Managing Data Effectively

Prospector Projects Organize and Manage CAM Data

Projects organize all the machined components of a mold.

Prospector manages data by encapsulating all of the data and relationships in a unique electronic project. This simple yet powerful approach to organizing data eliminates the headaches and errors that occur when trying to manage hundreds or thousands of files scattered across a network. Think of it as purpose-built project data management system for NC programming. Here's how it works....

In mold making, a single mold will require many machined components:

  • A core block

  • A cavity block

  • Slide(s)

  • Lifter(s)

  • Wear plates

  • Rails

  • Electrodes required for detail work.

  • And so on....

Each of these components becomes a project in Prospector. All these projects (machined components needed to build the mold) are organized under a single job number. When you work with Prospector, you always work with projects - not files! When you wish to begin programming, you pull up the project in Prospector and get to work:

Key Features and Benefits of Prospector Projects

  • Data Management - There are no files to manage. With conventional CAM systems, you are responsible for managing the myriad of files that are used by the system or created by it. IGES files, Parasolid files, cutter path files, post-processed files, .... It can be overwhelming to keep tabs on all the files and deal with the ripple effects when engineering changes come down the road. Prospector projects solves this problem by encapsulating and organizes the data so you don't have to. It's not possible for a project to get out of synch or lose valuable programming data.

  • Safety - It's impossible to lose your work because you forgot to save a file. In fact, there is no save function! Prospector automatically tracks everything you do and continually updates the project on disk. You can never lose your work because of a system crash, power outage or human error.

  • Managed Access - The built-in project locking feature ensures that only one user can work on a project at any time. This prevents inadvertent changes by another user while the project is in use.

  • Organized - Data is organized in the project. Roughing, Semi-Rough, Semi-Finish and Finish programs are organized into categories in the order in which they are to be run on the machine. No more NC setup sheets because it's obvious which programs to run and the order. Any information about each program can be displayed in the NC Program tree control (e.g. tool diameter, corner radius, length, cutting feed, ...). Additional work instructions or special notes can be inserted into a project in any format (e.g. Adobe PDF document, bitmap picture, text file...). Global information such as block sizes, material type, undersize condition for electrodes and setups is an integral part of every project.

  • Associative - Relationships between programs and the electronic model are maintained by the project feature. When engineering changes come along, the new data is incorporated into the project and affected programs identified and re-generated as needed.

  • Archival - When you're finished machining a project, it can be archived to a server for use later or backup. The archival feature reduces the amount of disk space needed to store the project. Why throw away all the work done for NC programming when the tool is finished? If a duplicate or nearly identical tool is built in the future, the project and programs can be reused. Simply update the project with the latest data set and the programs will regenerate to machine the job.

  • Teamwork - Projects can be originated by any user on any computer. A license of Prospector is not required to create new projects. As your CAD designers finish with a component, they can release the design to NC programming by creating a project on their computer with their finished design and archive it to a server. Similarly designers can retrieve projects from a server to update it with their engineering changes or additional CAD data required for programming. With Prospector, you can make the seamless electronic connection between design and the shop floor to get everyone working together as a team.