Cutting Tool Engineering
September 2011 / Volume 63 / Issue 9

Software makes tool design easier

By Jean-Charles Marty, Rollomatic SA

High-alloy steels, titanium alloys and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics are difficult-to-machine materials at the center of numerous key technologies. Only specially designed, high-performance tools, however, have a chance of achieving economic results when cutting these materials.

With Rollomatic’s VirtualGrind Pro grinding software, tool developers can program even complex tools. The software is tailored to Rollomatic GrindSmart tool grinding machines. A uniform user interface makes it compatible for tool developers, production managers and machine operators.

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Courtesy of Rollomatic

Rollomatic’s VirtualGrind Pro grinding software provides 3-D simulation of grinding movements, including virtual collision detection.

The development of VirtualGrind Pro is based on more than 20 years of experience in tool grinding and customer requirements for tool production. Since debuting the software at the GrindTec 2010 event in Augsburg, Germany, Rollomatic has released Version 1.05 with its new machines and offers it as an update for existing systems.

The new version has new features and extensions for programming the GrindSmart machines, providing more performance and creative freedom in tool design. A highlight is the new programming assistant, called the “Tool Wizard.” It guides users through a database of standard industrial tools that can be modified. Developers can create a complex and unique tool with a few mouse clicks. They select a basic tool suitable for the relevant application and typically alter the helix, cutting or relief angle, while defining feeds, core diameters and other variables. Users can select a constant- or variable-helix angle or a combination of both per tooth, for example, to provide a smooth cutting action and therefore extend tool life through chatter-reducing asymmetry.

Users can also select the grinding wheels and parameters suitable for the specific application with the software. In addition, a 3-D simulation of grinding movements is available for all tool types. That includes virtual collision detection to optimize setup times. Simulation lets users see whether a tool can be produced with the grinding wheel combination selected without any problems.

If corresponding DXF files from a CAD application already exist for complex tool geometries, the files can be imported into VirtualGrind Pro or entered via the integrated 2-D editor. Users can also modify or correct the tool profile. They do not have to be CAD experts to do this, because the editor is simple to operate. Therefore, helical flutes and axial shear angles can be efficiently programmed. It is also possible to compile the results via the export function as a JPEG or 3-D image format so toolmakers’ customers can view them.

Despite a self-explanatory installation routine and ease of use, the software’s full potential can only be realized after training. Users can be shown the required steps in detail as part of introductory and advanced training. Free updates allow users to keep pace with new software developments.

Jean-Charles_03.tif After using VirtualGrind Pro, users can communicate cutting tool designs directly to the grinding machine. CTE

About the Author: Jean-Charles Marty is product manager for Rollomatic SA, Le Landeron, Switzerland. For more information about the company’s grinding machines and software, call (866) 713-6398, visit www.rollomaticusa.com or enter #350 on the I.S. Form on page 3.
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