the material, reducing cutting forces.
Finish Groove Cycle – Stock Associativity
While the ‘Pre-Finish Plunge’ in previous versions of the software reduced cycle times, this increased the potential for collisions, where the stock was larger than the groove feature. The new release resolves that issue by introducing a ‘Use Current Stock’ function, ensuring the cycle always begins higher than the current stock.
Parallel Lace- Extensions
The toolpath in the Parallel Lace cycle can now be extended. The function is similar to the one in the Profiling cycle, which has been brought in following requests from users. “The extensions follow the direction of the cut, and are applied in the primary direction, ‘stretching’ the toolpath, which guarantees better surface texture, an allows the cycle to cater for over-size stock.
Rough Turn – Time and Cut Enhancement
An enhancement to the existing ‘Swarf’ control command means a specific time period, in minutes, can be set, for the turning insert to be in contact with the material. This will be particularly useful when machining hard material where there’s a requirement to control the wear rate on the insert.
The tool will return to its Retract position once the time period has been reached. SURFCAM will automatically put stop commands into the program, allowing the user to inspect the insert before continuing with the rest of the cut.
The Tombstone Manager has evolved into a particularly powerful tool for production engineers working with multiple batch quantities. This latest release introduces two significant enhancements controlling the deployment of each tool, with two new ‘Priority’ functions.
Firstly, ‘By Tool then by Plane’ rationalizes by tool, followed by reducing indexes. Secondly, ‘By Plane then by Tool’ rationalizes by Plane/Datum before reducing tool changes. And anyone wanting to use part files with multiple machining sequences will see that the general performance of the tombstone software has improved, and that sorting priorities have been enhanced.
Turn Turrets – support for half positions
SURFCAM 2020.1 now fully supports turrets with half positions. This is where the turret has numbered positions like a clock face, with a further set between the main positions. Typically, a 24-station turret is numbered in this sequence: 1, 13, 2, 14, 3, 15, etc. The simulator now displays all the tooling in its correct relative positions, giving a realistic simulation. This can be particularly important when neighbouring tools get close to the stock and part.
SURFCAM Version 2019 R1
SURFCAM 2019 R1In total, SURFCAM 2019 R1 includes around 30 individual enhancements.
Mindful of the need to generate quick toolpaths to reduce production costs, SURFCAM 2019 R1 introduced three performance boosting enhancements to its machining engine, benefiting both turning and milling operations.
Regeneration time has been reduced by around 20 per cent when editing the Move Angular/Index commands.
Responding to customer feedback, the Waveform machining algorithm has been enhanced to reduce processing time. Previously, performance bottlenecks were detected when small stepovers were used, or on components with narrow channels and heavily curved regions. Manufacturers will now notice average time savings ranging between 15 and 60 per cent, depending on the complexity of the component and its cycle parameters.
New Parting Off Cycle
A new Parting Off cycle is available for turning customers, satisfying a high demand for a single cycle to not only perform the parting off toolpath, but also to deburr the back edge during the operation. Like all other turning cycles, Parting Off offers extended help through dialog pictures, and is sensitive to the current stock position.
Finish Turning Cycle Support For CoroTurn® Prime Inserts
For turning customers, a new Up-Cutting function has been added to the Finish turning cycle. This enables high productivity finishing to be achieved in conjunction with Sandvik Coromant’s CoroTurn® Prime tools and inserts.
Located alongside the Down-Cut modifier, Up-Cutting reverses the direction of the toolpath, to utilize the Prime insert geometry. Also, the cycle feedrate can be expressed using the ‘Chip Thickness’ modifier, as well as in the traditional format of feed per revolution.
Multiple User Experience Turning Enhancements
Found in the Rough Turn cycle, the Stock Runout function has been enhanced to give greater toolpath control when exiting the cut. The inclusion of Runout Angle and Runout Length means toolpaths can be trimmed to user-specific demands.
The Thread Turning and Finish Groove cycles now benefit from functionality found in other turning commands.
