Integrating CAD with NC Programming

Prospector Easily Handles the Most Complex Designs

Let’s face it, product designs are only going to continue to get more complex. This puts a serious strain on CAM systems to cope with the volume and complexity of the data sets thrown at them.

You have to have a system you can count on regardless of how difficult, complex or ill defined data may be.

That's where Prospector shines. Our heritage of working with suppliers in the automotive industry required us to develop the software algorithms needed to import and work with the most complex data sets. The bottom line is that whether you work with solid models, surface models, 3D wireframe or 2D data Prospector can handle it all. Just bring it.

Direct Import of Solid Models

AMT Software is a licensee of the Parasolid® 3D solid modeling component software from Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. Prospector incorporates Parasolid for the express purpose of reading solid models designed in popular CAD applications that utilize Parasolid as their geometric modeling engine. Here are just a few of these 3D CAD programs that rely on Parasolid:

The fact that Prospector and these CAD programs have the Parasolid technology in common means that you can machine directly from solid models created in any of these applications. Every Parasolid CAD application can save the solid model to disk in the Parasolid XT (*.x_t, *.x_b) file format because this is a core function of Parasolid. Key benefits of this capability are:

  • No Data Translation You know how time consuming and frustrating it can be for some CAD systems to write an IGES data file suitable for machining. Some CAD vendors offer IGES translators as an expensive option or do not even offer an IGES option at all. Exporting data from a Parasolid-based CAD system means that the data never leaves the native Parasolid format so a translator is not required. This eliminates an entire step — the data translation step — from your process.

  • 100% Accurate & Precise All Parasolid-based CAD systems store math data in memory using the Parasolid solid modeling technology. Therefore the exchange of data between the CAD system and Prospector can not possibly cause geometry to be misinterpreted, distorted or lost because the same Parasolid software that created the CAD data is receiving it in Prospector.

  • Fast It is not unusual for some CAD systems to to take a seriously long time to translate a single design to IGES. If there’s an error during the translation or a problem importing the data into Prospector, the entire process must be repeated. You can't afford these types of delays. Exporting Parasolid data directly to Prospector is not only 100% accurate but it's also fast. Very fast. NC programming can begin in just minutes as opposed to possibly hours and hours of frustrating data translation iterations.

Importing IGES Data

Prospector benefits from our many years of real-world experience in IGES translation. The superior data translation technology we have developed means that Prospector can offer trouble-free import if IGES data from virtually any CAD system capable of writing the IGES data format. Our technical strengths include:

  • Importing Large Data Sets Even the largest data files are no problem. Many of our customers are suppliers to the automotive industry. It's not uncommon for an instrument panel, console or fascia to contain 1000's of individual surfaces.

  • Smart Translation Improper or incorrect entities are automatically detected during translation. When possible, the software automatically corrects the problem by inferring what was intended. For example, trim curves that don't follow the IGES standard for direction are automatically reversed so the translation makes sense.

  • Automatic Flavoring Because of our experience in dealing with so many different CAD system, we understand the idiosyncrasies of how these systems output IGES. This understanding is built into the software to help ensure a smooth translation. The software detects which application is the sending CAD system and makes adjustments to compensate for the deficiencies of the sending system's ability to write proper IGES output.

  • Fast Translation Even the largest data sets take no more than a couple of minutes to convert.

The industry-best IGES translation capability comes standard with Prospector and supports import of all relevant geometric entities including solid definitions (Type 186). Layering schemes and colors are preserved. Matrix definitions are imported to use for part setup or tool axis orientation. The choices for orientation are presented to the user whenever a new setup or workspace is required.

Prospector Design for Machining

Prospector Design is an application included included with Prospector to address the need for NC programmers to prepare design data for machining.

With Prospector Design you can:

Extracting individual components for machining from an entire CAD assembly is a task perfectly suited for Prospector Design. Machinists don't need to bug the designers to perform this task.
  • Create distinct Prospector projects from the discrete components of an entire 3D assembly. The needed data is easily identified and isolated for inclusion in a project.

  • Eliminate unwanted or unnecessary design data that has nothing to do with NC programming or the machining task at hand.

  • Refine 2D data from detailed drawings by removing unwanted annotation and re-tracing or stitching together disjoint geometry to create nice bounded profiles for machining.

  • Create persistent geometry for Prospector projects to facilitate machining. For example developing drive curves for machining ribs or curves needed to guide flow and radial machining.

  • Creating 2D geometry on the fly from prints of the plate work that needs to be machined.

  • Analyzing the integrity of imported design data for possible problems as well as over-defined and duplicate geometry:

The diagnostics dialog points out all problematic data and possible problems.

What Prospector Design doesn't do:

  • Alter the geometry of the original part data. The original design data sent to the shop floor can not be altered either by Prospector Design or Prospector. This means that you can be assured that the job will be machined as-designed without the possibility of someone other than your designers either inadvertently or intentionally changing the geometry.

  • Prospector Design doesn't substitute for a full-featured CAD system. The features and functions supported by Prospector Design are purposely limited to include only those features that are commonly used to facilitate machining. If you believe that it makes sense to allow design to occur on the shop floor, there are many CAD solutions available to choose from. Prospector Design is not one of them.