Announcing
SmartCAM v2016 Knowledge Based Machining (KBM) Library

The SmartCAM Knowledge Based Machining Library is a user-managed repository designed to store best practices. Tooling, process parameters and CNC programming steps are retrieved as required for programming tasks.

It is a component that helps a manufacturing facility using SmartCAM to ensure that preferred tooling, speeds & feeds and process settings can be adhered to and that standardized, repeatable methods are used by the CAM engineering group.

Enhanced KBM Library serves as central repository for all SmartCAM manufacturing data
Enhanced KBM Library serves as central repository for all SmartCAM manufacturing data

What's Different?

The scope of the KBM has been extended in the Version 2016 release. The initial Version 2015 KBM release enabled Process Parameters to be saved to the KBM library and recalled when creating a Process.

It is now also possible to retrieve tools / groups of tools and steps / groups of steps from the KBM Library.

The bottom line is Productivity Improvement due to:

  • Time Savings
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Increased Accuracy
  • Easier use of Programming Standards
  • Repeatability - the Capture and Reuse of proven data

Adding Tools and Steps to the Job Operations Setup

The methods of working with Tools and Steps in the SmartCAM Job Operations Planner have been completely overhauled for SmartCAM Version 2016, providing gains in ease of use and productivity but retaining the levels of flexibility and control that SmartCAM users are accustomed to in a CAM system.

Looking Back: Prior to Version 2016

SmartCAM users applied various techniques to manage standard Tools and Process Steps. These included:

  • Using a Job Library
  • Using a Master file that is populated with all Tools and Steps
  • Using a Template file that is populated with Tools and Steps for a specific project or family of products

Going Forward: The KBM Library from Version 2016

More efficient methods are provided by functionality that integrates with the KBM Library and delivers significant increases in capability, flexibility and ease of use.

Retrieve Tools and Steps from KBM Library
Retrieve Tools and Steps from KBM Library

The Job Operations Setup for the current job can be more easily populated with Tools and Steps from the KBM Library or with duplicates of Tools and Steps that exist in the current Job Operations Setup.

New ‘Operation Category’ & ‘Operation Type’, and ‘Tool Category’ & ‘Tool Type’ controls can be used to filter the display of available library data.

KBM Category and Type filter controls
KBM Category and Type filter controls

Tools and Steps saved in the Library can be associated with a specific material and with a specific machine tool; ‘Material’ and ‘Machine’ filters can be used to further restrict the displayed data to that associated with a specific workpiece material and / or a specific machine.

The desired sets of new-, current job- or library-tools and steps are far more easily assembled and managed than ever before possible.

Tool and Step ID's and Job Operations Setup number assignments are more easily automated and managed by the KBM Library mechanism delivered with this release.

Load Multiple / Grouped Tools and Steps

New ‘Load Tools’ and ‘Load Steps’ enhancements to the Job Operations Planner user interface really simplify the task of adding multiple tools or multiple steps from the KBM Library to the current Job Operations Setup.

Retrieve Tool and Step Groups to use as Machine Setup or Job Template
Retrieve Tool and Step Groups to use as Machine Setup or Job Template

A pending set of tools / steps that are to be added to the Job Operations Setup can be built, the updated user interface providing comprehensive methods of selecting individual or sets of items. Standard Windows Ctrl and Shift methods can be used to add individual items and ranges of items to be added to the pending set or removed from it.

The Operation and Tool ‘Category’ & ‘Type’ controls can be turned on or off to limit or expand the library data that is made available for selection.

A new Group Filter feature can be used to display the set of tools or steps associated with a user-defined filter. One example of filter use is to the display tools / steps that are pertinent to all of the spot drilling, drilling and tapping holemaking processes for ¼-20 tapped holes. A further example is to display sets of tools or steps that are required for families of parts.

Building a pending set of steps using the KBM Library
Building a pending set of steps using the KBM Library

The resulting set of pending tools / steps can then be easily added to the Job Operations Setup.

Existing SmartCAM users can already conclude from our description that these features deliver considerable gains in productivity compared to previous releases.

Update current Job Operations Setup items with changed KBM Library data

KBM Library data is inevitably subject to change. Tools and Steps referenced in the current Job operations Setup can easily be refreshed with changes in the Library data.

Examples are modified speeds & feeds, Tool and Step Descriptions and notes or changes in tool specification or supplier.

Associativity of the KBM Library Allows Job Tools and Steps to be Updated to Most Current Library Definitions
Associativity of the KBM Library Allows Job Tools and Steps to be Updated to Most Current Library Definitions

Additionally, it is sometimes beneficial to disconnect data in a Job Operations Setup for reasons of ‘local' use; associativity of Tools and Steps can be severed from the library data for that purpose.

The Refresh and Sever functions are found on a new right mouse button menu available in the Job Operation Planner Tool List and Step List.

KBM Library associativity provides new levels of capability that were simply not possible in SmartCAM before Version 2016.

The KBM Library is managed by the user

You have seen that the KBM Library is a repository for preferred Process parameters, Tools, Steps, Materials and Machines that are used by SmartCAM programmers.

You have also seen that Tools and Steps can be grouped and filtered for multiple purposes - for specific features, families of parts and for specific materials and machines, for example.

Library data and Group Filters are entirely controlled by the SmartCAM user. A new Manage Library utility provides maintenance and administration capability for that purpose.

Populate KBM library with Tools and Steps from Existing Jobs or New Job on the Fly
Populate KBM library with Tools and Steps from Existing Jobs or New Job on the Fly

Users are encouraged to consider access needs, using Windows permissions settings to establish ‘owners’ - writers - and users - readers - of the data.

Positioning the KBM within SmartCAM

SmartCAM users already know the terminology and its meaning within SmartCAM concepts and methodology, but our future clients will benefit from an understanding of the references used in context of the KBM:

A PROCESS is the term used for a Process Operation containing Toolpath, stored in the SmartCAM Process Model. Parameters for a Process can be stored and retrieved using the KBM library.

Examples are Solid Machining ‘Linear’ and 'Groove’ Turning Processes, and 'Pocket’ and ‘Profile’ Milling Processes. Additionally in SmartCAM, Toolpath can be stored in the model as individual Toolpath Elements, which can be beneficial in some applications cases.

A TOOL definition probably doesn’t really require any explanation.

A STEP in SmartCAM is a combination of a Tool and its related settings, and a Process Operation Type with its machining settings such as speeds and feeds. Consider SmartCAM STEPs to be the steps that you develop when preparing to program a new job, such as Face to Length, Drill, Rough OD, Rough ID and so on.

Processes and individual toolpath elements are always associated with a STEP.

Every Process Model includes a JOB OPERATIONS SETUP, the content of which is managed using the JOB OPERATIONS PLANNER user interface and is the set of Tools and Steps plus other notes and references for that program.

You’ll really need to come on a training course to learn more.