In conventional manufacturing of dies and molds, the information always flow from CAM system to machine tools unidirectionally. We have been developing and researching the integration of a CAM system, a CNC control system, and a machine tool into a unified manufacturing cell for die/mold manufacturing of hardened steel.
An NC machine tool is driven by an NC program made by a CAM software, and he information flow is always unidirectional from an upper level (CAM software) to a lower level (machine tool). No bidirectional information exchange is possible in conventional manufacturing systems except for a human operator's expertise that can adapt the process design or machining conditions according to actual machining results. In this research, for die/mold manufacturing of hardened steel as a main target, we have developed and researched the integration of a CAM system, a CNC control system, and a machine tool into a unified manufacturing cell (referred to as the CCM (CAM-CNC-Machine tool) system in this project). Various technologies related to CAM systems, such as machining process design methodologies, design methods of machining conditions, and tool path generation schemes, have been also actively researched.
Development of CCM System
By using a high-accuracy machine tool driven by linear motors, the integrated system of a CAM system, a CNC control system, and a machine tool is developed, and applied to a polish-less machining of dies and molds of hardened steel (April, 2005).
Constant Engagement Tool Path Generation
A critical issue with contour-parallel tool paths is that the variation of cutting forces is unavoidable due to path geometries, which results in the deterioration of machining accuracy. We proposed a tool path generation scheme such that a constant cutting engagement is maintained throughout a finishing path to improve the machining accuracy (April, 2005).
Tool Path Design based on Removal of Critical Cutting Regions by Trochoidal Grooving
For die/mold machining of hardened steel as a main target, we proposed a tool path design methodology based on the removal of critical cutting regions, where the cutting force may be excessive such as a sharp corner, using trochoidal grooving (March, 2004).
On the Effect of Cutting Temperature on Tool Life in Die/Mold Machining
The effect of the cutting temperature to the tool life in die/mold manufacturing of hardened steel has been experimentally investigated. Based on it, a prediction scheme of tool life and a design methodology of machining conditions was proposed (March, 2003).
Process Design System for Die/Mold Manufacturing
A process design methodology including a feedrate optimization scheme was proposed for die/mold machining of hardened steel. An intelligent CAM system was developed based on it (March, 2001).