The right tool path for the job

THERE are many components to an effective CNC machining process for fabrication shops. While a high-quality CNC machine is an important factor for the efficient machining of quality products, a good automatic tool pathing software package is equally as important and sets you apart from the competition by improving your product quality and value. No matter how sophisticated a CNC machine is, it can’t do anything without a tool and a tool path.

The tool path has always been the weak link in the chain. A high-quality cutting tool, driven by innovative tool path programs can increase productivity by as much as three times.

Brisbane-based Advanced Robotic Automation (ART) works with different software companies to match the correct tool path software to the production needs of each manufacturing customer. Among these is the company’s EnRoute Smart Tool Path software for advanced 2D and 3D CNC routing.

EnRoute is able to take most CAD files and process them into NC files suitable for use on ART CNC machines. Specialised modules are available for 3D model- ling, cabinetmaking, engraving, advanced nesting and most types of machining processes.

Users can create a toolpath strategy that best fits their needs. They can set parameters for routing offset, hatch fill, island fill, drills, slots, pyramid and engraving. Tool path techniques can be applied to any text or vector art. Text can have a bevelled ‘pyramid’ effect that also includes a rough pass option to clear out extra material and an offset pass to cut out letters when completed. EnRoute software is designed to save time and make production processes more efficient.

Automatic tool pathing (ATP) brings together many of the disciplines required into a fully-automated environment. The software package is able to make many decisions on behalf of the operator.
How parts are positioned on the material plate is another important factor for increased efficiency in CNC machining.

Parts positioning impacts both the amount of material that the job will consume and the machining time required to cut the parts. A shop’s profit margin is directly connected to part nesting: that’s why it is important for CAD/CAM software to have a complete set of nesting algorithms that can find the optimum geometrical arrangement to simultaneously minimize material waste and maximize cutting times.

Behind EnRoute’s interface is a CAD tool with a nesting suite that automatically finds the optimum geometry that is designed to minimise material waste and maximise machine efficiency.

Advanced Robotic Technology 07 3393 6555, www.advancedrobotic.com