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3D simulations avoid the need for CNC trial cutting

12 February, 2013

Mitsubishi Electric has developed an ultra-high-resolution 3D technology for representing the shapes of machined surfaces for numerically controlled (NC) machine tools. The technology provides detailed representations of surfaces at resolutions down to 1µm, which machine operators can use to evaluate surface textures without needing to perform trial cutting. They can, for example, check for over- or under-processing marks and for scratches.

The “multi-ADF” (adaptive distance field) technology uses a set of tiny cubes to depict dents and scratches on the machined surfaces. It can display complex shapes using less than 1% of the data storage capacity needed for conventional high-resolution 3D simulations, allowing the simulations to run much faster.

For example, traditional simulation techniques for evaluating processed materials and operations to a resolution of 0.1mm, typically need about 16GB of memory. The new technology requires less than 50MB to achieve simulations with a resolution of 1µm.

The images above show machined surfaces in the simulated version (left) and in reality (right).

In recent years, the mould-processing industry has been investigating ways of saving time by using precision machining methods that do not need polishing. It is also increasingly using direct processing, instead of die-mould production, raising the demand for high-quality finishing by cutting.

Machining tests are usually needed to verify the integrity of machining programs generated by CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) programs. This involves a time-consuming process of repeated trial cutting to confirm that precise, high-quality machining is being achieved. The multi-ADF technology avoids the need for these trials.

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