Emmegi’s CAMPlus Driver CAD software, available as an add on for users of Emmegi CNC machining centres, has received an impressive endorsement from Alitex, one of the biggest users of Emmegi machinery in the UK.
Production Development Manager Dave Miles says that the compatibility of the Emmegisoft CAM Driver and CAMPlus Driver CAD software with Solidworks 3D CAD enables the company to programme even the most complex components with ease and save many hours in programming time.
Alitex is one of the UK’s leading producers of luxury, Victorian style aluminium greenhouses. Its prevision crafted range is created in partnership with the National Trust, often found in beautiful heritage gardens across the UK, and many of its bespoke creations are endorsed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
It has six Emmegi machines at its factory in Petersfield, Hampshire, including a Twin Electra Sun saw, two Satellite XTs and two Comet R4i five axis models, and the oldest machine – a single blade 400 SCA upcut saw.
With so many bespoke, complex and non-standard elements making up its buildings, Alitex has its own in-house programming resource. In the early 2000s, the team programmed everything by hand from 2D drawings created within Solidworks and AutoCAD and machine operators programmed some bars and components themselves directly on the CNC machines using building blocks of programmes from the same drawings. This was very time consuming, with some parts taking as long as eight hours to programme, with additional checking required after programming before machining.
When Emmegi launched its CAMPlus Driver CAD software which allows users to programme the machines directly in 3D, it massively speeded up the process to around 10 minutes. But it was the 2015 addition of the CAM Driver, with 3D part conversion from Solidworks, which transformed the operation so that it is now almost fully automated and takes less than a minute with excellent accuracy.
Dave Miles says: “The CAM Driver makes complex cutting and machining very simple to programme. It was a big part of the reason we went over to the more capable 5-axis machines when we acquired the Satellite XT and Comet R4i models. Without the driver, we would have needed to bring in more programming expertise and the payback would have been considerably longer than the 2 years we were targeting.”
Dave is such an experienced user of CAMPlus that he has been closely involved with the evolution of the software, working directly with the Emmegisoft team in Italy to make the CAM Driver as intuitive and user-friendly as possible.
He adds: “As the software has been updated, new releases have incorporated our feedback and addressed how we requested the software to develop, which has been a really positive experience for us.
“The CAM Driver is enabling us to push the five axis machines to the full extent of their current capabilities and we’re machining smaller parts than ever before and to even greater accuracy. We’re excited to see what comes next as well, with the potential for surfacing and ISO movements direct from the CAD driver which would mean the machines could do even more.”