Siemens’ Integrated CAM Tool REALLY Brings the Automation

Siemens’ software and technology partner program pays off with the powerful CAMWorks 2015 tool.

Geometric has announced that CAMWorks 2015 is now available for Solid Edge ST8.

Like many other integrated CAM tools on the market, CAMWorks runs directly inside its native program (Solid Edge) and will allow users to perform all CAM operations without ever having to toggle away from the ST8 interface.

Given that CAMWorks is the only CAM tool that is supported by Solid Edge, it’s refreshing to see that the software comes equipped with a number of powerful features. What’s more, many of the CAMWorks’ tools prove more effective than those found in other packages.

CAMWorks comes with a robust Feature Recognition tool that can detect 20 different types of machinable structures and add them automatically to the milling feature tree. Once in the tree, a quick audit can be passed through CAMWorks’ knowledge-based machining technology to suggest the type of tool and machining pattern that would best fit each feature. For anyone who’s ever had to build a machining regime from scratch, that alone might make CAMWorks worth its price, even if you didn’t use every suggestion.

Still, let’s just say a user did hang on CAMWorks’ every idea. What then?

Well, for a machinist worth their salt, it’s likely their next step would be to make sure their tooling order makes sense.

In CAMWorks, if milling operations aren’t in the right order simple intuitive control windows can be accessed where entire classes of operation can be resorted by tool, path type or machining method.

After optimizing a tool strategy, CAMWorks can create a visual simulation of your CAM program.  By leveraging this visual inspection of your tooling paths users can save both the material and time once used in dry runs. If a milling solution looks good its G-Code can be written and posted to the appropriate machine.

The last feature I wanted to cover was CAMWorks’ ability to automatically update toolpaths based on changes made to the Solid Edge model. Not only is it a time saving tool, but it speaks volumes for Solid Edge’s commitment to growing its abilities through 3rd party developers.

Mimicking the development pattern seen across cellphones OSs, Siemens has opened up some of the source code in ST8 to third party “partners.” With this access, partners like Geometric are able to capitalize on their expertise while Siemens gives itself room to refine their core competencies (read: Synchronous Technology).

I believe this third party access benefits Siemens in two ways. It allows the company to strengthen its platform and (maybe most importantly for Solid Edge) it gives Siemens another avenue to create exposure for its CAD software. With greater exposure through better developed tools, one would think the Solid Edge user base would grow.

That being said, it’s still early days for the ST8 partner program and the Solid Edge marketplace is still a bit bare. But if Siemens can build and foster a lively CAD-app bazaar, it could help it gain a greater part of the CAD market.