September saw the annual Delcam Technical Summit which was held this time in Korea. With close to 100 delegates from all over Asia and the Pacific region, the final day of the summit coincided with the 20th Korean Delcam User Group meeting.
The technical summit dealt with the new generation of Delcam products and introduced for the first time in Asia the latest version of PowerMILL Delcam’s premier product. With the right hardware configuration, PowerMILL 10 is around 2.5 times faster than its predecessor due to its use of multi-core PC processors. The GUI has also been revamped allowing users to learn the intricacies quicker than before with all items being accessed off one form. It is also quicker to navigate.
Robert Gain, from Lee-Ming Institute of Technology in Taiwan, presented his research on machining with robots. With six axis readily available in modern industrial robots and coupling this with Delcam’s PowerMILL, previously unthinkable multi-axis machining becomes a relativity simple task. Whilst the inherent stiffness of robots and their drive systems may not be able to give accuracies in line with those achievable with conventional machine tools, the application of the technology for rapid prototyping is obvious.
Some of the applications presented dealt with Delcam’s ArtCAM for the generation of statues and copies of works of art.
Medical applications was a major feature of the summit being promoted under the ‘Healthcare Solutions’ banner. Following on from the 2008 event, Delcam has obviously been developing hard in this area. Maxillofacial reconstruction is perhaps the ultimate application for rapid prototyping techniques and Delcam is leading edge in its developments.
Using this technology delivers opportunities to reduce waiting times; remove unnecessary surgery; compress process times; reduce patient trauma; speed up recovery times and reduce material costs. Another medical application is in the custom orthotic insole market.
Once again the application of the modern tools developed for this area has had dramatic effects on the speed up of producing customs orthotics which were previously done almost exclusively by skilled technicians. In the end, the biggest winner is undoubtedly the patient. Waiting and recovery times are now much shorter if the medical practitioner using a Delcam digital laboratory.
The old favourites in the Delcam stable were also presented FeatureCAM and PowerINSPECT. Both of these products have been revised and improved for 2010 and enable users to gain access to significant post-processing and inspection capabilities at the top of the market. The feature-based elements of FeatureCAM enable fast and easy access to sophisticated and complex CAM even delivering 5-axis capability. Perhaps the most significant improvement here is in the 30% faster simulation times over the previous release.
All in all, the Delcam 2009 Asian Summit was a demonstration of why this organisation is dominating the top end of the CAM and associated solutions market. Whilst medical applications are clearly a key direction for the future, it is reassuring to see the continuing development of Delcam’s core product PowerMILL.