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Collaborative enabling software proves popular  at MACH 2016 Collaborative enabling software proves popular  at MACH 2016

Nearly 26,000 people visited MACH 2016, representing an increase of 10 per cent on MACH 2014. CGTech, the developer of VERICUT, the leading independent CNC simulation and optimisation software, welcomed around 220 visitors onto its stand. A popular destination for existing customers, and those considering protecting their machine tools and improving efficiency, was the Reviewer ‘demo bar’.

Nada, gratis, zip, nothing, not a single bean, completely free: that’s what it costs to run VERICUT Reviewer files. Yet this powerful software from CGTech provides enterprise-wide manufacturing collaboration that even extends beyond the geographic location of any company. A foundation for a truly paperless operation Reviewer can generate in-process inspection instructions and 3D digital documentation from simulated in-process machined features.

Seamless integration is the goal of CGTech and a big step towards this is the free issue software to run the VERICUT Reviewer files. It is available to download from the VERICUT DVD for companies using the CNC optimisation and simulation software or from the CGTech website, and it will play Reviewer files on all versions of Windows desktop PCs or Windows compatible handheld tablets, as well as Apple iPads.

“It is an advanced communications method, instead of using paper we are using the full simulation power of VERICUT. Although the file is generated by VERICUT once it is created it can be seen outside the software completely licence-free using Reviewer,” Sale Manager UK, Rob Lightfoot, states.

He continues: “Make no mistakes; errors on the shopfloor are expensive. It is critical that the machine operator and CAD/CAM programmer communicate effectively. The implications of poor communication go well beyond wasted programmer and machine time. Something as simple as a poorly defined set-up instruction sheet can result in scrapped parts, broken cutters, or a damaged machine. Worse yet, a late delivery can result in the loss of future business. When all of these risks are combined, it’s difficult to quantify the value of good communication.”

Although it is freely available the 3D Reviewer is a very powerful tool that can also help improve communication with customers, suppliers, and anyone else that can benefit from having access to a 3D simulation. Anyone can play the 3D simulation forward and backward to see material being removed or replaced. Error messages and NC program text is highlighted when a collision on the stock or fixture is selected. Cutting conditions and a tool path line display can be optionally shown. The user can rotate, pan and zoom and the cut stock can be measured using a variety of measurement tools.

As well as handheld digital devices it is also possible to download the software and the Reviewer file on to a USB memory stick so that it can be sent to customers anywhere around the world, or share the file simulation during a video conference. In addition to the 3D simulation, the user can embed traditional reports in PDF format that can be easily accessed from within the app. “You can even highlight areas of concern with video capture or listing the line number in the Review file. It provides full collaboration between the people who designed and programmed the part and those who are going to run it,” Rob Lightfoot adds.

While creating reports is a necessity for any machine shop, Rob Lightfoot points out that digital tablets, either using Windows or Apple, are the way to run Reviewer on the shopfloor. “Customers are adopting this digital method of removing paper from the shopfloor. With the depth of information available companies that are running first-off parts during the nightshift no longer need the programmer to be there, all the information is contained within the simulated Reviewer file. The VERICUT operator has always been able to do this and now the machine operator can as well with all the information about the machining process collated and available it is a truly collaborative tool to review the process,” he concludes.

Collaborative enabling software proves popular  at MACH 2016 Collaborative enabling software proves popular  at MACH 2016