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The importance of CAM post-processors

And their role in the development-production process

CAD and CAM are technologies used to design and control machines. To ensure that the code that comes to them is readable and understandable, and to optimize the operation of the machine, machines need post-processors.

Let’s start with an explanation of what CAD is for. CAD, or Computer-Aided Design, enables computer-aided design and thus simplifies the design process itself. On the other hand, CAM, or Computer-Aided Manufacturing, simplifies the programming process during production. Initially, CAD and CAM were used separately, but over time, they became simpler and much more efficient to use together to make it easier for CNC programmers to program machines.

Značaj CAM post procesora i njihova uloga u razvojno-proizvodnom procesu

What exactly is a post-processor?

A CNC machine, which is expected to perform a particular operation, needs to understand its commands. The post-processor translates CAM data into certain commands (G-code), which are understandable for a CNC machine.

The output data generated by any CAM system you use is called CL-Data. CL-Data actually defines the path that a machine tool travels while processing a particular part. But as this path is not immediately known to the CNC machine, a post-processor is necessary to translate CL-Data into intelligible data (G-code), which the CNC machine can use. Practically, the postprocessor serves to “bridge the gap” between the CAM system and the CNC machine (G-code), ie it is the language used to control and control CNC machines.

Why do you need a post-processor?

The accuracy, quality of processing, and optimal CNC machine use depend on the post-processor you use. Without a post-processor or with a post-processor that is not of good quality, you may end up with a huge waste of time, damaged parts, destroyed machines, and, most dangerously, injured workers. Also, if the quality of your products deteriorates, you will inevitably have dissatisfied customers, who will look for a new partner, most likely with your competition. All of the above is a big risk to your business and can result in big losses.

Examples of potential difficulties:

  • You must manually adjust the tool compensation value
  • You must manually add or change COOLANT / PRESSURE M codes to your G code
  • Tool and operation names are missing
  • 5-axis milling on a machine in which one axis of rotation is located in the work table and the other in the head leaves “traces of processing” on the workpiece
  • 5-axis milling on a machine in which both axes of rotation are located in the work table, tilts the workpiece to the back of the machine, obstructing your view

In order to prevent costly accidents and great damage, a quality post-processor is especially important with 5-axis machines, because with such processing it is much harder to detect or prevent path errors in a classic way, or by observing processing as some operators do with 3- axis machines. In such cases, there must be a good post-processor, and preferably even a reversible post-processor (Controler Emulator) that allows simulation and verification of processing based on G-code previously generated in the “classic” postprocessor mentioned earlier.

Examples of post-processor usage

You can achieve significant savings and increase productivity with a post-processor. Gives outstanding results in pattern making, specific drilling patterns, pattern adjustment, right angle milling, tool life tracking, G-code documentation to further clarify operator data, setting variable options, etc. CAM post-processors enable the production process to begin and proceed without error.

Here are the general steps that lead to the post-processor phase:

Značaj CAM post procesora i njihova uloga u razvojno-proizvodnom procesu
Step 1: The 3D CAD model is imported into the CAM system
Značaj CAM post procesora i njihova uloga u razvojno-proizvodnom procesu
Step 2: The CNC programmer makes a CAM simulation of processing within the CAM system in which he defines the operations, tool paths, tools used in processing, modes, etc.
Značaj CAM post procesora i njihova uloga u razvojno-proizvodnom procesu
Step 3: The post-processor converts the data and processing parameters defined in the CAM system into a language that the machine understands, ie G-code. The output created by the post-processor is usable without any further information because it contains data not only about coordinates but also about tools, modes, auxiliary functions, etc.
Značaj CAM post procesora i njihova uloga u razvojno-proizvodnom procesu
Step 4: The code is loaded on the machine and the production process can begin.

Creating a post-processor is a delicate process and requires knowledge and experience. It is a very important segment of CNC programming. In fact, you can have the best design and the best CAM system for CNC programming, but without completely correct code that communicates with the machine, you do not have a complete process, ie there is a great risk of damage and unproductivity.

Simply put, the essence of a good post-processor is to generate G-code that results in quality and secure processing while optimizing processing time, tools, and machine resources.

CATIA Machining – your partner in everyday business challenges

• Globalization of product development and production?

Solution: CATIA Machining is with you as you face the competition, as it allows you to optimize the time of the development and production process.

• Product and process complexity?

Solution: CATIA Machining allows you to simultaneously increase productivity, reduce product development time and work on innovative processes.

• Demand for better products, accelerating innovation and technological change?

Solution: CATIA Machining helps in optimization and early detection of possible problems.

• Accelerating the pace of innovation and technological change?

Solution: CATIA Machining helps in optimization and early detection of possible problems.

• Pressure to shorten delivery times and reduce costs?

Solution: CATIA Machining provides a competitive advantage thanks to full CAD and CAM integration.

 

As an authorized training center and representative of Dassault Systemes, CADCAM Data, as part of its training center, provides training in this area, as well as professional support and consulting during the post-processor development process.

You can sign up for post-processor design training by entering your contact information. Our colleagues will call you and provide you with all the necessary information.