Safe Distance modifier has been added to the Thread Turning cycles, giving more accurate control at the start position of a threading toolpath.
Finish Groove toolpaths can be more tightly controlled with new Start and End Extension modifiers.
The Spindle Set-up function for multi-spindle lathes now includes Main and Sub spindle C Angle positions, further guaranteeing no collisions during the parts transfer command.
Numerous SURFCAM Inspect Enhancements
SURFCAM 2019 R1 introduces 13 new enhancements to SURFCAM Inspect.
The mathematical brain behind the product is being switched to use the PCDMIS fit libraries supplied by Hexagon. All Geometry Fit calculations, such as measurement deviations and GD&T values, now use a higher level of certified and approved algorithms.
More customization has been introduced. In the past, users had to accept the standard Measurement Report, but now they can develop their own software plugins to personalize it…along with developing their own probing Canned Cycles, usually in Renishaw or M&H format.
Probing features can be managed more easily, as all commands are automatically created on separate layers. Also, where either the solid model geometry is incorrect, or the model isn’t available, the new manual feature means it’s still possible to inspect a region.
Through user feedback, specific Probing features now work with rotary solid faces, and the feedback can also include evaluation of Axis Deflection.
The final enhancement to this area provides two new output variations in the Work Offset function: Type, and Axes. These give greater control and a more detailed inspection routine, while communicating to the machine tool via the NC Gateway.
Hole Cycle Extra Collision Detection
The Hole Cycle now has additional collision checking. While stringent detection has been in place for a number of releases – such as a toolpath being re-directed to avoid a clamp – SURFCAM 2019 R1 now checks if a hole is obstructed by any part of a fixture. Where such a collision exists, the system removes the drill position and alerts the user.
Chamfering Cycle Gouge Checking
Gouge Check Gap has been added to the Chamfering Cycle to give even stricter control over the toolpath. Specifically, neighbouring features which could potentially come into contact with the flute of the taper tool, can now be excluded.
Extended CAD Format
SURFCAM 2019 R1 supports the latest version of all CAD files. Focusing on a few formats, users will notice, for instance, support for SpaceClaim 19 (ACIS V28), Parasolid version 30.1.247, Inventor 2019, and Creo 5.0. All other CAD formats will be catered for when a newer version becomes available.
Regardless of which license a user has, they’ll be able to load all EDGECAM | SURFCAM | Designer files – *.v_t and *.vdf extensions. EDGECAM | SURFCAM | Designer is Hexagon’s latest CAD package, featuring direct modelling technology.
SURFCAM Version 2018 R1
SURFCAM 2018 R1
Major enhancements to the 2018 R1 release of SURFCAM, from Hexagon, include time saving updates to roughing cycles for milling, turning and MTM and the prevention of unnecessary CAM regeneration.
When a user makes an edit to an existing command, SURFCAM 2018 R1 will not automatically regenerate the remaining instructions. When editing a tool command, there will now be no regeneration if the alteration does not affect the corresponding cycles with aspects such as coolant or high-speed.
Roughing Cycle Enhancements
Two new items of functionality in the Roughing Cycle provide time savings in the milling, turning and MTM environments.
Detect Undercut Stock enhances the already powerful stock detection command, by analyzing previously undetected areas of stock. This option helps to avoid ‘fresh-air’ cutting, reducing machining time – in some cases by up to half.
Waveform Roughing Strategy now gives users the ability to determine the radius size when using the helical approach option, by simply entering maximum and minimum values, which will aid the tool’s entry into the component.
Automatic collision detection has been added to the Rough Turning Cycle. In previous versions of the software, it was necessary to manually apply profile extensions to avoid collisions.
SURFCAM 2018 R1 provides support for Deep Hole Drilling – also known as Gun Drilling. The new strategy empowers the user to control entry, exit and intermediate drilling conditions. This will be particularly important where specialised Gun Drilling tools are used, and the process requires absolutely precise NC code.
