March 10 2020 0Comment
Waveform Machining

The Benefits of Waveform High Speed Machining

Here at I&G Precision Engineering, we use EDGECAM as our leading CAD / CAM system thanks to the whole host of benefits that it brings us. Not only does it help us be more precise, improve production times and help reduce scrap, it also grants us an improved method of high speed machining. 

We’re of course referring to Waveform Machining, a unique tool path method that comes as standard for EDGECAM. Waveform Machining helps to improve our machining processes through ease of use and precision, while also helping us to extend tool life. But before we get too excited, let’s take a step back and examine what Waveform Machining actually is. 

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An Introduction to Waveform Machining

Waveform tool path roughing has been designed by EDGECAM to provide a more consistent cut throughout the machining process. This is achieved by maintaining a constant tool load, and creating smoother tool paths that avoid sharp changes in direction. These factors help to maintain a constant feed rate and machine velocity throughout the process, therefore resulting in several benefits for the finished workpiece. 

Due to the variable widths of cut conditions that are found in the corners of a workpiece, traditional roughing methods often experience irregular and fluctuating tool loads as chip thickness increases in areas where the tool meets more material than it did while cutting in straight lines. This often results in inconsistent tool load and erratic machine motion. To avoid this, they are forced to run at slower feed rates and speeds. 

Waveform Machining utilises a concentric pattern of cutting to help maintain fluidity and consistency across the board. Waveform’s unique algorithm calculates the optimum tool path using the actual cutting width, which results in a smoother cutting motion with no potential interruptions to the feed rate or velocity. Through this method, there is no need to specifically program feeds and speeds for heavy tool load conditions. Through ensuring a consistent engagement between tool and workpiece, Waveform Machining helps us deliver better results. 

Benefits of Waveform Machining

Waveform roughing helps us to improve many areas of our manufacturing process. But the benefits don’t stop there.

1) Smoother, Deeper & Faster Cutting

Waveform’s principle function is to provide smooth and consistent cutting loads, machine velocity and feed rates. This has countless benefits for component production. First of all, maintaining velocity helps to reduce any shaking or vibration that may occur, which in turn benefits tool life and machining precision.  When Waveform is used for high speed machining (HSM), it provides a much more fluid method of cutting, ensuring that the part is produced to specification in the fastest cycle time possible.

Cycle times are reduced largely thanks to automated motion transfer, i.e. when one cutting motion is completed and the next begins. Waveform is capable of defining the fastest method of transfer between the cuts, which can shave a significant amount of time from the process. Additionally, when the tool path is cutting at depth, the path automatically moves around the stock. This helps to maintain a high feed rate when cutting at depth, and also allows the user to specify a small retract in order to stop any tool rubbing on the floor of the part.

Please see below examples of the potential feed rates and cutting depth that can be achieved when cutting hard materials.

VARIABLE

METRIC IMPERIAL

Material

SS1650 carbon Steel 6AL4V Titanium

Tool

10 mm endmill 1/2 inch endmill
Depth of Cut 20mm

3/4 inch

Stepover 10%

10%

Feed Rate 5700mm/min

50 in/min

Speed 9500 rpm

3128 rpm

2 ) Improved Tool Life

Tools often experience a longer lifespan when using Waveform machining thanks to multiple factors. Firstly, constant engagement between the tool and the workpiece allows the feed rate to remain at the optimum place throughout the machining process. This lack of differentiation helps to reduce vibrations, shaking and tool breakage. This is because of the tool experiencing less intermittent cuts, which reduces sharp / harsh cornering.

The consistent machine velocity offered by Waveform helps to keep the tool from undergoing jarring speed changes. This cuts down on material resistance and reduces wear. Additionally, most of the heat that is built up through the process is removed in the chip, which also helps tool life.

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3) Simple User Interface

As with everything EDGECAM, Waveform comes with a simple user interface that makes it easy to use for both expert and novice machinists. The Waveform interface is limited to 3 modifiers that the user can use to adjust the pattern of the waveform tool path. Using information in the part and Code Generator, this helps the system to be easy to integrate into the main roughing cycle. 

As tool path machining has taken over the precision manufacturing world, beginner machinists should be educated in CAD / CAM programming as soon as possible. Waveform Machining helps us to do this, with the apprentices at I&G being introduced to EDGECAM programming at an early stage. The ease of use means that operation requires no extensive experience, which allows it to be integrated into a production process very easily.

Final Notes

Here at I&G Engineering, we have been evolving our machining processes for over 40 years, so it is only natural for us to integrate Waveform Machining. Through all the benefits that we’ve discussed, the Waveform system allows us to deliver on our company-wide commitment to quality and precision. Thanks to this system, our manufacturing processes perform at improved efficiency with machining processes that we can trust to deliver an optimum performance. 

Get in Touch

We provide a range of precision CNC machining services, including the production of high quality machined components for a variety of sectors. If you are looking for CNC services delivered using the latest technology and expertise, get in touch with I&G Engineering today. 

iandg

Michael is the engineering director at I&G Precision Engineering. As an experienced machine workshop manager, Michael keeps the I&G shop floor running smoothly.

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