ALPHACAM 2020.1 CAD/CAM Software With 'Multiple Process Jobs"

November 13, 2019
ALPHACAM 2020.1 CAD/CAM Software With 'Multiple Process Jobs"

As part of Hexagon’s philosophy of supporting data-driven smart factories, the latest release of ALPHACAM CAD/CAM software speeds up how jobs that require several processes are managed. A new job type has been introduced in ALPHACAM 2020.1. The new “Multiple Process Jobs” functionality makes it simpler to create jobs and orders in the ALPHACAM Automation Manager for jobs that need to be output to more than one machine or that require secondary processing at the same machine.

“In the past, users had to create multiple jobs to process complex operations in Automation Manager,” said Product Manager Chip Martin. “Now, a single job can be created, containing all the different machines and manufacturing processes that the part goes through.”

He highlights an example of machining the top and back of a part. In the latest version of the software, those two processes can easily be worked as a single job. “NC code will simply be created for both of them automatically, which is also the case for additional machines and other processes.”

This improvement streamlines how complex manufacturing processes are handled in the ALPHACAM Automation Manager. “Once the process is defined, and the ‘Multiple Process Job’ is created, the operator can easily repeat the same complex job many times for different parts. Also, the user interface will help show exactly which processes and machines the part will go through,” Martin said.

Several enhancements have been made to Automation Manager’s output file options. Firstly, the new "File Name Configuration" dialog creates names from job information, job files, or any custom text. 

Secondly, a number of improvements to Report Creation include the ability to generate up to four different layouts, which can also be printed. All the materials being used can be included in one report, and a report can be produced for each material and each nested sheet.

“This fine-tune control means users can tailor Automation Manager output entirely to their specific requirements,” Martin said.

The Rough/Finish of solid faces with Tool Side function now supports cylindrical faces to be machined. Planar and cylindrical faces can be combined in a single selection. For solid faces that are perpendicular or undercuts, an active work plane can be used to define the preferred approach angle (scanning direction).

“In the previous release, we introduced the ability to machine solid faces directly for rough/finish and sawing,” Martin said. “This has now been enhanced to allow simple planar faces to be machined without creating new geometry.”

Cylindrical faces as well as planar faces can now be selected, and ALPHACAM automatically finds the best angle for machining them. This calculation is carried out while keeping a fixed angle for the tool in a work plane, guaranteeing that most controllers will be able to support compensation (G41/G42), and Lead-In/Out generated by ALPHACAM.

“Before this improvement, users had to carry out several steps to machine a selection of faces using the tool side. Now, instead of creating workplanes and extracting geometries, they simply select the faces for machining and ALPHACAM calculates the required tool angle and workplane to machine a selection of faces. This is a real time saver,” Martin said.

Stone companies will find specific improvements for waterjet cutting, and for sawing surfaces and solids. ALPHACAM 2020.1 includes a waterjet tool as well as new machining cycles. Users can now create waterjet tools and specify parameters specific to waterjet cutting. Abrasive Flow Rates can be defined in the new tool type, as well as how far the nozzle should be from the top of the material.

In addition to the existing machining cycles, the latest release introduces three waterjet operations which can follow a profile, clear areas, or cut and pierce holes, in both 3- and 5-axis machining. A simulation can be run to check for possible collisions between the nozzle and material.

“The software has been successfully driving waterjet and saw + waterjet machine tools for many years,” Martin said, “but this new waterjet tool and cycles provide a consistent and highly professional way of calculating toolpaths.”

The new release now defines boundaries when cutting surfaces and solids with a disc/saw. Users define multiple boundaries, and ALPHACAM will avoid machining those areas. “This gives much better control, making it possible to avoid areas which should be machined in another step, and even avoid other machine components,” Martin said.

Related Glossary Terms

  • abrasive


    Substance used for grinding, honing, lapping, superfinishing and polishing. Examples include garnet, emery, corundum, silicon carbide, cubic boron nitride and diamond in various grit sizes.

  • approach angle

    approach angle

    Angle between the insert’s side-cutting edge and the line perpendicular to the milling cutter’s axis of rotation. Approach angle, which is also known as cutting edge angle, is used with metric units of measurement. See lead angle.

  • sawing


    Machining operation in which a powered machine, usually equipped with a blade having milled or ground teeth, is used to part material (cutoff) or give it a new shape (contour bandsawing, band machining). Four basic types of sawing operations are: hacksawing (power or manual operation in which the blade moves back and forth through the work, cutting on one of the strokes); cold or circular sawing (a rotating, circular, toothed blade parts the material much as a workshop table saw or radial-arm saw cuts wood); bandsawing (a flexible, toothed blade rides on wheels under tension and is guided through the work); and abrasive sawing (abrasive points attached to a fiber or metal backing part stock, could be considered a grinding operation).

  • sawing machine ( saw)

    sawing machine ( saw)

    Machine designed to use a serrated-tooth blade to cut metal or other material. Comes in a wide variety of styles but takes one of four basic forms: hacksaw (a simple, rugged machine that uses a reciprocating motion to part metal or other material); cold or circular saw (powers a circular blade that cuts structural materials); bandsaw (runs an endless band; the two basic types are cutoff and contour band machines, which cut intricate contours and shapes); and abrasive cutoff saw (similar in appearance to the cold saw, but uses an abrasive disc that rotates at high speeds rather than a blade with serrated teeth).

  • waterjet cutting

    waterjet cutting

    Fine, high-pressure (up to 50,000 psi or greater), high-velocity jet of water directed by a small nozzle to cut material. Velocity of the stream can exceed twice the speed of sound. Nozzle opening ranges from between 0.004" to 0.016" (0.l0mm to 0.41mm), producing a very narrow kerf. See AWJ, abrasive waterjet.