Profiling Cycle New Functionalities
The Profiling cycle used in both milling and turning, now has two new items of functionality. A Spring Cuts field has been added to the Multi Passes tab, which means tool deflection can be removed where necessary, by adding extra neutral passes, known as Spring Passes. This will be used typically when machining hard materials… repeating the profile pass can result in improved accuracy and surface finish.
the new Adjust Feedrate on Arc command improves cycle time calculation. In previous editions of SURFCAM, the postprocessor adjusted circular interpolation feedrates, which gave correct NC output, but not the best cycle time calculation.
JT Open Files Support
Support for JT Open files is incorporated for the first time. This is a lightweight 3D model format developed by Siemens PLM Software. As this file format is expected to become increasingly popular, more and more SURFCAM users will benefit with the files now being supported in the Solid Machinist for Parasolid license. And there’s also support for AutoCad 2018 DWG/DXF files.
Editing Manual Milling Function
An Editing Manual Milling function provides for editing a manually created milling feature, instead of having to recreate an entire feature when extra edges are required. This is expected to give considerable time savings to Solid Machinist users.
The SURFCAM Inspection module has been significantly enhanced, which brings many new features to the software. Considerable progress has been made with the postprocessor development and NC output, through new Code Wizard options. This includes support for Fanuc macros.
Users now have full control when editing an Inspection feature, including a calibration technique. They can also determine both feature and properties characteristics.
The Move Point function within the Inspection module has two further options: ‘Fixed Axis,’ and ‘Fixed On Surface,’ giving the ability to align a measurement point along a fixed axis, or a solid face. And the Plane Feature command has been enhanced enabling users to choose to evaluate ‘flatness’ on more than four probe touches.
Cycle Dialogs Update
SURFCAM 2018 R1 continues the evolution of updating cycle dialogs with pictures and context-sensitive help, by updating the B-Axis Contouring Cycle, and 3- and 5- Axis cycles. This not only assists experienced users to easily interpret an infrequently used command, but also helps less familiar users to rapidly understand fundamental functionality.
Another new feature that delivers significant time savings is the Pass Boundary To Cycles function, in the Feature Properties window. An improved toolpath is generated when the user engagers Current Stock, and picks a solid feature. Rather than use the stock limits, which can sometimes lead to unwanted passes, the toolpath is now clipped back to the feature’s natural boundary…particularly useful when creating automatic toolpaths in Strategy Manager.
User Experience Enhancements
2018 R1 release includes several ‘user experience’ enhancements, one of which is the improved visibility and consistency of the Datum WORKPLANe marker. The new datum is more prominent. And will change appearance to signify its usage – default, mating location, or machine datum. This is particularly useful when working with multiple component parts, on tombstones and multi-face machining.
B-Axis Contouring Cycle
Finally, additional functionality has been added to the B-Axis Contouring Cycle, which was introduced in the 2017 R2 edition. Maximum Angular Increment will improve the surface finish by refining the NC output, while machining complex turned profiles.
SURFCAM Version 2017 R2
SURFCAM 2017 R2
There are around 20 items of new and enhanced functionality in SURFCAM 2017 R2, from the Hexagon 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.
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.
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.
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 R1SURFCAM 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
This new feature offers huge time savings, as users no longer need to manually carry out the load, insert, merge and rationalize commands.
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.
Wire EDM Improvements
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.
Workflow and Planning Board
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 enhancementsSeveral 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
Various improvementsThe 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
Fully 64bit & Full Support
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
Enhancements & Machine Configuration
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
Wire EDM Improvements
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
Advanced 5 axis Cycle
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
Improved Display enhancements
CAM Cycle Dialogs
Support for Nutated Head on mill turn machines using Fanuc, Siemens and Heidenhain controllers is introduced into SURFCAM’s machine tool configurations.
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.
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
Pre Plunge Finish Groove Cycle
Ramp Cut Strategy - Rough Turn
Images on Cycle Dialogs
SURFCAM Workflow Solids | EWS
ACIS Solids | Performance Improvements
Simulator Update Stock Improvements
Feature Finder | Partial Holes
Machine Tool Configuration improvements
Extended Collision Detection
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.”