“CAM is about driving machines. Therefore, a lot of the developments in CAM come from advances in machine tool technology. As machine tools become more capable, CAM systems are developing toolpath strategies to maximize the performance of the machine tool,” says Jeff Fritsch, VP – Sales & Marketing, CAMplete Solutions Inc in an email conversation with Nishant Kashyap.
Please tell us about CAMplete Solutions Inc. and its products like CAMplete Truepath, CAMplete Truepath Lite, CAMplete Turnmill, and Intelligent Protection system(IPS).
CAMplete Solutions Inc. is a technology-driven company located in Waterloo, Ontario – the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, with close to 20 years of experience in 5-Axis machining and machine simulation.
Our flagship product is CAMplete TruePath. It takes the output from all popular CAM systems through APT or intermediate CL data and converts it to specific instructions (G-code) that will be read by the machine controller. CAMplete TruePath bridges the gap between CAM systems and milling machines. It is the missing link, providing everything needed to analyze, modify, optimize and simulate 5-axis tool paths in a seamless 3D environment.
One of our other products, TruePath Lite, offers our customers the same level of quality and precision they have come to expect with CAMplete TruePath, but instead for their 3-axis machines. TruePath Lite serves as a universal post processor while also providing the user with simulation and verification.
Camplete TruePath TurnMill is currently dedicated specifically to the Nakamura-Tome machine line. The goal of TurnMill is slightly different than that of CAMplete TruePath. While TruePath focuses heavily on good code generation from any CAM platform, TurnMill focuses on the process. This allows the user to modify the toolpath, easily reassign it to different channels or spindles and do the synchronization between operations down to the movement level.
IPS is our latest product and is specifically developed for Matsuura. The primary difference between IPS and the rest of our products is that IPS does not rely on intermediate CL data from a CAM system, but solely relies on direct data calculated by the machine controller itself. We are essentially using the live machine positions to determine if a collision will happen or not at a specific point in the program, and if so, effectively stop the machine before it physically gets to the problematic position.
How do you rank CAMplete’s solutions compared to other products on the market?
Every product has its niche in the marketplace. CAM systems typically focus on tool path generation, which basically specifies moving a particular tool from point A to point B at a specified speed. Whether the final tool path runs on one machine type or another has no real direct influence on the toolpath generation itself. Also, given the number of machine tool builders, machine models, options and controllers, it is very difficult for the CAM companies to specifically focus on a particular machine line and cover all the possibilities an end user may present to them.
At CAMplete we took the approach of working directly with a few select machine tool partners. By working directly with the engineering department of these builders, we can support all the options and configurations a customer would be able to purchase. We do have the same amount of development work as every other software company, but we do this work ahead of time in partnership with the machine builder, so that by the time the solution is delivered to the end user, they are ready to hit the ground running. This is also a great differentiator for our machine tool partners. They are adding value to their overall machine offering. Instead of just selling a piece of hardware they are providing a complete solution to their customer.
How does your partnership work with machine/CNC builders? How does it help the end user?
CAMplete TruePath is configured specifically for the user’s machine, as opposed to a generic solution. Traditionally setting up and fine-tuning simulation for any given machine is expensive, time consuming and error prone. At CAMplete, the machine models that are shipped with our software come directly from the manufacturers original design data.
At CAMplete, our development process is driven by our close relationship with end users and machine builders, their experience with applications and machines have shaped our software products.
Please tell us about latest trends in CAM industry?
CAM is about driving machines. Therefore, a lot of the developments in CAM come from advances in machine tool technology. As machine tools become more capable, CAM systems are developing toolpath strategies to maximize the performance of the machine tool. This is perhaps most predominant with high speed machining where CAM systems are creating toolpaths to work well at high feeds allowing their users to produce parts at faster rates.
Another aspect of machining that drives CAM system development is tooling. Currently, some CAM systems are improving their support for barrel mills which allow the tool to engage more material providing higher material removal rates, better finishes, longer tool life and shorter cycle times.
That said, regardless of how toolpaths are developed, the end user still requires posted code that can be run on their machine. At CAMplete, we are constantly working with our partners to ensure we support the latest features they have to offer.
Any new features to be introduced in CAMplete?
Last year at EMO we introduced the latest version of our software, TruePath 2018. New features included an improved program editor, new NC format engine, geometry management view, improved kinematic options and error analysis navigator, among others. This all came with a redesigned user interface to ease navigation and speed up common tasks.
The next major release of our software, TruePath 2019, will be unveiled in September at the IMTS show in Chicago. There will be quite a few improvements, and a pretty impressive list of new features. Stay tuned for the announcements, or come see the software for yourself at IMTS 2018.
There are a lot of software providers in the market, what makes CAMplete unique?
I think it’s important to note that we are not actually a CAM system provider. We provide post-processing and simulation to bridge the gap between a user’s CAM system and their machine.
There are a few things that make CAMplete unique from similar solutions in the market. The three major things worth noting include our sister company Miltera Machining Research, our close partnerships with machine builders, and the fact that we are providing a completely integrated suite of tools.
By working so closely with Miltera, we understand our customers in a way that our competitors cannot. Miltera Machining Corporation uses our products and provides us with application engineering support with in-house testing of our advanced manufacturing software. The second unique feature of CAMplete, our partnerships with machine builders was discussed above.
One thing that truly sets us apart from other products in the market is how we interact with CAM systems in a common way. CAMplete TruePath is a universal Post-Processor that makes it easy to switch between different CAM Systems or combine tool paths from different CAM Systems into a single project. Users can rough in Mastercam, finish in Esprit and still end up with one common posted file. Regardless of the CAM system or systems you are using, CAMplete Truepath allows users to turn the great work that they have done on their CAM System into a great part.
How important is India as a growth market for you?
Through our partnerships with Machine Builders and OEMs, our growth into different regions and industry sub-sectors coincides with theirs. India’s rapid progress in regards to advanced manufacturing over the last decade has not gone unnoticed. India has solidified its spot as a world partner for manufacturing both now, and in the future. As investment in advanced manufacturing technology and equipment continues to grow, so will our involvement in the region.