Call them secrets, misconceptions, little known facts, or even fiction -- they can make your job easier if you know about them. And rumor has it that many Pro/ENGINEER users have misconceptions about five key aspects of Pro/ENGINEER machining.
Here's the rundown. See how well you do in matching your preconception with the facts.
Fiction: NC post-processing support is an incremental cost to your existing Pro/ENGINEER package
Fact: PTC used to charge extra for post-processing generation and applications, but that's no longer the case. Today, the PTC post-processing generator, GPOST, which helps with creating, debugging, and executing post processing, is bundled with Pro/ENGINEER. Also, today you can get access to hundreds of post-processing macros and tutorials at the GPOST Central Web page (password required).
Fiction: The more icons on your screen, the better
Fact: To some users, lots of icons may look good, but in the world of machining, the quality and quantity of tools are more important than the "eye candy" of a field of icons. In machining, for instance, precision toolpath controls may not be critical for roughing our prototypes. But for production work, when you're going to make a thousand or a million parts, you need maximum toolpath controls to create toolpath strategies, customize toolpaths, and so on.
If your ultimate goal is ease of use, this can come from features like mapkeys, or, new in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0, XML Import/Export. Mapkeys let you capture your machining process, then re-activate it any time you want from your desktop. XML Import/Export lets you capture your process -- or your entire toolpath strategy -- for use on different models. For instance, you might have a strategy for machining a certain type of cavity. With XML Import/Export, you can transfer the entire strategy, along with any necessary documentation, into a new model containing the same type of cavity, but with a completely different geometry. This process saves time and preserves accuracy.
Fiction: You can't machine non-Pro/ENGINEER data with Pro/ENGINEER machining
Fact: Every user knows that Pro/ENGINEER can read IGES and STEP data, which is sufficient for basic machining tasks. But what you may not realize is that Pro/ENGINEER can machine any data that Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire can read, and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire is an industry leader in multi-vendor interoperability.
Today, for instance, Pro/ENGINEER can perform direct translation of CATIA, Unigraphics and I-DEAS files. It can also read 2D data, such as DXF, and DWG, and even STL facet data. So if you're in a supply chain where suppliers or customers are sending you non-Pro/ENGINEER data, you've got a competitive advantage now -- and a means of saving time and money.
Fiction: Pro/ENGINEER machining doesn't have robust data management capabilities
Fact: This may be true of other products, but not so with Pro/ENGINEER machining. In fact, where other machining applications can do little more than understand flat files, Pro/ENGINEER brings you a comprehensive data management architecture, thanks to seamless connectivity with Pro/ENGINEER data management solutions – Pro/INTRALINK and Windchill PDMLink.
With the versioning capabilities of Pro/ENGINEER data management, you can be working on one version of a file while designers are working on the next version. This happens frequently in larger production shops, since it's often better for NC operators not to receive updates until they are complete. You can trust that everyone has the correct version, since Pro/ENGINEER data management does the tracking, rather than different workstations that are trying to make sense of each other's flat files.
Fiction: Toolpath computations take too much time
Fact: They can, but they shouldn't. The greater the tolerance precision, the greater the computation burden. Pro/ENGINEER machining is as fast as, or faster than, any other machining software, but it also offers you some extra features that can improve computation performance:
· Tessellated toolpaths -- New in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0, this feature employs an internally meshed model that can boost performance for roughing, re-roughing, and finishing by as much as 10 times over conventional volume milling, local milling, and surface milling techniques;
· Job manager – This powerful utility allows you to schedule toolpath processing for an optimum time, or send the job to a more powerful server, so you can continue your work.
Now we know. Most of you know this already, but just as a reminder: since Pro/ENGINEER machining requires a Pro/ENGINEER license, you get access to thousands of powerful, production-proven software tools that are part of the Pro/ENGINEER family. This means you can "plug and play" while your counterparts, who may not be using Pro/ENGINEER machining, have to spend their time investigating, installing, and debugging various third-party application packages.
"One of the key benefits of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire has been its ability to package a great deal of power within a friendly, intuitive environment," says Francois Lamy, Director of Pro/ENGINEER Production Applications at PTC. "This benefit is now carrying over to Pro/ENGINEER machining, giving users even more powerful functions today and in the months and years ahead -- and we want to make sure that our users don't overlook any of these benefits, based on some old misconception.
"The chances are good that if you're looking for advanced NC capabilities, you'll find them in Pro/ENGINEER machining."
· Learn more about Pro/ENGINEER machining
· See what else is new in Pro/ENGINERE Wildfire 2.0
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