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Software on the cutting edge

Inside manufacturing 2017-05-18 Michael Miller Martin Adolfsson

One of the oldest businesses in the CAD/CAM industry, CNC Software Inc. has partnered with Sandvik Coromant to roll out the CoroPlus® ToolGuide and CoroPlus® ToolLibrary innovations to its customers. The time savings, cost savings and resulting productivity gains for end users are potentially vast.

A red barn in a rural area of the US state of Connecticut points the way to CNC Software Inc., where teams of software engineers and machinists are moving CAD/CAM metalcutting to the next level. In an environmentally friendly building partly powered by a vast array of solar panels and heated by geothermal energy, the developers behind the company’s Mastercam software product have partnered with Sandvik Coromant to start rolling out the CoroPlus ToolLibrary and CoroPlus ToolGuide to their 225,000 end users worldwide.

“The selection of the right tooling for the material and for the operation at hand is critical,” says Rich Taft, product owner for Mastercam. “It can mean the difference between profitability or not.”

Mastercam is the leader in providing software that can generate tool paths to enable machinists to cut parts accurately and efficiently. With Mastercam, machinists can import or design actual parts on their computer screens, and the CoroPlus products will steer them to the right tool for the job. No more paging through websites or catalogs in search of the right tool. Once you enter the parameters for the job – type of material, depth of cut, type and direction of cut and so on – the CoroPlus solutions will steer you in the right direction.

The tool library provides access to catalogs of digital tools that manufacturers can browse through and pick from to build tool assemblies to match what they will run on their machines. The tool guide gives recommendations on how to use the tools and what tool is best suited for the job at hand, in a rapidly changing universe of tooling.​

“You see these new tools and new strategies being introduced, and that’s where the tool guide comes into play,” says Stas Mylek, senior product marketing specialist for Mastercam. “It gives a recommendation of what would be the most efficient way to remove the material. Now the customer knows how to run that tool ­– spindle speed, feed rates, what machining strategy would work best.”

Before the digital age, customers had to search through thousands of tools in a printed catalog the size of a phone book – which starts to become obsolete as soon as it is printed – to try to find the right tool for the job. Even when websites came into wide use, the task could still be daunting.

​“Now I no longer have to go through the manual process of searching,” Mylek says. “I can just put in a couple of parameters, and the tool guide is going to start taking those tens of thousands of tools and whittling them down to a handful that are most appropriate for cutting the part out. And that’s a huge time savings.”

Mastercam looks to Sandvik Coromant for its market leadership in innovation for cutting tool designs and engineering. “That level of expertise is hard to find,” Mylek says. “To partner with them is an opportunity on both sides. We’re the market leader on the programming end of things, and Sandvik Coromant is the leader in the cutting tool space. Any time we can utilize each other’s expertise means there is tremendous value there, ultimately for the end user.”





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